On Wednesday, it announced that 2014 Winter Paralympics American Tatyana McFadden, Russia’s Roman Petushkov and Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber, alongside 2012 Summer Paralympians British Sarah Storey, Hong Kong’s Yuk Wing Leung and Canada’s Shelly Gauthier have been shortlisted for 2015 Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.
Gauthier was nominated because in the past five years, she has won all the tricycle T1 UCI para-cycling world titles each year. She was the first woman to compete internationally tricycle T1 events, with her career starting in 2009. While becoming partially paralyzed on her right side in 2001 in a mountain bike accident, she was back on a bike again soon after that and starting competing as an amateur in 2007. Currently living on Pine Island in Ontario, she rides from around from St. James City to Bokeelia as part of her 2016 Summer Paralympics qualifying campaign training that includes the Para Panamerican Games being hosted by Toronto later this year.
Nordic skier and wheelchair racer McFadden was nominated because of her wins at the Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon, London Marathon and New York Marathon. On Facebook, McFadden said, “I’m so honored to be nominated!” Following the home hosted IPC Nordic World Championships, McFadden spent time training at the newly opened National Training Center for Wheelchair Track. Earlier this year, she was also renamed as a member of the USA national track and field team that will be competing at the 2015 Para Panamerican Games in Toronto. In November 2014, she was named the USOC Athlete of the Month.
Petushkov was nominated because he was the first athlete ever to win six gold medals at a single Winter Paralympics.
Schaffelhuber was nominated because she won all five gold medals available in the alpine events at the 2014 Winter Paralympics. In December, Schaffelhuber was named the Disabled Sportswoman of the Year at a ceremony at the German Sports and Olympic Museum in Cologne. This week, she also claimed first in the overall IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in women’s standing.
Storey was nominated after winning four world titles only a year after giving birth to her daughter. On Twitter, she said of her nomination, “Thank you everyone for your lovely messages about my
@LaureusSport nomination,was great to finish my last big ride in Lanza & read them all!” Storey is the United Kingdom’s most decorated Paralympian. Earlier this week, she was officially named to the British team competing at the CI Para-cycling Track World Championships in March in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
Yuk Wing Leung was nominated after amassing four gold medals at the 2014 Boccia World Championships and 2014 Asian Para Games. He is currently ranked third in the world in the BC4 individual event going into the 2016 Summer Paralympic qualification cycle. He is expected to repeat his performance later this year at the Asia & Oceania Boccia Teams / Pairs Championships in June in Hong Kong. He has had a long and stories career in the sport, including winning double gold at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.