On April 26, the best of Team USA converged on our nation’s capital to celebrate the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Games. More than 200 members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams packed the Duke Ellington School of the Arts to honor the accomplishments of their teammates. In attendance were legendary Olympians, young fans and one very special celebrity curling enthusiast.
Check out seven of the best moments from the awards show, then watch them for yourself May 12 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Erin Hamlin And Mike Schultz Reprise Their Roles As Flag Bearers
Olympic bronze medalist luger Erin Hamlin and Paralympic gold medalist snowboarder Mike Schultz bore the gloves and boots from their opening ceremonies one more time to get the awarding started. The two joked about whether or not they received coaching on how to handle their task before leading their teams into the stadium in PyeongChang, and were clearly comfortable doing it again, even in their formalwear.
Jeremy Bloom Invites Vernon Davis To The “Olympian And NFL Player Club”
Bloom, an Olympian in moguls skiing, is currently the only athlete to have skied in the Olympics and competed in the National Football League. In the crowd at the Team USA Awards was fellow NFLer Vernon Davis, who’s made a name for himself in the Olympic community as the honorary captain of the curling team since 2010. Bloom invited Davis to his exclusive club, quipping that “there’s still time” for Davis to complete the double.
Oksana Masters Gets A Standing O
When Masters was announced as the winner of the Female Paralympic Athlete of the Games, her shock was palpable. After taking several moments to collect herself (and needing to be told to get up and go to the stage by seatmate and luger Chris Mazdzer), Masters accepted her award with her arms thrown wide in confusion, exclaiming, “What is going on?!” as the crowd stood to acknowledge the respect every athlete in the room has for her accomplishments. With a dislocated elbow – her right arm is still in an elaborate brace after the surgery she underwent post-Games – she went on to win five medals, including her first two Paralympic golds. In her speech, Masters was quick to say she wants to split the award into five pieces and share it with her fellow nominees.
Tom Kelly Pays Tribute To Snowboard Great Kelly Clark
U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s vice president of communications was honored with the Building Dreams Award presented by USG, but spent most of his acceptance speech praising those around him. One of those honorees was Kelly Clark, five-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medalist snowboarder. Clark was on stage as one of the award’s presenters, eyes moist, as Kelly quoted her: “If your dreams only include yourself, those dreams are not big enough.”
Indya And Quinn Read From Kristi Yamaguchi’s Book On Stage
Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi received the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award, introduced by bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor; Marlene Dortch, the granddaughter of Jesse Owens; fellow figure skating gold medalist Sarah Hughes; and United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst. But before dignitaries took the stage, two children took the spotlight. Indya and Quinn read passages from Yamaguchi’s book, “Dream Big, Little Pig” as Yamaguchi watched, beaming, from the audience.
Mr. T Steals The Show
The world’s biggest Team USA fan, Mr. T, was welcomed to the Team USA Awards with a video montage of athletes reading off some of his best tweets from the Games - in his voice. He then got onstage to present the Male Paralympic Athlete of the Games, but not before giving an impassioned speech. And yes, he still pities the fools that didn’t watch the Olympic and Paralympic Games! Upon receiving the award, Cnossen said, “The human imagination is very vast, and I can honestly say I never imagined I would be receiving an award from Mr. T!”
9-Year-Old Braeden Presents The U.S. Sled Hockey Team Its Award
An avid sled hockey fan and himself a double amputee, Braeden was welcomed onstage to present his heroes with the Paralympic Team of the Games. Decked out in a Team USA jersey now autographed by numerous sled hockey players, Monthony introduced the award and remained with the group during the acceptance speech. Do we have a future Paralympian on our hands?