Maddie Rooney poses with her award at the The Women's Sports Foundation's 39th Annual Salute To Women In Sports And The Girls They Inspire Awards Gala on Oct. 17, 2018 in New York City.
Oksana Masters became just the second Paralympian ever honored as the individual sportswoman of the year at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports ceremony on Wednesday in New York City.
Masters, 28, won five medals at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, including her first gold. Despite battling through an elbow injury sustained just prior to the Games, Masters took gold in the 1.5-kilometer sprint classic sitting and the 5K sitting event in cross-country skiing, as well as silver medals in both the 6K sitting and 12.5K sitting events in biathlon, and bronze in the 12K cross-country.
The four-time Paralympian now has a total of two gold, three silver and three bronze medals and has competed in rowing and cycling at London 2012 and Rio 2016, respectively, and biathlon and cross-country at both Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang.
U.S. Olympic hockey player and 2018 gold medalist Maddie Rooney was named team sportswoman of the year. Rooney, a goaltender, played in four games in PyeongChang including the gold-medal game against Canada which the Americans won in a shootout to claim their first Olympic gold medal in 20 years.
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The foundation recognizes one individual athlete and one team athlete each year whose performances over the past year have been exceptional. Last year’s individual winner was Katie Ledecky and Serena Williams and Simone Biles are among previous winners. Swimmer Erin Popovich is the only other Paralympic athlete to receive the honor, having won in 2005. The award has been given out every year since 1993. Basketball player Maya Moore won the team athlete award last year.
Winners are determined by public vote and a vote of the WSF awards committee.
Some of the other nominees for sportswoman of the year included skier Mikaela Shiffrin, boxer Claressa Shields, freestyle cyclist Hannah Roberts, Para snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, snowboarder Chloe Kim, swimmer Simone Manuel and runner Shalane Flanagan.
Team finalists included bobsledders Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs, cross-country skiers Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, basketball player Sylvia Fowles, ice dancer Maia Shibutani, soccer player Julie Ertz, softball player Haylie McCleney and water polo player Maggie Steffens.
South African track and field athlete Caster Semenya won the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, awarded last year to the U.S. women’s hockey team. Anthem, Inc. CEO and former college basketball star Gail K. Boudreaux received the Billie Jean King Leadership Award.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.