Bobsled, skeleton awards announced
Ryan Summerlin July 11, 2014
Eleven USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes were honored for their 2013-2014 season accomplishments in Colorado Springs recently at the seventh annual gala awards dinner. The gala concluded a four-day national team camp at the Olympic Training Center.
The Athlete of the Year and Rookie of the Year award recipients were chosen by the coaching staff for their season long accomplishments.
Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Georgia) received the Women’s Bobsled Athlete of the Year award for the third time of her career. Meyers earned seven World Cup medals in eight races, including double gold medal performances in Park City. Her season culminated with a silver medal performance at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Steven Holcomb (Park City) was awarded his fourth Men’s Bobsled Athlete of the Year title by the coaching staff for his outstanding performances this season. Holcomb had a dominant start to the Olympic season by sweeping the North American portion of the World Cup tour. He and Steve Langton (Melrose, Massachusetts) were the first Americans in 62 years to win a two-man bobsled Olympic medal after finishing a nail-biting 0.03 seconds ahead of fourth to claim bronze in Sochi. Langton, Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Nebraska) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) helped push Holcomb to yet another historic moment when the team crossed the finish line in third in the four-man Olympic finale. The last time the United States won medals in both the two-man and four-man events was when Stanley Benham claimed double silver medals at the 1952 Oslo Games.
Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin) was named the Skeleton Athlete of the Year for the third time. Antoine earned three World Cup medals in a breakthrough season, which included his first career victory. In his Olympic debut, Antoine laid down two flawless runs in the final two heats of the men’s race to secure the bronze medal.
After just six months in the sport, Lauryn Williams (Miami, Florida) pushed Meyers to the women’s bobsled 2014 Olympic silver medal. Williams joins an exclusive club as one of only five athletes to win medals in both the Winter and Summer Games, and she is the first American woman to accomplish the feat. Williams was awarded Rookie of the Year for her outstanding achievements in her first season.
Athletes voted for team members to receive the Athletes’ Choice awards based on their contributions to Team USA on and off the ice.
Kristi Koplin (Cedar City, Utah) was the Women’s Bobsled Athletes’ Choice Award recipient. Koplin served as one of two women’s bobsled replacement athletes at the Olympics, and was commended for her ability to create and maintain a positive environment while also working hard to meet the needs of athletes competing.
The Men’s Bobsled Athletes’ Choice Award was given to Chris Langton (Melrose, Massachusetts) for his service with the team last season. Like Koplin, Langton traveled to Sochi as a replacement athlete and substituted for competing athletes during training runs. Langton began competing in bobsled after finishing his lacrosse career at Cornell University just two seasons ago.
The Skeleton Athletes’ Choice Award was a five-way tie between Olympic team members Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah), Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colorado), Matt Antoine, John Daly (Smithtown, New York) and Kyle Tress (Ewing, New Jersey). The tie was representative of the collaboration between the teammates to support one another on the journey towards the Sochi Games.
The men’s four-man bobsled 2014 Olympic bronze medal winning team of Holcomb, Langton, Tomasevicz and Fogt also had the opportunity to present the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Order of Ikkos award to their coach of choice. The Order of Ikkos medal allows each U.S. Olympic medalist to acknowledge one coach for his or her leadership in achieving world-class success.
Fogt presented his award to sled mechanic Jim (Cheech) Garde. Strength coaches Jon Carlock and Jason Hartman were the recipients of Tomasevicz’s and Langton’s awards, respectively. Holcomb gave his award to athletic trainer Byron Craighead.
The next time the team reunites will be for national push championships in September, which will begin the selection process for the 2014-2015 season.