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Inline Planet Skate Forum • View topic - Joey Cheek Named SportsMan of the Year

Joey Cheek Named SportsMan of the Year

Press releases and announcements about inline skating events and products

Joey Cheek Named SportsMan of the Year

Postby Robert on Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:39 pm

USOC honors top U.S. athletes for 2006
source: // USOC Media Services // January 16, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Long-track speedskater Joey Cheek (Greensboro, N.C.),snowboarder Hannah Teter (Belmont, Vt.),Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.), and the U.S. Men’s Curling Team have been selected as the 2006 United States Olympic Committee (USOC) SportsMan, SportsWoman, Paralympian and Team of the Year,respectively. All 2006 winners are first time recipients of the awards.

"These prestigious awards recognize the outstanding contributions these athletes have made to Olympic and Paralympic sport as well as the positive example they have set for all Americans,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “Each of our winners exemplifies great sportsmanship and strength of character both on and off the field, and all are worthy additions to the distinguished list of past recipients."

Joey Cheek skated into the spotlight at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Cheek won the gold medal in the 500-meter individual long track, with the largest margin of victory in more than 50 years, and the silver medal in the 1000-meter individual long track events. In addition to his athletic achievements, Cheek’s performance off the ice was also a key component to what secured his selection as SportsMan of the Year. During the Games in Torino, Cheek announced that he was giving $40,000 in winnings to Right to Play for a refugee effort for children in Darfur, Sudan. His philanthropy brought him national respect and recognition throughout 2006. To date he has been honored as U.S. Speedskating’s Athlete of the Year, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of Ten Young Outstanding Americans presented by the Jaycees. He also won the 2006 Olympic Spirit Award Delivered by DHL and National Sportsmanship Award, along with being named as the first recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

Snowboarding was one of the most popular events at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, and Hannah Teter’s gold medal-winning performance in the halfpipe will be a memory for years to come. Teter's gold medal run included a frontside 540 melon, method air, frontside 900 stalefish, indy air, frontside 360 with a frontside grab and a switch Cab 540 stalefish. In 2006 on her way to Torino, Teter also won two Grand Prix contests and took second at another; the Grand Prix is the premier snowboard competition series in the nation. She also won the 2006 World Cup. In only four years as a professional, Teter has won every major halfpipe competition in the world with the exception of the U.S. Open. Prior to the Olympics, Hannah made her big screen debut in First Descent, a Hollywood-released film documenting the rise of snowboarding through the eyes of riders. Raised in a family with three snowboarding brothers, Hannah started snowboarding at age 8.

Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long had a phenomenal year with a long list of impressive accomplishments. She set five world records and earned nine gold medals at the 2006 International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa in December. Her gold medal performances were in freestyle relay (world record), 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter freestyle (world record), 100-meter fly (world record), IM relay, 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter IM (world record), 400-meter freestyle (world record), and 50-meter freestyle. She also set three world records at the 2006 U.S. Paralympic National Championships in August; two world records at the GTAC Open in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in May; two world records at the Belgian Open in Antwerp, Belgium in May; and four world records at the Spring Can-Am in London, Ontario, in April. She currently holds world records in 12 events, one as part of a relay. She is Swimming World’s 2006 Disabled Swimmer of the Year and was named a finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year. Jessica was born in Siberia and was adopted from a Russian orphanage at 13 months. Because of lower leg anomalies, her legs were amputated when she was 18 months old. She burst onto the international stage at the 2004 Paralympic Games at age 12 with three gold medals and as the youngest athlete on the U.S. Paralympic Team.

The U.S. Men’s Curling Team also slid into the spotlight during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games with its best finish ever, securing the bronze medal and the first Olympic medal ever for U.S. curling. Team members Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Cass Lake, Minn.), John Shuster (Chisholm, Minn.), and Scott Baird ’s (Bemidji, Minn.) performance capped a year of notable finishes including gold at the 2006 U.S. National Championships, fourth at the 2006 World Curling Championships, quarterfinalist at the World Curling Tour Players’ Championship, gold at the Korbel Cashspiel (World Curling Tour) and silver at the Strauss Crown of Curling (World Curling Tour). Skip Pete Fenson began curling at age 13 and has competed in five world championships. Vice skip Shawn Rojeski began at age 8 and is a three-time national champion. Joe Polo plays second position and was named to the All-Star team at the 2004 Junior National Championships. John Shuster began curling in high school and won his first men’s national title in 2003 followed by the junior men’s title in 2004. Scott Baird is a four-time national champion, has been curling since age 10, and holds the honor of being the oldest athlete at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games at age 55.

