Simone Biles posing with her five medals after the apparatus finalsat the 2019 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on Oct. 13, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany.
This year was an exciting one for Team USA. World records were broken, history was achieved, and there was more than one new move named after a certain U.S. gymnast.
While it’s hard to narrow down the most remarkable achievements by our athletes, the 2019 Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year provides a pretty strong look at just that.
Voting is open now and closes end of day on Monday, Oct. 28. Join in the fun now at TeamUSA.org/Awards.
The top five finalists were selected for the following categories: female Olympic athlete, male Olympic athlete, Olympic team, female Paralympic athlete, male Paralympic athlete and Paralympic team. Each finalist was previously nominated for Best of the Month.
Here are 30 things we learned this year about our finalists that will help you make your votes:
1. Nathan Chen was one of the first to make history this year. Chen won back-to-back world titles, becoming the first U.S. man since 1984 to do so.
2. Caeleb Dressel had an outstanding 2019, which has us excited for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Dressel set a record by winning eight medals at long course worlds, six of which were gold. He also set a world record in the men’s 100-meter butterfly.
3. Brady Ellison absolutely smoked the competition this season in archery. Ellison claimed five world cup gold medals AND set a new world record at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 – which helped his fellow American athletes select him as flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony. Ellison is also very much a mood.
4. Vincent Hancock not only won the 2018 world title in skeet shooting after nailing a perfect qualification score, but he’s in a pretty good spot thus far to qualify for Tokyo. Hancock finished the first stage of U.S. Olympic Team Trials with a score of 248 out of 250 targets.
5. Noah Lyles is another name to know for the upcoming Olympic Games. Lyles set a record as the youngest person to ever win the men’s 200-meter at worlds. Plus, no one has celebration moves like Lyles.
6. Simone Biles set the world on fire in 2019. Biles landed two moves for the first time internationally at world championships, which will soon be named the Biles and the Biles II, on her way to her fifth consecutive world all-around title. She also earned her 25th career world medal, the most by any gymnast in history.
feeling GOLDEN this morning— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) October 11, 2019
5X WORLD ALL AROUND CHAMPION
everytime feels just like the first pic.twitter.com/CnINDGSQNE
7. Adeline Gray made history at wrestling worlds as well. Gray earned a U.S. record with her fifth world title, making her the winningest wrestler in American history.
8. Simone Manuel set an American record and made history this year at swimming worlds. Manuel won seven medals, the most by any woman at a swimming world championships. She also set an American record in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 52.04 seconds.
9. Dalilah Muhammad broke a world record TWICE this year. First, she broke a 16-year-old record in the 400-meter hurdles in July. Then, she went on to shatter her own world record in October. No big deal.
10. You can’t talk about outstanding performances in 2019 without talking about Mikaela Shiffrin. Shiffrin earned 17 world cup victories in 26 races this season, the most by any skier in a single season. She also won titles in all six alpine disciplines, a first for any athlete in the history of the sport. Then she went on to become the first alpine skier to win four straight world titles in the same event.
11. The U.S. jumping team won its first world title since 1986 and earned a spot at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 along the way.
12. World. Champions. The U.S. women’s soccer team went undefeated in the Women’s World Cup to win back-to-back championships. This marked Team USA’s fourth victory, which is the most by any nation. Then, the team went on to have a historic celebration.
13. The U.S. softball team had an amazing run through 2018 that continued into 2019. In 2018, Team USA went 20-0 to become the world’s top ranked softball team and the first American team to qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games. The squad then went on to win a Pan American Games title, the first to win nine Pan American gold medals.
14. An American record was no match for the men’s 4x100-meter team. Noah Lyles, Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin and Mike Rodgers led the team to victory, shaving .28 off the American record.
15. The U.S. women’s water polo team earned a record-breaking third consecutive world title, sixth all time, and qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. This is all whilst owning the longest win streak in the Olympic era for women’s water polo.
16. Joe Berenyi showed off his absolute domination. Berenyi earned three medals at the 2019 track cycling world championships, highlighted by his fifth straight world title in the MC3 kilo time trial.
17. Noah Elliott burst onto the scene even more in 2019 with his first world title in snowboardcross, and also added a bronze medal in the snowboardcross team event.
.@usparasnowboard is back in action in Sweden 🇸🇪 for the final @Parasnowboard World Cup with #TeamUSA already taking every spot on the podium!🏂— U.S. Paralympics (@USParalympics) April 4, 2019
🥇 Noah Elliott
🥉 Zach Miller
🇺🇸 Medal Tracker »» https://t.co/8As8pAIvmh pic.twitter.com/qpwq4aWsJY
18. Robert Griswold defended his crown this year. He defended his 2017 world title with a golden performance in the men’s 100-meter backstroke S8. His time of 1:03.47 was nearly six second ahead of the second-place finisher.
19. Where to begin with Daniel Romanchuk’s year? Romanchuk won four major marathons in the 2018-19 series, claiming the title in races in Chicago, New York, Boston and London. Along the way, Romanchuk became the first American to win the New York and Boston marathons. He took the crown as the first American man to win the elite men’s wheelchair division and to win any World Marathon Majors Series title.
20. Ben Thompson upset the world’s top ranked archer on his way to a world title in the individual men’s compound event. Then, he helped the compound men’s open team to a world ranking. Next, the world record led Team USA to a No. 1 world ranking.
21. Kendall Gretsch got herself a crystal globe. Gretsch earned the world cup title in biathlon and won five medals at Nordic skiing world championships. In the summer, she won a silver medal at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.
Kendall Gretsch secures the biathlon WORLD CUP TITLE for the first time in her career! Congrats on your Crystal Globe! ✨ pic.twitter.com/0Fgoas31vR— U.S. Paralympics (@USParalympics) March 14, 2019
22. Try and talk about amazing performances without mentioning Oksana Masters, we dare you. Masters earned five world titles at Nordic skiing world championships and earned the cross-country world cup globe in the women’s sitting class. Then, in the summer, she transitioned back to cycling and earned two medals at that world championships. All while balancing business school.
23. Allysa Seely continued her undefeated streak, concluding with an eighth consecutive gold medal at the paratriathlon world series. She also gave us a behind the scenes look at what a day in her training is like – and we got tired just reading the article.
24. Three gold medals and three Pan American records AND five national titles? What a year for swimmer Leanne Smith.
25. Who run the world? Deja Young. Young earned the No. 1 world ranking in the T47 100- and 200-meter. Not to mention three solid gold medal races in her first-ever Parapan American Games.
Paralympic champion Deja Young gets her second gold— Para Athletics (@ParaAthletics) August 28, 2019
🥇medal at @Lima2019Games in the women's 100m T47 with an amazing time: 12s04 (personal best!)
What a star!! #Lima2019 #Parapan #JugamosTodos @USParalympics pic.twitter.com/zmjfBzVGcX
26. WORLD CHAMPS! The U.S. men’s world championship recurve open team defeated the top seed to earn the title.
27. Not one Parapan American title but two straight. The U.S. women’s sitting volleyball team represented the true meaning of team play throughout its gold-medal run.
28. The U.S. sled hockey team kicked off 2019 the only way it knows how: with another world championship. Team USA earned its fourth world title in an overtime thriller over Canada.
29. The U.S. men’s wheelchair basketball team not only won gold at the Parapan American Games, but the squad also qualified for Tokyo along the way. Team USA is the defending champion at the Paralympic Games, so the Tokyo countdown is on.
30. Taking the time for rest and recovery was huge for the U.S. wheelchair rugby team this season. It’s a big part in how Team USA punched its ticket to Tokyo with an undefeated run at the Parapan American Games.