After a year of incredible accomplishments, five men, five women and three teams have been nominated for Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year Awards in the Paralympic categories. Up for Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, are triathlete Hailey Danisewicz, Nordic skier and cyclist Oksana Masters, track and field athlete Tatyana McFadden, swimmer Becca Meyers and cyclist Jamie Whitmore. Up for Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year are cyclist Joe Berenyi, sled hockey player Declan Farmer, snowboarder Mike Shea, Nordic skier Andy Soule and track and field athlete Roderick Townsend. And up for Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow, are the W1 Men’s Archery Team, the National Sled Hockey Team and the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team. Last week, we helped you get to know each nominee a little bit better. Now it’s time for you to put that knowledge to the test.
How well do you know the Best of the Year nominees? You’re about to find out. Answers are at the bottom, and remember, no cheating! When you’re finished, don’t forget to vote for your favorites by heading to TeamUSA.org/Awards.
1. Which athlete says that he or she was “blackmailed” into starting his/her sport?
2. Which team is made up entirely of athletes with Paralympic experience?
3. Which nominee competed at the international level in three different sports?
4. Which athlete won an ESPY, a gold medal, an IPC Best of the Games award and a USOC Best of the Games award?
5. Which athlete goes by the nickname Beast for their upper-body strength?
6. Which athlete won more medals than anyone in U.S. history at his or her sport’s world championship this year?
7. Which athlete competes in one sport and offers coaching services in another?
8. Which athlete set a world record in 2012 despite having only three years of experience at the highest level of his/her sport at the time?
9. Which team qualified for Rio with their golden performance in 2015?
10. Which athlete was part of a podium sweep at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games?
11. Which athlete suffered the first major injury of their career (a concussion) when colliding with a teammate in practice?
12. Which athlete had never traveled outside of the United States prior to their competitions this summer?
13. Which team won its third world title in 2015?
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1. Hailey Danisewicz. A lifelong athlete, Danisewicz had no desire to compete in triathlons and only signed up for her first race as part of an internship requirement set by her boss at Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association. But finishing her first race, she was immediately hooked. Click here to vote for Danisewicz.
2. Men’s W1 archery. Jeff Fabry has won medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games; Chuck Lear was on the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Teams; and Jerry Shields was on the 2012 Paralympic Team. Click here to vote for the Men’s W1 Archery Team.
3. Oksana Masters. Masters first made her mark on the athletic world in rowing, winning bronze in trunk and arms double sculls at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She then turned her attention to Nordic skiing, winning silver and bronze medals in LW12 sitting at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. She has since added cycling to the trifecta. Click here to vote for Masters.
4. Declan Farmer. Farmer was crucial to the sled hockey team’s success at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, playing over 87 minutes while scoring three goals and two assists. Two of those goals came in one five-minute period early in the final game to help the U.S. defeat Canada for gold. For his efforts, Farmer was rewarded with the ESPY for Best Male Athlete with a Disability, the title of the IPC’s Best Male Athlete of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, and was named the USOC’s Team of the Paralympic Games of Sochi 2014. Click here to vote for Farmer.
5. Tatyana McFadden. During her freshman year of college, McFadden earned the nickname “Beast” for the incredible upper-body strength that has earned her 11 Paralympic medals and three consecutive marathon grand slams. Click here to vote for McFadden.
6. Andy Soule. The 2015 season was the best of Soule’s career, as he won five world cup medals. He capped it off with an unprecedented five-medal performance at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships. Click here to vote for Soule.
7. Jamie Whitmore. Before Whitmore was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, she competed in XTERRA off-road triathlons and is the most successful female athlete in its history with 37 wins, six national titles and one world title. Now a Paralympic cyclist, Whitmore offers her services as a triathlon coach. Click here to vote for Whitmore.
8. Joe Berenyi. Berenyi was an amateur cyclist before losing his right arm and left kneecap in a construction accident, but it took him 13 years before he rediscovered his love of the sport. He quickly rose to national prominence and set a world record at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Click here to vote for Berenyi.
9. Women’s wheelchair basketball. At the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, the women’s wheelchair basketball team overcame reigning champion Canada to win the gold medal, punching its ticket to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the process. Click here to vote for the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team.
10. Mike Shea. One of the top adaptive snowboarders in the world, Shea helped make history as he won the silver medal as part of a U.S. podium sweep with teammates Evan Strong and Keith Gabel at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Click here to vote for Shea.
11. Becca Meyers. As a visually-impaired athlete, Meyers is no stranger to running into teammates and pool walls while swimming. But at a practice session after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Meyers walked away from one such collision with a concussion bad enough to sideline her for her entire high school swimming season. Click here to vote for Meyers.
12. Roderick Townsend. Townsend is still a newcomer to the world of Paralympic track and field, having only been classified for his first event in May 2015. His first trip out of the country came in August as he traveled to Canada for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, where he won gold in both the long jump and the high jump (setting a high jump world record in the process). Click here to vote for Townsend.
13. Sled hockey. The sled hockey team has been on a tear since winning gold at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. It finished the 2014-15 season 13-0, scoring 59 goals and only allowing six. Click here to vote for the National Sled Hockey Team.