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Snyder, Zadick named USOC’s Best
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the winners for the 2017 Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, recognizing the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes, teams and coaches.
The Male Olympic Athlete of the Year is 2017 World champion freestyle wrestler Kyle Snyder (Woodbine, Md./Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC).
“This is great because Team USA is built from a ton of amazing and talented athletes. To be awarded this title is pretty special,” said Snyder.
Snyder becomes just the fourth wrestler to win a USOC Athlete of the Year award, joining Olympic and World champions John Smith in 1990, Rulon Gardner in 2000 and Jordan Burroughs in 2015.
Snyder won the 97 kg World gold medal in what was dubbed the “Match of the Century,” defeating Olympic champion and two-time World champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia in the finals. His win gave the USA the World Team title over Russia by one team point. It was the third straight World or Olympic gold medal for Snyder, who was a 2015 World champion and 2016 Olympic champion.
Also in 2017, Snyder won the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia, the first U.S. men’s winner in that prestigious event since 2009. He also won gold medals at the Pan American Championships and the Grand Prix of Spain. Domestically, Snyder won both the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. World Team Trials. As a junior at Ohio State, Snyder won his second NCAA Div. I title at heavyweight, as well.
“Everything went well for me this past year. Looking back, I was able to improve. I am a better wrestler today than I was one year ago, which is what I try to do. I faced some great competition this year. In the World finals, I faced someone that many people think is one of the greatest of all time, and I competed well. I was able to train hard both mentally and physically for the World Championships,” said Snyder.
The other Male finalists were Lowell Bailey of Biathlon, Caeleb Dressel of Swimming, Sam Kendricks of Track and Field and McRae Williams of Freestyle Skiing.
“We are really excited to see Kyle recognized by the U.S. Olympic family for his incredible contributions to USA Wrestling’s program and the U.S. Olympic movement. Congratulations to Kyle, his family, his coaches and his teammates on this achievement,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.
USA Wrestling National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick, who led Team USA to the World Team Title in freestyle wrestling, was named National Olympic Coach of the Year.
The United States edged Russia by one point to win the 2017 Freestyle World Team Title, its first in 22 years going back to 1995, and only its third ever. The USA won six medals in the eight weight classes, including two gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals. In addition, USA Wrestling won the Junior World Team men’s freestyle title in 2017 under Bill’s guidance, its first team title at this age level since 1984.
“It is an honor to be included in this group of excellent coaches, which is humbling. A good plan is contingent upon good people in the right places. We have a vision to be the best and believed we could be World Champion. It is a victory for everybody,” said Zadick.
Zadick became National Freestyle Coach in August 2016 and was in his first year leading the program after more than seven years as an Assistant National Freestyle Coach. As an athlete, he was a 2006 World champion in men’s freestyle wrestling. Zadick was an NCAA champion at the University of Iowa in 1996. Zadick wanted to thank his past coaches including Bruce Burnett and Dan Gable, his family and many others for their support.
“I want to thank (Executive Director) Rich Bender and (Associate Executive Director) Les Gutches for giving me this opportunity. I thank our coaching staff which includes Kevin Jackson and Joe Russell, as well as the entire USA Wrestling staff. Everyone works hard in their area to elevate the company and our program. I thank Cody Bickley and Jaimie McNab for their work. I have said this before that our athletes are great people, who happen to be great wrestlers also. Great athletes make their coaches look good,” said Zadick.
The other Olympic Coach of the Year finalists were Billy Walsh of USA Boxing and Matt Whitcomb of Nordic Skiing.
“We are extremely excited to see Bill Zadick recognized with such a prestigious honor. In the short time that Bill has been National Freestyle Coach, he has established himself as one of the very best coaches and leaders in Olympic sport. He is a great coach but even a better person,” said Bender.
Zadick is the first USA Wrestling coach to win the USOC Olympic Coach of the Year award, and only the second to win any USOC coaching award. In 2008, Dr. Dave Bennett, who was USA Wrestling’s Freestyle Development Coach, won the USOC Doc Counsilman Science Award, recognizing a coach who utilizes scientific techniques and equipment in innovative ways.
2017 World champion Helen Maroulis was a finalist for the Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, an award which was won by swimming star Katie Ledecky.
Maroulis won the 2017 World title at 58 kg/128 lbs., dominating the field. It was her third straight World or Olympic gold medal, all in different weight classes. She was a 2015 World champion at 55 kg/121 lbs. and won the 2016 Olympic title at 53 kg/116.5 lbs. Also in 2017, Maroulis won a gold medal at the Poland Open, and was the U.S. World Team Trials champion.
The other women finalists were Heather Bergsma of Long Track Speedsking, Lindsey Jacobellis of Snowboarding and Mikaela Shiffrin of Alpine Skiing.
“We are proud that Helen Maroulis was selected as a finalist for this award. Helen Maroulis has established herself as a true warrior and ambassador for women’s wrestling and Olympic sport,” said Bender.
In the fan voting for the USOC Olympic Athlete of the Year Awards, which counted for 50% of the final tally, both Snyder and Maroulis won the voting in their category.
U.S. Olympic Committee announces winners for 2017 Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year
- Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods – Katie Ledecky, swimming
- Male Olympic Athlete of the Year – Kyle Snyder, wrestling
- Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow – U.S. Women’s National Team, ice hockey
- Olympic Coach of the Year – Bill Zadick, wrestling
- Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year – Tatyana McFadden, Para track and field
- Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year – Mikey Brannigan, Para track and field
- Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow – U.S. National Team, sled hockey
- Paralympic Coach of the Year – Eileen Carey, Para Nordic skiing