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 are snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, Nordic skier Oksana Masters, track and field athlete Tatyana McFadden, cyclist Shawn Morelli and paratriathlete Grace Norman. Up for Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year are track and field athlete Mikey Brannigan, track and field athlete Isaac Jean-Paul, alpine skier Andrew Kurka, snowboarder Mike Minor and cyclist Chris Murphy. And up for Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow, are the cycling team sprint, the rowing mixed four and the national sled hockey team. Over the past 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 won two titles at his or her first career national championships?
2. Which athlete has said he or she plans to compete in at least four more Paralympic Games over the next 16 years?
3. Which athlete was the first Paralympic ambulatory athlete to break the four-minute mile barrier?
4. Which team has won back-to-back Paralympic gold medals?
5. Which athlete began his or her athletic career as a gymnast?
6. Which athlete stopped wearing a prosthetic limb because he or she felt it was a hindrance?
7. Which athlete was exposed to his or her sport at the Warrior Games?
8. Which team won a world championship medal that matched its finish at the last Paralympic Games?
9. Which athlete is a three-time Paralympian in three different sports?
10. Which athlete also competes as a bodybuilder?
11. Which athlete broke a 14-year-old world record during his or her first season of competition?
12. Which athlete has pulled a car while seated in a wheelchair?
13. Which team won the first-ever world championship gold medal for Team USA in its event?
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1. Chris Murphy. Murphy began cycling as a means of transportation while living in as a college student in Los Angeles, but began taking it more seriously a few years after he finished school. He was invited to a talent identification camp and made the U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team in 2014, and won two national championships that same year. Click here to vote for Murphy.
2. Grace Norman. Norman made her Paralympic debut in 2016 at the age of 17 and, riding an unbeaten streak dating back to March 2016, has no plan to stop competing any time soon. Click here to vote for Norman.
3. Mikey Brannigan. Brannigan, who is on the autism spectrum, won gold in the 1,500-meter at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. But one month before that, he became the first T20-classification athlete to break the four-minute barrier in the mile when he competed at the Sir Walter Miler meet. Click here to vote for Brannigan.
4. Sled hockey. The U.S. sled hockey team won gold at both the Paralympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, and qualified for PyeongChang 2018 with its silver-medal finish at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships in 2017. Click here to vote for the national sled hockey team.
5. Brenna Huckaby. Huckaby’s first sport love was gymnastics, and she competed in the sport until an osteosarcoma diagnosis in 2010 resulted in the amputation of her right leg. She then turned to snowboarding and began competing in 2013. Click here to vote for Huckaby.
6. Mike Minor. Minor was born missing his right forearm and wore a prosthetic arm and hand for the first few years of his life. He stopped using it when he was five because he saw it as a hindrance, and has gone on to win two World Para Snowboard Championships medals in his debut at the event in 2017. Click here to vote for Minor.
7. Shawn Morelli. Morelli, an engineer officer in the U.S. Army, was injured while deployed in Afghanistan in 2007. She was exposed to competitive cycling at the 2010 Warrior Games, and by 2012 was competing at the national level. Click here to vote for Morelli.
8. Mixed four. The team of Jennifer Sichel, Jaclyn Smith, Zachary Burns, Danielle Hansen and Mike Varro won silver at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, matching its silver-medal performance at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. In fact, the U.S. mixed four has won four consecutive silver medals at the Paralympic Games and world championships. Click here to vote for the mixed four.
9. Oksana Masters. Masters began her Paralympic career in 2012, winning bronze in trunk and arms mixed double sculls rowing. She competed at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 in Nordic skiing, winning silver and bronze in the 12-kilometer and 5-kilometer, respectively. In Rio in 2016, she competed in cycling, finishing fourth in the road race and fifth in the time trial. Click here to vote for Masters.
10. Andrew Kurka. Kurka is no stranger to feats of strength, as his Olympic dream came in wrestling. He turned to skiing after an ATV accident damaged three vertebrae in his spinal cord, and also competes as a bodybuilder. Click here to vote for Kurka.
11. Isaac Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul began competing in Para track and field just this year and has already set numerous world records. This summer he jumped 2.10 meters in the T13 high jump to win the national championship and break the previous world record that had stood for 14 years. The next month, at the World Para Athletics Championships, he broke his own world record four times en route to a 2.17-meter jump and the gold medal. Click here to vote for Jean-Paul.
12. Tatyana McFadden. Nicknamed “Beast” for the incredible upper-body strength that has powered her to 17 Paralympic medals in track and field and Nordic skiing, McFadden once pulled a BMW car while seated in her wheelchair. Click here to vote for McFadden.
13. Team sprint. The trio of Jason Kimball, Joe Berenyi and Chris Murphy combined to win gold in the C1-5 750-meter team sprint at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships for the first U.S. gold medal ever in that event. Click here to vote for the team sprint.