U.S. aerialist wins Utah award
U.S. Freestyle Ski Team aerialist and 2015 World Cup globe winner Kiley McKinnon (Madison, Connecticut) took home the award for Pro/Olympian Female Athlete at the 2016 Governor’s State of Sport Awards, held on May 10 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. McKinnon was one of 11 Utah-based athletes honored at the event hosted by Gov. Gary R. Herbert and the Utah Sports Commission.
The State of Sport awards recognized athletes’ accomplishments at the high school, amateur, collegiate, Olympic and professional levels. McKinnon was selected for the ballot based on her accomplishments during the 2015 season, including a silver medal at the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships, five World Cup podiums and the 2015 aerials World Cup title.
"It’s such an honor to receive this award," said McKinnon. "Living in Park City, my teammates and I have access to some of the best training facilities in the world. We also participate in a World Cup here each year. We’re very thankful to have the support of the Utah Sports Commission and the state of Utah to help us perform at our best."
Approximately 127,000 votes from sports fans all over the world determined a winner in each of the nine voting categories. U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete Liz Stephen and U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Ted Ligety were also nominated in the Pro/Olympian categories. In addition to the athlete awards, Lifetime Achievement awards were presented to James L. Easton and Vern Law.
The evening concluded with a keynote address from United States Olympic Committee Chief Operating Officer Scott Blackmun. Blackmun received a donation of $10,000 from Gov. Herbert and Utah Sports Commission President & CEO Jeff Robbins, which Blackmun prescribed should be divided and gifted to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and U.S. Speedskating, the two Olympic National Governing Bodies based in Utah.
"The lessons learned from sports stay with us and benefit us throughout our lives," said Herbert. "It is great to honor the top athletes, teams and coaches in our state and I salute each nominee for their contributions to sports in Utah."
A full list of Governor’s State of Sport Awards winners can be found at stateofsportawards.com.
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.