Feb. 8, 2005
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Beach volleyball Olympic gold medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh, two-time Olympian Kevin Barnett and the Paralympic bronze-medal-winning USA women's sitting volleyball team are among the nominees for the 2004 United States Olympic Committee (USOC) SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year honors, USA Volleyball announced Tuesday.
The nominees are the 2004 Athletes and Teams of the Year representing Olympic, Pan American and Affiliated Sport Organizations within the U.S. Olympic Movement.
Each year the USOC recognizes the top male and top female athletes and the top team as selected by their respective member organizations. The names of the athletes and teams are placed on ballots used to select the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and overall Team of the Year.
Members of the USOC Board of Directors, along with representatives of the national media, participate in the voting to select the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year.
Forty-nine males and 49 females, as well as 39 teams, are being honored by the USOC for their athletic accomplishments in 2004.
Honored last year for their accomplishments in 2003 were cyclist Lance Armstrong, figure skater Michelle Kwan and the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team.
The official announcement of the 2004 USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year will be on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005, at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time).
This year for the first time, the USOC allowed National Governing Bodies (NGBs) that represent more than one Olympic sport discipline or that field both Olympic and Paralympic athletes to nominate at least one male athlete, one female athlete and one team in each category. As a result, USA Volleyball nominated selections in each of its three disciplines: beach volleyball, indoor volleyball and sitting volleyball.
USA Volleyball's nominees for SportsWoman of the Year included Tayyiba Haneef (Indoor/Laguna Hills, Calif.), Kerri Walsh (Beach/Saratoga, Calif.) and Lora Webster (Sitting/Cave Creek, Ariz.).
The organization's nominees for SportsMan of the Year included Kevin Barnett (Indoor/Naperville, Ill.), Stein Metzger (Beach/Honolulu, Hawaii) and Chris Seilkop (Sitting/DeLand, Fla.).
USAV's nominees for Team of the Year are Misty May (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Beach), the USA Men's National Volleyball Team (Indoor) and the USA Women's Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team.
USA Volleyball SportsMan and SportsWoman of the Year Bios:
Haneef showed glimpses of greatness for the USA Women's National Volleyball Team during the 2004 season. On April 22 she pounded three-time Olympic gold medalist Cuba for a national-team record 41 points on 38 kills, two service aces and one block in a five-set loss at the Yeltsin Cup in Russia. Haneef's 38 kills and 87 swings were also records. She led the team in scoring 12 times during the season, including four times in six matches at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. For the year, she led the United States in kills (328), kills per set (3.12), total points (375) and total attack attempts (806). Haneef also finished second on the team in points per set (3.57) and service aces (20). As a team, the USA Women finished second at the Montreux Volley Masters and Pan American Cup, third at the World Grand Prix and fifth at the Olympic Games. In Athens, Haneef finished second on the team and 11th overall in scoring with 96 points on 84 kills, six blocks and six service aces.
Walsh was named Most Valuable Player of the women's beach volleyball competition at the 2004 Olympic Games after teaming with partner Misty May to capture the gold medal with a perfect 7-0 record. Walsh was nearly as unbeatable for the entire international season, going 43-2 overall in eight tournaments. She won seven medals overall, including four gold medals with May and two gold medals and one bronze medal with fill-in partner Rachel Wacholder while May was out with an injury. Walsh was also named 2004 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Most Valuable Player for the second-straight year after posting an incredible 54-5 record in 11 tournaments. She captured seven tournament championships along with three second-place finishes and one third-place finish in 11 total domestic tournaments played. Walsh and May captured the 2004 Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman Team of the Year award, the 2004 U.S. Olympic Spirit Award and USOC Team of the Month (Oct. 2004) honors. On Oct. 17, 2004, May and Walsh became the winningest women's team in the history of the sport--in just their fourth season--by posting their 31st tournament victory together.
Webster was one of the main reasons the USA Women's National Sitting Volleyball Team made history on Sept. 27 when it captured the bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games with a 3-1 win over Slovenia. The medal is the first of any kind at the Paralympics for any of the disabled volleyball programs (sitting or standing, men's or women's). Webster scored a team-high 19 points in the 25-20, 10-25, 25-18, 25-20 victory for the United States, which finished the tournament with a record of 4-3 in just their second year of existence as a team. Webster, 18, had a match-high nine service aces, five kills and five blocks in the medal-clinching win and finished first on Team USA and seventh among all players with 79 points on 48 kills, 18 blocks and 13 aces.
The USA Men's National Volleyball Team posted its best Olympic finish in 12 years by taking fourth place at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece, and Barnett proved to be one of the biggest reasons why the Americans exceeded expectations after dismal performances in 1996 and 2000. Barnett overcame two serious knee injuries that kept him out of action for all of 2002 and most of 2003, not to mention a position change, to emerge as one of the most consistent and emotional players on the USA squad. Barnett finished third on the team and 20th overall in scoring at the Olympics with 72 points on 54 kills, 14 blocks and four service aces. He was one of the key players as the USA pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Olympic volleyball history. Team USA, trailing two sets to one in the Olympic quarterfinals against Greece, overcame a 20-12 deficit in the fourth set to tie the match and a 12-9 deficit and one match point in the fifth set to secure the win. In the victory, Barnett led the team in scoring with 20 points on 16 kills and four blocks.
Metzger posted a record of 21-12 in six tournaments on the Association of Volleyball Professional's (AVP) beach volleyball tour while playing with partner Dax Holdren (17-10) and Kevin Wong (4-2). Best finishes include a third with Holdren at the AVP Austin Open and a third with Wong at the AVP Santa Barbara Invitational. Internationally, Metzger teamed with Holdren to post the United States' best finish at the 2004 Olympics Games in men's beach volleyball (tied for fifth) despite being seeded 12th to begin the tournament. Metzger posted a record of 23-25 in 12 total international tournaments, with his best finish a fourth-place showing at the FIVB Carolina Open in Puerto Rico.
Seilkop was one of the key reasons why the USA Men's National Sitting Volleyball Team made history at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. Seilkop, a 6-7 middle blocker, led the United States in scoring (and finished 12th overall) as the team earned its best-ever finish at the Paralympics with a sixth-place. Twenty years ago the USA Men finished seventh overall. Since then, they have finished 10th (1988), 11th (1992), 11th (1996) and 12th (2000). Seilkop scored 50 points on 31 kills, 15 blocks and four service aces as the Americans posted a record of 2-4 overall. Seilkop, a three-time Paralympian, finished third among all players in total blocks (15) and blocks per set (0.71).