Courtesy: United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of June, 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, July 8.
A total of 10 sports – including archery, BMX, Para archery, Para track and field, rugby sevens, taekwondo, track and field, triathlon, water polo and weightlifting – 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.
Male Athlete of the Month
Rai Benjamin (Mount Vernon, New York), Track and Field
Claimed victory in the 400-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California, winning by almost two seconds to secure the eighth-fastest time ever in the event.
CJ Cummings (Beaufort, South Carolina), Weightlifting
Became the first weightlifter in history to claim four consecutive junior world championship titles with his victory in Suva, Fiji, and won the Junior Pan American Championships in Havana, Cuba.
Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona), Archery
Captured his first world championship title in men’s recurve, marking Team USA’s first men’s recurve world title since 1985.
Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, California), Triathlon
Claimed the silver medal at the ITU World Triathlon Series stop in Leeds, England, marking only the second world series medal in history for an American man.
Ben Thompson (Ladson, South Carolina), Para archery
Earned the No. 1 world ranking after winning men’s compound at the world championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
Female Athlete of the Month
Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach, California), Water Polo
Led Team USA with 14 goals en route to the gold medal at the FINA World League Super Final in Budapest, Hungary, earning tournament MVP honors.
Hannah Roberts (Buchanan, Michigan), BMX
Captured the gold medal in women’s freestyle park at the world cup stop in Montpellier, France, marking her second straight win on the circuit.
Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas), Para track and field
Won the 100- and 200-meter T46-47 events at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy.
Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Maryland), Triathlon
Won the gold medal at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Montreal, as well as a silver medal at the world series stop in Leeds, England, maintaining her No. 1 position in the world rankings.
Anastasija Zolotic (Largo, Florida), Taekwondo
Secured the bronze medal in the 57 kg. division at the grand prix in Rome, becoming the youngest U.S. taekwondo athlete in history to medal at a grand prix event.
Team of the Month
U.S. Men’s World Championship Recurve Open Team, Para archery
The team of Eric Bennett (Surprise, Arizona), Michael Lukow (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Timothy Palumbo (Williamsville, New York) won the men’s recurve open team title in a run that included a win over top-seeded China at the world championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
U.S. Women’s National Team, Rugby Sevens
Won its first-ever Sevens Series gold medal at the event in Biarritz, France, qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and finished the season with a program-high No. 2 world ranking.
U.S. Women’s Senior National Team, Water Polo
Went undefeated and claimed the gold medal at the FINA World League Super Final in Budapest, Hungary, qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
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 National Governing Body 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.