The U.S. Ski Team performed a clean sweep at this month’s U.S. Olympic Committee monthly award ceremony. Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin were awarded the honor of Athlete of the Month in lieu of their stellar gold medal performances during last month’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The cross country team was also honored with Team of the Month in recognition of Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins gold medal team sprint victory at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Decisions are based upon a voting panel of prominent journalists and influenced by fan votes via Twitter. Each month, nominees are assembled by National Governing Bodies within summer and winter Olympic sports.
“The accomplishments of Ted, Mikaela, Jessie and Kikkan exemplify the Best in the World vision each of our USSA athletes seeks to achieve,” said USSA President Bill Marolt. “It’s a great credit to them and the support team that helped make it possible for them to reach their goals.”
This is the first time in history that the U.S. Ski Team has swept the USOC’s monthly award ceremony. Yet, after reflecting on the level to which our athletes have been performing this season, it was only a matter of time before they stole the entire show.
“Our team is really strong and the results really speak for themselves,” said Ligety. “It’s really cool to have this kind of depth and not just in alpine. The overall program is working really well for pretty much every program and that’s exactly what you want to see going into an Olympic year.”
Ted Ligety who has been recognized as the male Athlete of the Month for a third time this season, is fresh off his triple gold performance at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming. Ted dominated the competition with first place finishes in super G, super combined, and giant slalom. No athlete has earned as much gold in a single World Championship since Jean Claude Killy in 1968!
Mikaela Shiffrin, the teenage alpine phenomenon was honored with her second consecutive female Athlete of the Month award in recognition of her stellar slalom victory at the World Championships. The stunning victory also made Shiffrin the youngest American to win a World Championship title since Diann Roffe captured giant slalom gold in 1985.
Shiffrin remarked, “I don’t know what it is about this year, but all of the U.S. ski and snowboard teams are crushing right now and it’s so cool to be able to cheer for all my teammates, not just the alpine team. It feels so special to get a Tweet from Kikkan or to send a congrats to Ted after he wins something on the other side of Europe. Their success makes me want to win that much more. This is a really special honor and such this is such a special group of athletes to share it with.”
Cross country ski stars Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins were recognized as Team of the Month skied for gold in the team sprints at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship — the first gold in the team’s history.
Randall exclaimed, “Wow, so cool! This is an incredible honor! There were so many outstanding performances by USOC teams this month and it’s gratifying to be able to shine some light on our great sport of cross country. The World Championships victory was such a special breakthrough for the U.S. Ski Team. Being able to share this accomplishment with the U.S. sports community through this award will help us create a legacy to continue producing World Champions into the future!”
Diggins shared her teammates excitement, saying, “I am really honored to receive the award with Kikkan, especially during World Champs month alongside many amazing races that were taking place. It took a lot of people to make the race a success and I wish the award could cover the entire team – staff, teammates, trainers. It means a lot for our sport and will hopefully inspire even more breakthrough performances later on!”
While there are already so many achievements to reflect upon from this World Cup season, the action isn’t over yet! We still have two final weeks of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, and discipline titles to be claimed. Ligety is currently leading in the giant slalom while Shiffrin is leading the slalom standings.