Last updated: April 02. 2014 11:35PM - 2778 Views
By - nwagner@civitasmedia.com

Stephanie Jallen was a big target for reporters on the red carpet prior to the 2014 Best of US Olympics and Paralympics Awards ceremony at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Jallen was a big target for reporters on the red carpet prior to the 2014 Best of US Olympics and Paralympics Awards ceremony at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.
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WASHINGTON — Some say good things tend to come in threes — three strikes, three’s a charm. But in Stephanie Jallen’s case, her favorite number just might be two.

After winning a pair of bronze medals at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Jallen continued to have the spotlight turned her way at the 2014 Best of US Awards show Wednesday evening at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.

The Harding native and Wyoming Area senior won two awards — the Female Paralympian of the Winter Games, and her very first Paralympic run for a bronze medal was named the Best Moment of the Paralymics.

“I think everything comes in twos for me,” Jallen said after the event. “Just being here is incredible. Being here with all my teammates and all the Olympic athletes — we all know what it takes to get here.”

Jallen was a star on the red carpet before the event. And with just the second award of the night for the Best Female of the Paralympic Winter Games, her success was continued right into the Warner Theatre ballroom.

Her first award was presented to her by former Olympic champion Michelle Kwan.

“You can just feel the energy in the room and this experience is incredible,” Stephanie said. “Just to be nominated is breathtaking. It was hard to hold my composure up there.”

Jallen’s award for the Best Moment of the Paralympics came in her very first race as a Paralympian in Sochi. It was the Super-G standing event.

Stephanie finished with a time of 1:30.14, placing behind two French competitors and beating out fellow American Allison Jones by about a half-second. Her joy filled the Rosa Kotur Alpine Center in Sochi, as tears filled her eyes when the cameras panned to her. She was a Paralympic champion.

“To know that individual people voted for me online means a lot,” she said. “It’s very humbling. So many people watched and enjoyed it. I want to thank them personally.”

The Best of US awards nominated athletes through Facebook, and then voted on the finalists, also through Facebook.

The support Jallen has been getting throughout the past three months has been overwhelming, she said. From the local television stations to March 22 - Stephanie Jallen Day.

After the event, Stephanie’s mom, Deb, was holding her phone as it was, as the kids say, “Blowing up.” Those texts and tweets were from the people she cares about most.

“I know they are just as thrilled as I am,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. I keep getting warm welcomes. There are some great people in our small town, and I love them all to death.”

More than 200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes attended the first awards show of its kind. Presenters included San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Olympic champions Kwan and Jennie Finch. There were six total categories presented Wednesday night.

The Male Olympian of the Winter Games was Sage Kotsenberg. Kotsenberg won gold in snowboarding slopestyle. Erin Hamlin, a luge bronze medalist, took the Female Olympian Athlete of the Winter Games. The Best Team of the Winter Olympics was Merle Davis and Charlie White, who took home a figure-skating gold.

The Best Paralympic Team of the Winter Games was the sled hockey team, which earned a gold medal with wins over Russia and Canada. Mark Banthum was the Male Paralympian of the Winter games.

Jallen, along with many of her Olympic athletes, will take a trip to the White House this afternoon to meed President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

The United States won 18 medals at the Paralympics and finished third overall in the medal count. The 2014 Best of US awards show can be seen at 8 p.m. Monday on NBC Sports Network.

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