This is the first time a US Biathlete has ever won Athlete of the Month. Said Max Cobb, US Biathlon Executive Director and he IBU Technical Delegate at the Antholz World Cup, “It is another great honor for us; another milestone for our program and Tim.”
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Olympic Committee announced cyclist Sarah Hammer and biathlete Tim Burke as its December Athletes of the Month, while ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White were awarded Team of the Month honors.
Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) not only collected gold and silver medals at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Cali, Columbia, in December, but the two-time World champion clocked the third- fastest women’s time in history in the three-kilometer individual pursuit. The Olympian made her return to the highest level of competition by taking the individual pursuit gold in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup’s third round before taking the silver medal in the team pursuit.
Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), was on the podium twice in the Ostersund World Cup – second in the 20K and third in the sprint. This is the first time in history that a U.S. biathlete was on the podium twice in the same World Cup. He continued his winning streak, and he became the overall World Cup points leader, a position no other U.S. biathlete has ever achieved. The 2006 Olympian has 12 top-10 World Cup finishes and is currently ranked third in the world.
The 2009 U.S. ice dancing champions, Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich.) and White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), won gold at the 2009 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 3-6. The Four Continents champions totaled 169.44 points, and garnering their third Grand Prix gold medal this season. The duo is competing this weekend at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships for a spot on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team.
Felicia Oh (Valencia, Calif.) took second place in the Female Athlete of the Month voting. Oh won a pair of gold medals at the FILA Grappling World Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dec. 12-13. Grappling, also called submission wrestling, is recognized as a form of wrestling by the international wrestling federation FILA. She captured the 50 kg/110 lbs division in both the No-Gi and Gi division. On Dec. 12, Oh won a four-athlete round-robin to capture the gold medal, winning two of her three matches. On Dec. 13, she won a three-athlete round-robin, finishing with a 2-0 record. She was the only U.S. athlete in either the women’s or men’s divisions to win a World gold medal in both the No-Gi and Gi disciplines.
Finishing third was table tennis athlete Jun Gao (Gaithersburg, Md.) who claimed her ninth consecutive women’s singles title at the USA Table Tennis National Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 19. Gao, who missed the last four national championships, kept her No. 1 U.S. ranking by defeating all of her opponents and in the process kept her record perfect for never losing a U.S. Women’s Single National Championship Tournament.
Two-time U.S. champion and 2009 World titlist Evan Lysacek (Naperville, Ill.), was second in the Male Athlete of the Month voting. Lysacek capped a successful 2008-09 season by winning gold at the 2009 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 3-6. He posted a 249.45 competition mark, garnering his second Grand Prix gold medal this season and edging 2009 Japanese champion Nobunari Oda by more than six points.
Table tennis star Michael Landers (Old Westbury, N.Y.) took third for the men. Landers reached the pinnacle of his young career by becoming the youngest American-born athlete to win the USA Table Tennis National Championship in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 19.
Coming in second in Team of the Month voting was the U.S. Grappling World Team, which won the team title in all four divisions at the FILA Grappling World Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dec. 12-13. The U.S. won both the men’s and women’s divisions in No-Gi Grappling Dec. 12, then captured both the men’s and women’s divisions in Gi Grappling, Dec. 13. The U.S. team was coached by USA Grappling National Coach Ricardo Liborio. The U.S. dominated the No-Gi division, winning five of the six men’s gold medals, and adding four of the five women’s gold medals.
Coming in third was the bobsled duo of Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) and Michelle Rzpeka (Novi, Mich.), who began the second half of the 2009-10 season ranked third in World Cup standings after claiming gold and bronze during the month of December. Rohbock and Rzepka were victorious on the 2006 Olympic course in Cesana, Italy, on Dec. 5, beating the field by a large margin of 0.34 seconds. The duo also claimed bronze on Dec. 19 to complete a North American sweep of the podium on one of the world’s most notoriously difficult tracks in Altenberg, Germany.
Sarah Hammer, Cycling
Felicia Oh, Wrestling
Jun Gao, Table Tennis
Tim Burke, Biathlon
Evan Lysacek, Figure Skating
Michael Landers, Table Tennis
Meryl Davis/Charlie White, Ice Dancing
US Grappling World Team, Wrestling
Shauna Rohbock/Michelle Rzpeka, Bobsled