President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, including Harding native Stephanie Jallen, at the White House on Thursday afternoon.
The president will congratulate the Olympians and Paralympians on their performances and thank them for representing the United States during the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Jallen and other Olympians will already be in Washington for the 2014 Best of U.S. Awards on Wednesday at the Warner Theater.
Jallen is a finalist in two categories for the Best of U.S. Awards: Best Female Paralympian and Best Paralympic Moment. She is one of only three Paralympians or Olympians who are nominated in two categories.
She’ll be competing for the awards against skiers Oksana Masters, Tatyana McFadden and Laurie Stephens for the best female. For the Best Moment, Jallen’s toughest competition will be the U.S. men’s sledge hockey team.
Jallen, 18, had an outstanding Paralympic Winter Games debut, earning a bronze medal in the women’s super-G standing event. Her excitement was contagious at the finish, as she and teammates rejoiced in the moment.
She finished the games with a pair of bronze medals and has been riding the high ever since. March 22 was officially named Stephanie Jallen Day in the Wyoming Area School District and in corresponding boroughs.
For the Sochi Games, winners were selected in each of the following categories: Best Male/Female Olympian, Best Male/Female Paralympian, Team of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, Moment of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, Team Behind the Team Award and Fan of the Games Award.
Fan voting on the Paralympic began March 16 on the U.S. Paralympics Facebook page. A nominating committee, composed of USOC, athlete and media representatives, selected the finalists for the individual athlete and team categories, as well as the Moment of the Games, based on nominations from each national governing body.
Nominated for the Olympic Awards are some of the biggest names in their sports. Snowboarder Jamie Anderson, who won gold in the debut of women’s slope style, along with Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin are finalists for the Best Female of the Olympics.
The U.S. men’s ice hockey team had a disappointing Olympics. But that didn’t take the spotlight away from St. Louis Blues’ winger T.J. Oshie. Oshie captivated America and was trending worldwide on Twitter after he scored on four-of-six shootout attempts – including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth round – to lift the U.S. to a stirring 3-2 victory over host Russia in one of the most anticipated events of the Olympic Winter Games. He is a finalist for the Best Moment.
Bode Miller, who became the oldest alpine skiing medalist, is also a finalist.
The awards show begins on Wednesday evening with a red-carpet arrival for athletes. The show, hosted by NBC’s Willie Geist, along with Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, will air on NBC Sports Network on Monday, April 7.