While Teter is the first snowboarder to be recognized as SportsMan or SportsWoman of the Year, Cheek joins two other speedskating notables, Eric Heiden (1977, 1979, and 1980) and Dan Jansen (1994), as SportsMan of the Year. Long’s distinction as Paralympian of the Year is the second time in three years that a swimmer has been recognized (Erin Popovich, 2004). 2006 marks the first time U.S. Curling has received Team of the Year accolades.

The USOC SportsMan and SportsWoman of the Year awards have been presented annually since 1974 to the top overall male and female athlete from within the USOC member organizations. The team award was added in 1996 and the Paralympian of the Year was awarded for the first time in 2004. Winners are selected from the individual female and male athlete of the year and team of the year nominations of the USOC and National Governing Bodies for the Olympic, Pan American, Affiliated and Disabled Sports Organizations within the U.S. Olympic Movement.

All-time USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman, Paralympian and Team of the Year honorees include:

SportsMan of the Year
1974 – Jim Bolding, Athletics
1975 – Clinton Jackson, Boxing
1976 – John Naber, Swimming
1977 – Eric Heiden, Speedskating
1978 – Bruce Davidson, Equestrian
1979 – Eric Heiden, Speedskating
1980 – Eric Heiden, Speedskating
1981 – Scott Hamilton, Figure Skating
1982 – Greg Louganis, Diving
1983 – Rick McKinney, Archery
1984 – Edwin Moses, Athletics
1985 – Willie Banks, Athletics
1986 – Matt Biondi, Swimming
1987 – Greg Louganis, Diving
1988 – Matt Biondi, Swimming
1989 – Roger Kingdom, Athletics
1990 – John Smith, Wrestling
1991 – Carl Lewis, Athletics
1992 – Pablo Morales, Swimming
1993 – Michael Johnson, Athletics
1994 – Dan Jansen, Speedskating
1995 – Michael Johnson, Athletics
1996 – Michael Johnson Athletics
1997 – Pete Sampras, Tennis
1998 – Jonny Moseley, Skiing
1999 – Lance Armstrong, Cycling
2000 – Rulon Gardner, Wrestling
2001 – Lance Armstrong, Cycling
2002 – Lance Armstrong, Cycling
2003 – Lance Armstrong, Cycling
2004 – Michael Phelps, Swimming
2005 – Hunter Kemper, Triathlon
2006 –Joey Cheek, Speedskating

SportsWoman of the Year
1974 – Shirley Babashoff, Swimming
1975 – Kathy Heddy, Swimming
1976 – Sheila Young, Speedskating
1977 – Linda Fratianne, Figure Skating
1978 -- Tracy Caulkins, Swimming
1979 – Cynthia “Sippy” Woodhead, Swimming
1980 – Beth Heiden, Speedskating
1981 – Sheila Young Ochowicz, Cycling/Speedskating
1982 – Melanie Smith, Equestrian
1983 – Tamara McKinney, Skiing
1984 – Tracy Caulkins, Swimming
1985 – Mary Decker Slaney, Athletics
1986 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Athletics
1987 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Athletics
1988 – Florence Griffith Joyner, Athletics
1989 – Janet Evans, Swimming
1990 – Lynn Jennings, Athletics
1991 – Kim Zmeskal, Gymnastics
1992 – Bonnie Blair, Speedskating
1993 – Gail Devers, Athletics
1994 – Bonnie Blair, Speedskating
1995 – Picabo Street, Skiing
1996 – Amy Van Dyken, Swimming
1997 – Tara Lipinski, Figure Skating
1998 – Picabo Street, Skiing
1999 – Jenny Thompson, Swimming
2000 – Marion Jones, Athletics
2001 – Jennifer Capriati, Tennis
2002 – Sarah Hughes, Figure Skating
2003 – Michelle Kwan, Figure Skating
2004 – Carly Patterson, Gymnastics
2005 – Katie Hoff, Swimming
2006 – Hannah Teter, Snowboarding

Team of the Year
1996 – Women’s National/Olympic Basketball Team
1997 – Women’s National Soccer Team
1998 – Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team
1999 – Women’s National Soccer Team
2000 – USA Baseball Olympic Team
2001 – U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team
2002 – Women’s Bobsled Team
2003 – Women’s Gymnastics Team
2004 – U.S. Olympic Softball Team
2005 – Men’s Badminton Doubles Team
2006 – U.S. Olympic Men’s Curling Team

Paralympian of the Year
2004 -- Erin Popovich, Swimming
2005 – Laurie Stephens, Alpine Skier
2006 – Jessica Long, Swimming
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