COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Olympic Committee today named skeleton athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace and skier Jeremy Bloom as its February Athletes of the Month. The USOC Team of the Month honor was awarded to the U.S. American Cup Gymnastics Team.

Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) capped an unforgettable season with a bronze medal at the final World Cup race of the year, clinching the World Cup overall title. She’s the first American woman ever to earn that accolade. Pikus-Pace ended the skeleton season with a silver medal at the World Championships in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Bloom (Loveland, Colo.) reached the podium in all five events he participated in during February, extending his podium streak to seven.  He captured the gold Feb. 5 as U.S. skiers took four of the top six places in a freestyle World Cup at Inawashiro, Japan. He won his fourth straight World Cup event as he defeated teammate Travis Cabral in a dual moguls competition Feb. 6 in Inawashiro.  He earned his fifth consecutive win with his moguls victory in Naeba, Japan Feb. 11.  Bloom tied a record with his sixth consecutive moguls win Feb. 18 in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy – on the moguls course of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.  His winning streak came to an end Feb. 26 in Voss, Norway, where he finished second.
Competing in the first-ever gymnastics World Cup event on U.S. soil, the young American squad led all nations with 10 medals, including a meet-best four gold, at the 2005 American Cup. Alicia Sacramone (Winchester, Mass.) and Chellsie Memmel (West Allis, Wis.) earned gold on vault and uneven bars, respectively, Nastia Liukin (Plano, Texas) tied for gold on the balance beam, and Alexander Artemev (Lakewood, Colo.) won gold on the pommel horse to lead the U.S. effort against a field that included more than 20 Olympic and World champions among the 80-person field.
Second place for the women went to wrestler Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Downing won two major international tournaments in February, claiming a gold medal at the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs, as well as a gold medal at the Gilbert Schaub Open in Tourcoing, France. At the Dave Schultz Memorial, Downing opened with a 1-0, 2-0 victory over Teresa Mendez of Spain. In the semifinals, she pinned Ashley McManus of Canada in 29 seconds. In the gold-medal finals, she stopped U.S. wrestler Heather Martin, 4-1, 1-1, for the title. Downing rolled through her three opponents at the Gilbert Schaub Open, not allowing a point before defeating Benita Zarzecka of Poland, 3-1, 7-2, in the gold-medal bout.

Speedskater Hyo-Jung Kim (Colorado Springs, Colo.) placed third in the women’s vote. The 16-year-old Kim earned the overall title at the U.S. National Short Track Championships, Feb. 24-27 in Milwaukee, Wis. She won every race (heats through finals) over four days of competition in the nine-lap time trial, four-lap time trial, 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m. Earlier in the month, Kim finished seventh overall in her first season on the World Cup circuit.
Second place for the men’s ballot went to short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno (Seattle, Wash.). Ohno concluded the 2004-2005 World Cup Series as the overall winner. After six grueling events, he finished with an impressive score of 200 points. At the U.S. National Short Track Championships, Ohno won his seventh national title, winning every race in every distance.
Long track speedskater Shani Davis (Chicago, Ill.) finished third in the vote. Davis won the overall title at the World Allround Championships, Feb. 9-11 in Moscow, Russia, grabbing a gold in the 1500m and a silver medal in the 500m along the way.
The U.S. Women’s Bobsled Team took second place in the team vote. The duo of Jean Racine (Waterford, Mich.) and Vonetta Flowers (Birmingham, Ala.) claimed the bronze at the final World Cup race of the year in Lake Placid, N.Y. Jill Bakken (Park City, Utah) and Bethany Hart (North Grafton, Mass.) finished fifth, Shauna Rohbock (Orem, Utah) and Valerie Fleming (Foster City, Calif.) placed sixth, and Sara Sprung (Leadville, Colo.) and Amanda Moreley (Auburn, Wash.) were eighth at the event. At the World Championships in Calgary, the team of Rohbock and Fleming broke the start and track records on their way to winning the bronze. Racine and Flowers finished fifth and the team of Bakken and Moreley tied for sixth. 
Finishing in third on the ballot were figure skaters Tanith Belbin (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) and Ben Agosto (Chicago, Ill.). Belbin and Agosto won the ice dancing competition at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. They skated to a personal best final score of 219.29, more than 35 points better than the second-place team, on their way to their second consecutive Four Continents victory.
Results (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace 31 (8)
2. Katie Downing 26 (4)
3. Hyo-Jung Kim 22 (4)
Also receiving first place votes:  Julia Mancuso (Skiing) and Cassie Johnson (Curling) 
1. Jeremy Bloom 34 (7)
2. Apolo Anton Ohno 25 (3)
3. Shani Davis 17 (2)
Also receiving first place votes: Jack Skille (Ice Hockey), Patrick Harris (Field Hockey), Eric Bernotas (Skeleton) and Pete Fenson (Curling)
1. U.S. American Cup Gymnastics Team 35 (8)
2. U.S. Women’s Bobsled Team 28 (5)
3. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, Figure Skating 27 (3)
Also receiving first place votes: Cassie Johnson rink (Curling)