By Arthur Puu
Team USA wrestler Kyle Snyder and swimmer Katie Ledecky took home high honors as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Olympic Male and Female Athletes of the Year at the Team USA Awards presented by Dow on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The awards ceremony took place at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA.
Ledecky, the 20-year- old Maryland native, is a five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist and current sophomore at Stanford University. She was awarded the women’s award after winning five gold medals at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest and also set a women’s record for World Championship gold medals, upping her total to 14.
The 22-year- old Snyder is a two-time wrestling world champion (2015 and 2017) and took home gold in wrestling’s 97 kg weight class in the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics. He also helped the United States’ to their first men’s freestyle wrestling world team title in 22 years in the World Wrestling Championships.
The award ceremony, hosted by singer, actor and television host Mark McGrath, saw nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix honored with the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award. Felix was honored with the award in recognition of her community efforts and work with the Special Olympics and the organization Right to Play.
Other winners included Eileen Carey (Para Nordic skiing) for Paralympic Coach of the Year and the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team for Olympic Team of the Year.
Prior to the event, all Team USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes and award presenters strolled through the red carpet as they entered Royce Hall.
The full awards ceremony will be televised on NBC on Dec. 23 from 5-6 p.m. EST.