USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for the sport of gymnastics in the United States, announced the Sports Person of the Year and the Coach of the Year for 1996.
For women, Jaycie Phelps from Greenfield, Ind. but now training in Cincinnati, Ohio, won the Sports Person of the Year and her coach, Mary Lee Tracy of Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy won the Coach of the Year. Jaycie took second all-around at the 1996 Coca-Cola National Championships and won the American Classic leading up to the event. She is also a three-time World Championships team member.
For the men, there was a tie between Blaine Wilson and John Roethlisberger for the Sports Person of the Year. Wilson is from Columbus, Ohio, and trains at Ohio State University. Roethlisberger is from Minneapolis, Minn., and trains at the University of Minnesota. Wilson and Roethlisberger took first and second respectively at the 1996 Coca-Cola National Championships. Wilson also took second all-around at the 1995 Atlanta Invitational, a pre-Olympic event in the Georgia Dome. Roethlisberger won his second McDonald’s American Cup title this year in Ft. Worth, Texas. Wilson’s coach Peter Kormann, who is also the 1995 World Championships Team coach and the 1996 Olympic Team coach, won the Men’s Coach of the Year award.
For rhythmic gymnastics, Kelsi Kemper won the Sports Person of the Year award for the rhythmic individual competitors and Kate Nelson won the award for the group competitors. Kemper is from Gig Harbor, Wash. and Nelson is from Arlington Heights, Ill. Lana Lashoff from Rhythmic Gems in Glenview, Ill. won the rhythmic Coach of the Year award.
The awards, voted on by the USA National Team members and coaches in the respective sport, were presented to the rhythmic athletes and coach at the Rhythmic National Championships, May 31-June 2 in Athens, Ga. The men’s and women’s awards were presented at the Coca-Cola National Championships, June 5-8, in Knoxville, Tenn.