US Awards for Skating Coaches

Jun 12, 2006Updated 3 weeks ago

U.S. Olympic and Pan American sports organizations selected their 2005 National, Developmental and Volunteer Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. USOC annual coaching awards nominees include speed skating and figure skating coaches. Winners in each category will be announced at the June 23, 2006, Night of Champions event at the U.S. Olympic Assembly in La Jolla, California.

The Developmental Coach of the Year finalists are, among others, Tammy Gambill of Redlands, California, for U.S. Figure Skating, and Jimmy Jang of Marquette, Michigan, for U.S. Speedskating. Finalists for the title of Volunteer Coach of the Year include Cindi Hart of Indianapolis, Indiana, for U.S. Speedskating, and other worthy coaches.

Jimmy Jang has been an integral component to a successful US speedskating team. He is said to have the ability to transform his speedskaters from average national level skaters into Olympic athletes. Jang is the head coach of the United States Olympic Education Center Short Track Speedskating Program. Two of his athletes, Anthony Lobello and Kimberly Derrick, made the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team. Jang was named as an assistant coach to the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team and also served as the 2005 World Junior Team Coach and the 2005-06 World Cup Team Coach. He had four skaters represented on the World Cup Team and three on the Junior World Team. Tammy Gambill coaches several up-and-coming talents, including: Dennis Phan, 2004 Junior Grand Prix Final champion; Sandra Rucker, 2005 U.S. junior ladies champion; 2006 U.S. novice men's sixth-place finisher Richard Dornbush; 2006 U.S. novice ladies fifth-place finisher Victoria Rackohn; 2006 U.S. intermediate ladies bronze medalist Ellie Kawamura; 2006 U.S. junior men's fourth-place finisher Daisuke Murakami; and Austin Kanallakan, 2005 U.S. novice men's champion. In 2005, Gambill coached three skaters -- junior ladies champion Sandy Rucker, novice men's champion Austin Kanallakan, and juvenile girls champion Julie Kim -- to their US titles. She is currently chair of the U.S. Figure Skating Coaches Committee, a member of the Professional Skaters Association's Board of Directors, and past member of U.S. Figure Skating's Board of Directors. She is a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Athlete Development Committee and Sports Sciences and Medicine Committee.

Cindi Hart is the IndySpeed Sport Club speedskating head coach and runs the speedskating program including for the Special Olympics -- for the entire state of Indiana. In 2005, Hart coached two members of IndySpeed to second place finishes in the national championships. As speedskating head coach for the Special Olympics, Hart took Team USA to the World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan and coached the team to a best ever performance. 26 of the 27 athletes won medals, despite Hart being diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2004. She wrote speedskating training programs and training manuals for the Special Olympics and used cycling as a summer conditioning program for five athletes who medalled nationally, including two national champions and multiple state champions.

Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson of Boston were the co-recipients of this year's USFS & PSA Developmental Coach of the Year award. Mitchell and Johanssons students included U.S. junior men's champion Stephen Carriere, U.S. senior men's fifth place finisher Scott Smith, U.S. junior ladies fifth place finisher Juliana Cannarozzo, U.S. novice ladies bronze medalist Brittney Rizo, 2006 U.S. intermediate men's champion Ross Miner and U.S. novice men's bronze medalist Curran Oi.

Other awards bestowed in the skating community this year include USFS & PSA 2006 Coach of the Year to Kimmie Meissners coach, Pam Gregory. Kat Arbour won the Sports Science Coaching Award. The Paul McGrath Choreographer of the Year award went to Tom Dickson, who choreographed Matt Savoie's programs in his successful 2006 Olympic season.

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