COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Notable performances during January earned figure skater Nathan Chen, tennis player Serena Williams and the U.S. Men’s National Junior Ice Hockey Team Best of January honors for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, the United States Olympic Committee announced today. Chen, Williams and the U.S junior men’s ice hockey team are among the qualified athletes and teams that are eligible for Best of the Year honors in 2017. .
In addition to winning his first U.S. title, 17-year-old Chen made history at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, becoming the first man in figure skating history to land five quadruple jumps in a single performance. His free skate, set to "The Polovtsian Dances" by Alexander Borodin, included a quad Lutz-triple toe combination, a quad flip, a quad Salchow and two quad toe loops, including one in a series with a double-toe-double loop. His personal-best scores marked new U.S. records across the board, breaking the previous top overall score by more than 43 points. He earned 212.08 for his free skate and finished the week with 318.47 points. This is Chen’s second consecutive Team USA Awards Best of the Month win during the 2016-17 cycle.
Williams won a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and regained the No. 1 world ranking in January. She won the title in Melbourne with a 6-4, 6-4, win over sister, Venus Williams, in the much-anticipated final. She now holds the all-time Open Era record for the most Grand Slam singles titles. At age 35, she also became the oldest woman to ever win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era.
The U.S. Men’s National Junior Ice Hockey Team claimed its fourth gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship with a 5-4 shootout victory over Canada. The U.S., which won all seven games for the first time in tournament history, swept preliminary-round play with victories over Latvia (6-1), Slovakia (5-2), Russia (3-2) and Canada (3-1) to claim its preliminary-round group for the first time since 2011. After edging Switzerland, 3-2, in the quarterfinals, the U.S. defeated Russia, 4-3, in a seven-round shootout semifinal to advance to its first gold-medal game since 2013. There, the U.S. rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits before the game entered a shootout, in which Tyler Parsons stopped all five Canadian shooters and Troy Terry scored the game-winning goal to seal the U.S. victory.
In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by Coca-Cola, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG.
About the Team USA Awards
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. An internal nominating committee selects five nominees from both the male and female categories, and three from the team category to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org/Awards.
Each of the five monthly men's and women's finalists, and three team finalists automatically qualify for consideration for the 2017 Team USA Awards presented by Dow Best of the Year. Visit TeamUSA.org for a complete list of monthly finalists from the 2016-17 qualification period, which runs from October 2016-September 2017. The 2017 Best of the Year Awards will be held in December.