The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) has nominated reigning X Games slopestyle skiing champion Tom Wallisch and four-time Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Champion Lindsey Vonn for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards, the organization’s top annual honor.
Wallisch won slopestyle gold at the Aspen X Games in 2012, captured the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) slopestyle title and was named Action Sports Athlete of the Year by ESPN.
“It’s an honor to be nominated for such a huge award, especially given the youth of our sport internationally,” said Wallisch. “Approaching Sochi 2014 and the debut of slopestyle as an Olympic event is going to be exciting. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our sport to such a broad audience. Slopestyle is just a really exciting and fun part of our sport and I think will have a huge impact at the Olympics.”
Vonn produced a record-shattering season that resulted in her fourth Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall title in addition to her fifth straight downhill crown, fourth super G title and third consecutive super combined globe to bring her career total to 16 World Cup titles. In the process, she reset the women’s all time World Cup point total record to 1,980, surpassing a mark that stood since 2006.
“It takes an incredible amount of commitment and determination to stay at the top, and that’s something all athletes share. But there is so much behind a gold medal or even one race victory in such a strong and deep sport as alpine ski racing,” said Vonn. “Without the support of my U.S. Ski Team coaches, my equipment technicians and physical trainers I certainly wouldn’t have been able to produce such an incredible season.”
The USOC will announce the 2012 Athletes of the Year on Sept. 17.
”Lindsey and Tom represent the very best levels of accomplishment of a world class athlete,” said Bill Marolt, USSA president and CEO. “Their performances truly stand out against a backdrop of record success by U.S. athletes in both the 2011 and 2012 competition seasons.” -GM
Photos: USSA/Sarah Brunson and GEPA