The U.S. Paralympic Team is coming off its best performance at a Paralympic Winter Games in 16 years with a total of 36 medals to top the leaderboard in PyeongChang.
Among the athletes who contributed to Team USA’s medal haul, five women stood out as among the best: snowboarders Brittani Coury and Brenna Huckaby, Nordic skiers Kendall Gretsch and Oksana Masters, and alpine skier Laurie Stephens.
The winners will be announced on Thursday, April 26 in Washington, D.C. The awards show will be televised as a 90-minute feature on NBCSN on May 12 from 6-7:30 p.m. ET.
Here’s a look at the five finalists:
Hometown: Durango, Colorado
Paralympic Highlights: After falling on her first run, the first-time Paralympian had her fastest run of the day on her third and final run with a time of 59.87 to win a silver medal in banked slalom in the women’s LL2 class.
PyeongChang Legacy: Coury prevented a Dutch sweep of the medal stand in banked slalom’s Paralympic debut.
Fun Fact: Coury didn’t begin snowboarding competitively until December 2016.
What's Next: In addition to maintaining an active lifestyle, Coury also has her nursing degree and emergency medical services certification and works as an EMT and nurse.
Sport: Nordic Skiing
Hometown: Downers Grove, Illinois
Paralympic Highlights: In her Paralympic debut, Gretsch opened the Games with a gold medal in the 6-kilometer biathlon sprint in the women’s sitting classification and then won a second gold in the 12K cross-country event the very next day and had four top-10 finishes.
PyeongChang Legacy: Gretsch was the first American athlete, man or woman, to win a gold medal in biathlon at either the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games.
Fun Fact: Gretsch got her start in Nordic skiing because she was looking for a way to cross-train for triathlon. She was named 2014 Female Paratriathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon.
What's Next: Gretsch will return to competing in triathlon, which she took a break from in order to focus on preparation for the 2018 Paralympics. She hopes her classification will be included in the 2020 program.
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Paralympic Highlights: AHuckaby was unstoppable on the slopes in her Paralympic debut, winning the gold medal in both snowboardcross and banked slalom in the women’s LL1 class.
PyeongChang Legacy: Huckaby was the only U.S. athlete to go undefeated in individual competition at the Paralympics this year. She is also the first-ever gold medalist in banked slalom, which made its debut in 2018.
Fun Fact: Huckaby is also the reigning gold medalist in both banked slalom and snowboardcross at the world championships.
What’s Next: Huckaby vacationed with her fiancé Tristan Clegg in Japan post-Games and is now returning to life in the States as a mother to 20-month-old daughter Lilah.
Sport: Nordic Skiing
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Paralympic Highlights: Masters injured her elbow two weeks before the Opening Ceremony and even pulled out of her third race upon aggravating the injury. Nonetheless, she won two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze in biathlon and cross-country.
PyeongChang Legacy: Masters became the most decorated athlete on the team and in the history of the Para Nordic program with a total of seven medals (she also won a silver and a bronze in Sochi in 2014).
Fun Fact: Masters isn’t limited to winter sports. She won a bronze medal in rowing in London in 2012 and competed in cycling in Rio in 2016.
What’s Next: There will be some time to recover, but Masters could go for her fifth Paralympics and her first medals in cycling in Tokyo in 2020.
Sport: Alpine Skiing
Hometown: Wenham, Massachusetts
Paralympic Highlights: Stephens won the bronze medal in women’s sitting downhill, finished fourth in super combined, fifth in slalom, fifth in super-G and seventh in giant slalom.
PyeongChang Legacy: Stephens has now finished on the podium in four consecutive Paralympic Winter Games. She is the most decorated skier on the 2018 team with a total of seven medals.
Fun Fact: Stephens made her Paralympic debut in 2006 and was named Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee that same year.
What’s Next: Stephens is one of just three U.S. Paralympians who’ve competed in every Winter Games since 2006. She will look to make it five in a row in 2022.