COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the 2014-15 winners for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, recognizing the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes and teams in six categories:
The Male Olympic Athlete of the Year is 2015 World champion freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids/Nebraska RTC).
Burroughs becomes just the third wrestler to win a USOC Athlete of the Year award, joining Olympic and World champions John Smith in 1990 and Rulon Gardner in 2000.
“This is fun. Wrestlers don’t get a lot of notoriety, especially when we go up against some of the more publically-aware sports like swimming and track and others, all which have some amazing athletes who are very well known. Winning this award has been a long process. I think to when I came out in 2011 after college, all of the many challenges, going into the London Games relatively unknown. Having all this recognition poured my way as we head into Rio is very exciting,” said Burroughs.
The six awards were presented during a live taping of the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year ceremony, held tonight at the University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall in Philadelphia. The awards show – which featured NBC’s Natalie Morales as host and retro pop/soul artist Andra Day as the musical guest – will be televised Dec. 27 on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) from 3-4 p.m. ET.
The six athlete and team award winners were determined by online fan voting at TeamUSA.org/Awards, where nearly 200,000 fan votes determined 50 percent of the final tally. Members of the Olympic and Paralympic family – including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists – accounted for the other 50 percent.
The other finalists for the Male Olympic Athlete of the Year were Ashton Eaton (Track and Field), Vincent Hancock (Shooting), Ted Ligety (Skiing) and Auston Matthews (Ice Hockey).
USOC Male Olympic Athlete of the Year biography
Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling
Jordan Burroughs went undefeated to claim his third world championship title in the men’s freestyle 74 kg. division at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, becoming the third-most winningest wrestler in U.S. history. He won all six matches en route to the world title – surrendering only five points to his 45 scored – to improve his overall record to 114-2 and claim his fourth world crown in five years. The reigning Olympic champion also added gold medals at both the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 World Cup.
Burroughs was a 2012 Olympic champion, and boasts three World titles (2011, 2013, 2015). He was also a 2014 World bronze medalist. Only John Smith (6) and Bruce Baumgartner (5) has won more World and Olympic gold medals than Burroughs in a career. He has also won two Pan American Games gold medals and three World Cup titles. He was a two-time NCAA champion for the University of Nebraska and the Hodge Trophy winner as the nation’s best college wrestler his senior year in 2011. Burroughs was a New Jersey state high school champion for Winslow Township High School in Sicklerville, N.J.
The other awards being presented this evening are:
• Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
• Male Olympic Athlete of the Year
• Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
• Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
• Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year
• Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
• Building Dream Award, presented by USG
The winners of these awards will be announced by the USOC, and this story will be updated at the conclusion of the presentation program in Philadelphia.
In addition to presenting sponsor Dow, five USOC partners – Coca-Cola, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG – are associate sponsors of the Team USA Awards program.
About the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year
Formerly known as the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year awards, the honors began in 1974. The impressive and diverse collection of past winners represent nearly 30 sports on the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic programs. Their collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout history. Athletes and teams considered for the Best of the Year were finalists for Best of the Month honors, dating back to the fall of the previous year and coinciding with the sport calendar. A USOC nominating committee then selected the top-five finalists in the individual categories and top three in the team categories to advance to the voting round. For more information on the Team USA Awards, including the full list of 2014-15 finalists, visit TeamUSA.org.