Female Athletes Dominate the Team USA Awards

Who run the world?

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Okay listen up—the U.S. Olympic Committee just announced the finalists for the year-end Team USA Awards, and women are just straight up *dominating.*  The awards, which have been honoring top athletes since 1974, will recognize the achievements of Team USA power players year-round. Top honorees include tennis phenom Serena Williams, wrestler Adeline Gray, and triathlon competitor Gwen Jorgensen.

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"I was ecstatic to be honored along side these amazing female athletes," said Gray, after learning about being a finalist. "As an athlete in the oldest sport known to man it is great to be recognized as a champion. For the United States Olympic Community to recognize the hard work that has allowed me to bring Women's Wrestling to the world is exciting." 

Jorgenson echoed those same sentiments: "When I was told I was nominated for the Female Olympic Athlete of the Year I immediately thought of my team of Jamie, Patrick, training partners, and sponsors have helped me so much throughout the years. Then when I saw who the other nominees were I was a bit shocked! I am among some very deserving candidates."

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As we continue to highlight women's achievements in sports, it's important to note that we have a long way to go—especially when it comes to equal pay. But hopefully, as more women are recognized, things will change. Right, ladies?

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Below find the full list of Best of the Year finalists for 2014 - 2015. Don't forget to vote for your favorites—which will count as 50 percent of the tally—at TeamUSA.org/Awards

Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK's Sporting Goods

Simone Biles, Gymnastics: Became the first woman to win 10 career world championship gold medals – and four golds at consecutive world championships – with a historic third straight world all-around title in 2015.

Adeline Gray, Wrestling: Won her third world title at 75 kg., to rank second among U.S. women in world championship gold (3) and overall (5) medals, while maintaining a No. 1 world ranking throughout the season.

Gwen Jorgensen, Triathlon: Won her second consecutive world title in 2015, becoming the first triathlete ever – man or woman – to complete an undefeated season and earn 12 straight ITU World Triathlon Series wins.

Katie Ledecky, Swimming: Became the first swimmer to win the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events at the FINA World Championships, claiming five gold medals and three world records to be named Female Swimmer of the Meet in 2015.

Serena Williams, Tennis: Became only the second woman to win four straight Grand Slam titles, claiming her 21st Grand Slam singles victory in 2015 and fifth WTA Finals title in 2014 – the second most in history.

Male Olympic Athlete of the Year

Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling: Went undefeated to claim his third world championship title in the men's freestyle 74 kg. division in 2015, becoming the third-most winningest wrestler in U.S. history and improving his record to 114-2 overall.

Ashton Eaton, Track and Field: Improved his decathlon world record with 9,045 points and broke a 40-year-old world decathlon record in the 400-meter to win the gold medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships by more than 300 points.

Vincent Hancock, Shooting: Became the third male to win three world championship titles in skeet shooting, and the first to post a perfect world-record score of 157 straight targets since the new skeet rules were implemented after the 2012 Olympics.

Ted Ligety, Skiing: Became the second-most decorated U.S. skier in world championship history with seven medals, winning his third straight giant slalom world title and finishing third in the final FIS World Cup giant slalom standings.

Auston Matthews, Ice Hockey: Led Team USA to the 2015 IIHF U-18 World Championship gold medal as the tournament's best forward and surpassed Patrick Kane's single-season National Team Development Program records for goals (55) and points (117).

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Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow

Women's USA-1, Bobsled: Elana Meyers Taylor and Cherrelle Garrett became the first women's bobsled team to win a world championship, as driver Meyers Taylor claimed the overall 2014-15 world cup title with six gold medals.

U.S. Women's World Cup Team, Soccer: Became the first nation to win three FIFA Women's World Cup titles, setting the record for most goals scored in a World Cup Final in 5-2 win over Japan and surpassing Germany as the top-scoring team in Women's World Cup history with 112 goals.

Women's Senior National Team, Water Polo: Won an unprecedented fourth FINA World Championship and ninth World League Super Final, becoming the first women's team to hold current Olympic, world championship, world cup and World League titles.

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Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK's Sporting Goods

Hailey Danisewicz, Triathlon: Won gold medals at three ITU World Paratriathlon events and finished second, as part of a Team USA PT2 sweep, at the 2015 World Championships.

Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing, Cycling: Won three world championship medals – two in Nordic skiing and one in cycling – and also claimed the overall cross-country skiing world cup title with seven gold medals.

Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field: Remained undefeated to capture her third straight marathon grand slam, while also winning her first marathon world title and setting three T54 world records.

Becca Meyers, Swimming: Won three medals – including two golds – and set three world records at the IPC Swimming World Championships, in which she also set world-leading marks in five events.

Jamie Whitmore, Cycling: Swept the time trial and road race gold medals at the road cycling world championships and won the overall world cup title with nine world cup victories.

Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year

Joe Berenyi, Cycling: Won three medals – including two golds – at the track cycling world championships, and added four medals – including three golds – at the 2015 Parapan American Games.

Declan Farmer, Sled Hockey: Led Team USA in season scoring, recording the game-winning goal at the 2015 World Championship and tying the U.S. record with six goals in a world championship tournament.

Mike Shea, Snowboarding: Won the LL2 banked slalom world title and three world cup events to end the season ranked No. 1 in the world for both banked slalom and snowboardcross.

Andy Soule, Nordic Skiing: Won the most medals ever (5) by a U.S. athlete at the Nordic skiing world championships and added five world cup medals to win the overall cross-country world cup title.

Roderick Townsend, Track and Field: In his first year of Paralympic competition, won four world championship medals, winning gold in the high jump and twice setting the world record in his signature event.

Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow

W1 Men's Team, Archery: The team of Jeff Fabry, Jerry Shields and Chuck Lear won Team USA's first world championship gold medal in the men's W1 team event at the 2015 World Championships.

U.S. National Team, Sled Hockey: Went undefeated during the 2014-15 season and defeated Canada, 3-0, to win the 2015 world championship, outscoring its five opponents by a combined 29-1 in the tournament.

U.S. Women's National Team, Wheelchair Basketball: Won the gold medal at the 2015 Parapan Am Games, defeating the reigning world champions and all opponents by an average of 55 points per game to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

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