The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has announced the Olympic and Paralympic coaching finalists for the Best of the Year Team USA awards.
Beginning in 2017, the USOC added the Olympic and Paralympic Coaches of the Year accolades to the Team USA awards programme for Best of the Year and Best of the Games.
One of the three Olympic Coach of the Year finalists is Billy Walsh, who led USA Boxing to one of its most successful seasons this year.
Having being named Coach of the Year by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in 2016, the Irishman has championed the US at six international tournaments, winning 28 medals out of a possible 53.
At the 2017 AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Hamburg, he guided the US to three medals - one silver and two bronzes - the most since 1999.
With only five boxers competing, the US finished fourth in the team standings behind nations featuring nine or more boxers in the tournament.
For his efforts, Walsh was named best coach of the tournament.
On the women’s side, he coached Virginia Fuchs to four international gold medals and a perfect 16-0 record in 2017.
Among the other nominees for the Olympic Coach of the Year prize is Matt Whitcomb, who has led the US women’s cross-country ski team to unprecedented success since assuming his position as head coach in 2012.
This was highlighted by three World Championship medals from three different athletes in 2017 and its third straight fourth-place finish in the 4x5 kilometres event.
Under Whitcomb’s direction, five athletes combined for nine World Cup podium finishes on the 2016-2017 circuit and three athletes advanced to the six-person World Championship sprint final in Lahti in Finland.
Off the snow, he led his team in spearheading an anti-doping petition that was ultimately co-authored by representatives from eight nations and earned more than 100 signatures from cross-country athletes around the world.
The petition helped create a platform for athletes to voice their concerns to the International Olympic Committee and International Ski Federation to protect clean athletes in competition.
Completing the list of Olympic Coach of the Year nominees is Bill Zadick, who in his first year as the national freestyle coach of USA Wrestling led the men’s team to its first senior world team title since 1995.
It marked only the third senior world team crown in programme history.
The final contest of the 2017 World Championships in Paris was dubbed the "Match of the Century" as the US’s Kyle Snyder defeated Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev in the 97 kilograms final, giving the Americans a one-point edge for the title.
Under Zadick’s leadership, the US won six medals in eight weight classes overall.
Additionally, he led the 2017 US junior team to its first world title since 1984.
One of the three Paralympic Coach of the Year finalists is MJ Rogers, coach of the US which won the team title at the 2017 World Archery Para Championships in Beijing.
The team also brought home five individual medals, comprising one gold, two silvers and two bronzes.
In addition to guiding athletes in competition, Rogers travels the country working with US athletes in their local communities and teaching adaptive archery seminars for athletes and coaches throughout the Americas.
He is also described as having been a critical player in generating resources for Para-athletes and was instrumental in working with USA Archery to develop the Adaptive Archery Manual, which has gained international recognition as the premiere resource for Para-archers.
Among the other nominees for the Paralympic Coach of the Year prize is Eileen Carey, who at the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships guided Oksana Masters to four gold medals and one bronze, and helped Andy Soule capture silver and bronze medals.
During the 2016-2017 World Cup season, she led the US Paralympics Nordic skiing team to 33 medals, a record for the programme over the past six seasons.
Additionally, Carey helped the US to 12 World Cup medals in biathlon, marking four times as many as the previous year.
Under her mentorship, Masters won the overall Cross-Country World Cup title for the third time and finished third overall in biathlon.
Carey also guided Dan Cnossen in winning six medals in just eight starts in his return to the World Cup circuit.
Completing the list of Paralympic Coach of the Year nominees is Adam Bleakney, who for more than a decade has leveraged his experience as a Paralympic silver medallist to help produce some of the most dominant athletes in wheelchair racing at the University of Illinois.
His 12 athletes on the US Paralympics track and field team have had a major impact in international competition, combining for 15 medals, including five golds, at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London.
Five of the athletes won multiple medals in London, highlighted by a US sweep in the women’s T54 200 metres and Tatyana McFadden’s four golds that tied for the most successful performance of the event.
The winners of both prizes will be determined by a USOC selection panel of coaching, communications, marketing and sport performance professionals.
They will be recognised during the Best of the Year Awards gala, due to be held on Wednesday (November 29) in Los Angeles.