Para-Swimmers Griswold, Smith Named Finalists for USOPC Best of September

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced the finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of September, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month. Fans are invited to vote for their favorite athletes and teams at TeamUSA.org/Awards through midnight Monday, Oct. 7.

Eight sports – including cycling, Para-cycling, Para swimming, skateboarding, track and field, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling – are represented among the 13 finalists across men’s, women’s and team categories. The finalists’ collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes year-round.

SEPTEMBER FINALISTS

Male Athlete of the Month

J’den Cox (Columbia, Missouri), Wrestling
Seeded No. 1, Cox won his second straight world title, with a gold-medal performance in the 92 kg. at the World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Robert Griswold (Freehold, N.J.), Para swimming
Took home four medals – including two golds and two silvers – at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, highlighted by Pan American records in the 200-meter individual medley SM8 (2:22.72) and the 400 freestyle S8 (4:32.77).

Aaron Keith (Woodinville, Washington), Para-cycling
Won two medals at the 2019 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, including gold in the men’s C1 time trial and bronze in the men’s C1 road race.

Heimana Reynolds (Honolulu, Hawaii), Skateboarding
Won the men’ park skateboarding world championship title in Sao Paulo, Brazil, recording a score of 88.00 points in his final run.

Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Georgia), Track and field
Captured his fourth world title – and third consecutive – in the men’s triple jump with a score of 17.92 meters at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. His win marked the 100th world title by an American man in track and field history dating back to 1983.

Female Athlete of the Month

Chloé Dygert Owen (Brownsburg, Indiana), Cycling
Won the individual time trial title by the largest margin ever (1:32.35) at the UCI Road World Championships, qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and becoming the youngest winner in event history.

Adeline Gray (Denver, Colorado), Wrestling
Became the first American wrestler to earn five senior world championship gold medals, winning the 76 kg. division title at the World Wrestling Championships to improve to seven career world medals overall.

Kate Nye (Oakland Township, Michigan), Weightlifting
Making her debut at the senior world championships at age 20, became the youngest U.S. women’s world weightlifting champion with a gold-medal sweep in the snatch (junior world record and Pan American record – 112 kg.), clean & jerk (136 kg.) and total (American record – 248 kg.).

DeAnna Price (Moscow Mills, Missouri), Track and field
Became the first American to win a world title in the hammer throw, recording three of the four best throws on the day, including the winning toss of 77.54 meters.

Leanne Smith, (Salem, Massachusetts), Para swimming
Claimed four medals – including three golds and one silver – at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, competing up a class and setting a world championship record time of 2:56.49 in the women’s 150-meter individual medley SM4.

Team of the Month

U.S. Men’s Handcycle Relay, Para-cycling
The trio of Will Groulx (Portland, Oregon), Brandon Lyons (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) and Tom Davis (Fremont, Indiana) secured the relay silver medal at the 2019 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships.

U.S. Mixed 4×400-meter Team, Track and field
Competing in the inaugural mixed gender 4×400-meter at the World Athletics Championships, the U.S. relay team of Michael Cherry (Chesapeake, Virginia), Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California), Wil London (Waco, Texas) and Courtney Okolo (Carrollton, Texas) set a winning world-record pace of 3:09.34 ahead of the event’s Olympic debut in 2020. With the win, Felix became the winningest athlete in world championship history.

U.S. Women’s World Cup Team, Indoor Volleyball
Captured the silver medal at the FIVB World Cup with a 10-1 record, defeating top-ranked Serbia, No. 4 Brazil and No. 5 Russia to become the only country to earn a medal in each of the last five world cup events preceding the Olympic Games.

SELECTION PROCESS
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per sport discipline. An internal nominating committee selects finalists to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org/Awards.

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