COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the winners for the 2017 Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, recognizing the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes, teams and coaches in eight categories:
- Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods – Katie Ledecky, swimming
- Male Olympic Athlete of the Year – Kyle Snyder, wrestling
- Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow – U.S. Women’s National Team, ice hockey
- Olympic Coach of the Year – Bill Zadick, wrestling
- Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year – Tatyana McFadden, Para track and field
- Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year – Mikey Brannigan, Para track and field
- Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow – U.S. National Team, sled hockey
- Paralympic Coach of the Year – Eileen Carey, Para Nordic skiing
The eight awards were presented during a live recording of the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year ceremony, held tonight at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles. The awards show – which featured singer, actor Mark McGrath as host – will be televised from 5-6 p.m. ET Dec. 23 on NBC.
The year-end celebration also recognized Allyson Felix with the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award – which recognizes an individual who has served as a powerful force for good in society, inspiring others by contributing to a better world, uniting people or leading a cause – and the Easton Sports Development Foundation as the recipient of the Building Dreams Award, presented by USG, which honors an individual, group or community that has gone above and beyond in its support of Team USA.
Additionally, high jumping sensation Chaunté Lowe was presented with her bronze medal from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 during a special ceremony. The four-time Olympian initially finished sixth in Beijing, but was recently upgraded to the bronze medal by the International Olympic Committee.
The six athlete and team award winners were determined by online fan voting at TeamUSA.org/Awards, where more than 260,800 fan votes determined 50 percent of the final tally. Members of the Olympic and Paralympic family – including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists – accounted for the other 50 percent. For coaching awards, National Governing Bodies selected their nominees as part of the USOC’s annual Coach of the Year Recognition Program, and the winners were determined by a USOC selection panel of coaching and sport performance professionals.
In addition to presenting sponsor Dow, DICK’S Sporting Goods and USG are associate sponsors of the Team USA Awards, Best of the Year event.
Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Maryland), swimming
Ledecky won six medals – including five golds – at the 2017 FINA World Championships, claiming three-peats in three individual events and setting the women’s record for most career world championship gold medals with 14 overall.
Male Olympic Athlete of the Year
Kyle Snyder (Woodbine, Maryland), wrestling
In a bout that was dubbed “The Match of the Century,” Snyder defeated Olympic and two-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia, 6-5, to win the 97 kg. gold medal – his third straight world or Olympic title – and help Team USA claim its first men’s freestyle wrestling world team title in 22 years at the 2017 World Wrestling Championships.
Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
U.S. Women’s National Team, ice hockey
The U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team went undefeated in five games to claim its fourth consecutive IIHF Women’s World Championship title – and first on home ice – marking its second triumph over Canada on the season having also defeated its northern rival to win its second consecutive – and seventh overall – Four Nations Cup title.
Olympic Coach of the Year
Bill Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colorado), wrestling
In his first year as the U.S. national freestyle coach of USA Wrestling, Zadick led the 2017 U.S. Men’s Freestyle World Wrestling Team to its first senior world team title since 1995, marking only the third senior world team crown in program history. The final match of the world championships was dubbed “The Match of the Century” as Team USA’s Kyle Snyder defeated Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia at 97 kg., giving the U.S. a one-point edge for the title. Under Zadick’s leadership, the U.S. won six medals in eight weight classes overall. Additionally, he led the 2017 U.S. junior world team to its first world title since 1984.
Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year
Tatyana McFadden (Champaign, Illinois), Para track and field
McFadden became the most decorated wheelchair marathon champion in history in claiming her fourth consecutive grand slam title with wins in Chicago and New York, and swept gold medals in all four of her events – including the T54 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter – to tie for the most medals of any athlete at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London.
Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year
Mikey Brannigan (East Northport, New York), Para track and field
Competing against able-bodied runners, Brannigan won the men’s 1,500-meter at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational and improved his own world record in the 5,000 with a time of 14:09.51 at the Mt. SAC Relays before capping the season with three world championships medals – including two golds – in the 800, 1,500 and 5,000 to complete the year ranked No. 1 in the men’s T20 classification at all three distances.
Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
U.S. National Team, sled hockey
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team claimed an unprecedented third straight World Sled Hockey Challenge title with a 5-2 victory over Canada and took silver at the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championship in Gangneung, South Korea, where it advanced to its fifth straight gold-medal game with a perfect 6-0 mark in preliminary play.
Paralympic Coach of the Year
Eileen Carey (Leeds, Maine), Para Nordic skiing
At the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships, Carey coached Oksana Masters to four gold medals and one bronze, and helped Andy Soule capture silver and bronze medals. During the 2016-17 world cup season, she led the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Team to 33 world cup medals, a record for the program over the past six seasons. Additionally, Carey helped Team USA to 12 world cup medals in biathlon, marking four times as many as the previous year. Under her mentorship, Masters won the overall cross-country world cup title for the third time and finished third overall in biathlon. Carey also guided Dan Cnossen in winningsix medals in just eight starts in his return to the world cup circuit.
Building Dreams Award, presented by USG
Easton Sports Development Foundation (Van Nuys, California), USA Archery
The Easton Sports Development Foundation has been a major contributor to USA Archery’s high performance and grassroots efforts. After the construction of the Easton Archery Center of Excellence in 2015, the foundation was key in helping Team USA win two medals at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. In 2017, the foundation supported many USA Archery initiatives, giving nearly $1 million to promote long-term program sustainability nationwide, helping Team USA reach the tops of major international podiums. In 2017, ESDF also took steps to return the Archery World Cup to the U.S. with plans to host stops in Salt Lake City in 2018 and 2019, giving American athletes the chance to compete on home soil while enhancing international exposure for the sport.
Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award
Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, California), track and field
Beyond her record-breaking accomplishments on the track, Allyson Felix has embodied the Olympic ideals and an altruistic spirit throughout her life. She has channeled her compassion into countless community outreach efforts that have focused largely on inspiring youth and sharing the power of sport to transform lives. Since 2011, Felix has been heavily involved with Right to Play as an athlete ambassador in on field trips to Lebanon, Uganda and Palestinian territories, and was recently elected to the organization’s board of directors. She’s also been heavily involved with the Special Olympics, USA Track & Field’s Win with Integrity and RunJumpThrow programs, President Barack Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Active Schools program, the LA 2028 bid, and numerous other charities.
About the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year
Formerly known as the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year awards, the honors began in 1974. The impressive and diverse collection of past winners represent nearly 30 sports on the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic programs. Their collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout history. Athletes and teams considered for the Best of the Year were finalists for Best of the Month honors, dating back to the fall of the previous year and coinciding with the sport calendar. A USOC nominating committee then selected the top-five finalists in the individual categories and top three in the team categories to advance to the voting round. For more information on the Team USA Awards, including the full list of 2016-17 finalists, visit TeamUSA.org.