(Top left to bottom right) Keith Gabel, Brittany Bowe, Chris Fogt and Brenna Huckaby.
Two compete on ice, two on snow, some have Olympic medals, some Paralympic, but they all call Utah home.
Four members of Team USA learned Sunday night that they will be honored with Governor’s State of Sport Awards as Olympians or Paralympians of the Year. Bobsledder and 2014 Olympic medalist Chris Fogt was named best Olympian Male, while 2018 bronze medalist speedskater Brittany Bowe won best Olympian Female. A pair of snowboarders won on the Paralympic side in two-time Paralympic medalist Keith Gabel and two-time gold medalist Brenna Huckaby.
The awards are presented annually by the Utah Sports Commission to recognize the greatest athletes in the state. In Olympic years, the commission also recognizes those Utahns who stood out on the Olympic stage. Past winners include freestyle skier Kiley McKinnon and ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson.
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All four of this year’s honorees competed at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Chris Fogt was competing in his third Olympic Games, having won a bronze medal in 2014 with driver Steven Holcomb. Fogt, from Alpine, Utah, has maintained his bobsledding career despite also serving full-time in the U.S. Army.
Brittany Bowe showed that even into her thirties, the best may be yet to come. After winning a bronze medal in team pursuit in PyeongChang and earning three top-five individual finishes, Bowe won world sprint silver. She has come out with a bang in 2019, winning a gold medal in the 1,000-meter and bronze in the 1,500 at the world championships in February. She also set a world record in the 1,000.
Keith Gabel scored a silver medal in PyeongChang in snowboardcross, his best Paralympic performance to date. He has also had a great year on the world cup circuit, winning six medals. He will look to win his first world championship medal in Finland next weekend.
Last but certainly not least is Brenna Huckaby, who won not one but two gold medals in PyeongChang. The medals in snowboardcross and banked slalom were the first Paralympic medals of her career in her first Paralympic Winter Games. That landed her in the pages of Sports Illustrated, the first amputee to pose for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
A formal awards ceremony will be held on April 10 in Salt Lake City.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.