Katie Ledecky and Kyle Snyder continued their Olympic dominance, winning the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Olympic Athlete of the Year honors at the Team USA Awards.
Ledecky, a 20-year-old Stanford sophomore from Bethesda, is a five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist and the 22-year-old Snyder, a two-time All-Met wrestler of the year for Good Counsel High School, won gold in wrestling’s 97-kg weight class at the Rio Olympics.
“Congratulations to all the nominees for these awards tonight and all of the award winners. You all had tremendous years in your sport and congratulations. I want to personally thank my family, my teammates, my coaches, everyone at the USOC and USA Swimming for supporting me — especially my coach, Greg Meehan, and all my teammates here at Stanford for pushing me every day and making this journey so much fun,” Ledecky said in a statement of winning the Female Olympic Athlete award. “It’s been a great year. We won the NCAA national championship in March, I had a great summer in Budapest at world championships, and it’s definitely a year I’ll look back on with a lot of great memories. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of those memories.”
Earlier this month, Ledecky was named Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth consecutive time at USA Swimming’s annual Golden Goggle awards ceremony. (No other swimmer, male or female, has won the award more than three years in a row.) During her freshman season at Stanford, she broke American records nine times and NCAA records 12 times.
Like Ledecky, Snyder is a prodigy who, at 19, became America’s youngest wrestling world champion. “Winning is very humbling,” he said of being named Athlete of the Year. “I was with a great group of nominees, all deserving and [am] glad we all get to represent Team USA.”
In an event that was called “The Match of the Century,” Snyder, who grew up in Woodbine, Md., defeated Olympic and two-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia, 6-5, to win the 97 kg gold medal in Rio, and helped Team USA to its first men’s freestyle wrestling world team title in 22 years at the 2017 World Wrestling Championships.
Nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix was given the second annual Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award at the Team USA Awards, presented by Dow, Best of the Year. Other winners include:
- Olympic Team of the Year — U.S. Women’s National Team, ice hockey
- Olympic Coach of the Year — Bill Zadick, wrestling
- Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year — Tatyana McFadden of Clarksville, Md., Para track and field
- Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year — Mikey Brannigan, Para track and field
- Paralympic Team of the Year — U.S. National Team, sled hockey
- Paralympic Coach of the Year — Eileen Carey, Para Nordic skiing
The awards were presented Nov. 1 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles and will be televised at 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 23 by NBC.
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