The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has announced the list of Olympic nominees for its post-Rio 2016 awards with gymnastics sensation Simone Biles among those in the running for the best female prize and swimming legend Michael Phelps in contention for the male equivalent.
The “Best of the Games” awards recognize the performances of Team USA athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As well as categories for the best female and male Olympic athletes, there is also one for the best team.
Biles won the women’s artistic gymnastics all-around team gold medal, and individual golds in all-around, vault and floor exercise, while adding a bronze on balance beam.
She became the first American gymnast to win four golds at a single Games and one of only four women to accomplish the feat in Olympic history.
Among her competition is Gwen Jorgensen, who earned the US its first triathlon gold medal since the sport made its Olympic debut in 2000, and swimmer Katie Ledecky, who set two world records on her way to winning four golds and one silver and becoming only the second swimmer to sweep the 200 meters, 400m and 800m freestyle titles at a single Games.
Completing the list of nominees is Helen Maroulis, the first US female wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal with success in the women’s 53 kilograms freestyle category, and Claressa Shields, who successfully defended her London 2012 middleweight crown to become the only American boxer – male or female – to win back-to-back Olympic golds.
Phelps is one of five nominees for the best male award having won five golds and one silver to ensure Rio 2016 marked the fourth consecutive Olympics in which he has led all athletes, across all nations and sports, dating back to Athens 2004.
Others vying for the prize include Carmelo Anthony, who captained the US men’s basketball team to a perfect record and became the sport’s only male player in Olympic history to win three gold medals, and Matthew Centrowitz, who gave the US its first victory in the 1,500m since 1908.
Completing the list of nominees is Connor Fields, who battled back from breaking his wrist just four months ago to win the US’s first-ever gold medal in BMX, and Kyle Snyder, who became the youngest US wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal after triumphing in the men’s freestyle 97kg category.
The US’s women’s basketball side feature among the team nominations after winning its sixth straight Olympic gold, and eighth overall, in Rio.
Also in the running is the women’s artistic gymnastics all-around team, which defended its Olympic title, and the women’s rowing eight after winning its third straight Olympic gold medal.
The US women’s 400m relay team has been recognised too having retained its Olympic title from London 2012, as has the women’s water polo team which went undefeated to become the first to successfully defend the Olympic title.
A nominating committee selected the 2016 Olympic finalists for the individual athlete and team categories based on nominations from each national governing body.
Fans can vote here for their favorite athletes and teams through to September 6.
Nominees for the best female, male and team at the Rio 2016 Paralympics will be announced after the Games, which are scheduled to take place from September 7-18.
The six award winners are due to be announced in late September in Washington D.C.
By Daniel Etchells
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz