American Olympic hopefuls awarded

US Olympic Commitee Athletes of the Year announced

Wednesday January 4th 2006, Author: Marlieke Eaton, Location: United States
US Sailing has recognised six athletes as the sport's U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Athletes of the Year for 2005 for outstanding performance in competition. In the four categories, the athletes have five world championship titles between them, as well as numerous additional podium-finishes.

Team of the Year is the Yngling team of Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), and Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich). Laser sailor Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and Laser Radial sailor Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) are Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively. US Sailing has also named 2.4mR sailor Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) as Paralympic Athlete of the Year.

As US Sailing's USOC Athletes of the Year, these sailors will be considered for the overall USOC Team and Athlete of the Year Awards. The USOC award winners will be selected from the Athletes of the Year recognized by each Olympic sport's national governing body.

Team of the Year
Skipper Sally Barkow and crew Debbie Capozzi, and Carrie Howe, have enjoyed a very successful year, winning eight major regattas, including two World Championships. Barkow, Capozzi, and Howe kicked off 2005 by winning US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR in January to win the qualification for the US Sailing Team in the Yngling class. The team then went on to win several other major regattas, including Semaine Olympique Française in France, Expert Olympic Garda in Italy, St. Quay Match Race in France, US Sailing's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship in Fort Worth, TX. Their most impressive results were victories at the Yngling Women's World Championship and the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship.

Male Athlete of the Year
Laser sailor Andrew Campbell was recognized for his performance in several events, including the World University Games in Turkey where he won a gold medal representing the USA and Georgetown University. Campbell also won the 89-boat fleet at the Laser Midwinters East Championship and the 85-boat Laser North American Championship. His success at these two events was preceded by his second-place finish at US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, earning him second place on the 2005 US Sailing Team in the Laser class. Campbell has also had a good year in college sailing, winning the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association's (ICSA) Singlehanded Championship and finishing second at the ICSA Sloops Championship. Campbell was previously named US Sailing's Male Athlete of the Year in 2002.

Female Athlete of the Year
Paige Railey, an 18-year-old Laser Radial sailor had a tremendously successful 2005, winning two World Championships and entering the record books for being the first sailor in history to win two Singlehanded Girls Youth World Championship titles (she also won the event in 2003). Railey began her year winning US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, then went on to compete in the Laser Radial Midwinters East where she defeated 82 other boats to win the event and qualify for the number one spot on the 2005 US Sailing Team in the Laser Radial.

Railey also obtained great results in events further away from home, winning the Princess Sofia Trophy in Spain and the Laser Radial European Championship in Croatia. One of her most impressive performances this year was at the Laser Radial World Championship in Brazil last month where she beat 75 other world-class sailors to take the title. This is the fourth time Railey was named US Sailing's USOC Female Athlete of the Year, she was previously recognized in 2004, 2002, and 2001.

Paralympic Athlete of the Year
Nick Scandone sailed brilliantly throughout the year, which culminated in a very impressive win at the 2.4mR Open World Championship where he defeated 87 able-bodied and disabled sailors in the process, including seven previous world champions. He also won the U.S. Independence Cup/North American Challenge Cup (his second consecutive win at that event) and America's Disabled/Open Regatta, both in the 2.4mR. Scandone was the highest U.S. finisher at US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, finishing in third place overall, which helped him take the top spot on the 2005 US Disabled Sailing Team in the 2.4mR. In addition to all his impressive Paralympic class results, Scandone still finds the time to compete in able-bodied regattas as well, finishing fourth at the Naples Sabot Senior Nationals.

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