INDIANAPOLIS (September 6, 2022) – To mark the end of the 2022 domestic seasons for acrobatic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling, individuals from each discipline were recognized with annual awards. Most honors were bestowed at the conclusion of the USA Gymnastics Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, in late June and the OOFOS U.S. Gymnastics Championships last month in Tampa, Fla. Every discipline named Athletes, Coaches and Sportspeople of the Year. Star Service and memorial award recipients were also announced.
A complete accounting of 2022 award winners is listed by discipline below.
Braden McDougall and Angel Felix
© Team Photo
- Athletes and Sportspeople of the Year: Reigning national and World champions in men’s pair Angel Felix (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Braiden McDougall (Riverside, Calif.) from Realis Gymnastics Academy were named 2022 Athletes of the Year for acrobatic gymnastics. The pair pocketed World titles in the combined and dynamic exercises and a bronze medal in balance in March and added another gold medal to their burgeoning collections at the Maia World Cup in May. Felix and McDougall were also selected as the 2022 Sportspeople of the Year for acrobatic gymnastics. The designation is bestowed annually to the athletes that best embody the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement through their performances throughout the season.
- Coaches of the Year: Vladimir Vladev of Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio was awarded Coach of the Year for the 2021 season, and Youri Vorobiev of Realis Gymnastics Academy collected the honor for 2022. Due to the timing of last year’s Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships, Vladev did not receive the award in 2021, as he was traveling in support of athletes Emily Davis (San Antonio, Texas) and Aubrey Rosilier (Austin, Texas) who captured the silver medal in women’s pair. Vorobiev coached Felix and McDougall and the women’s pair of Katie Borcherding (Beaumont, Calif.) and Cierra McKown (Riverside, Calif.) to a combined four World Championships medals in 2022.
- Star Service Award: Leslie Douglas was presented the Star Service Award for acrobatic gymnastics in honor of her outstanding dedication to volunteer service. Douglas is an experienced judge and meet director who consistently goes above and beyond to support the acro community and has also provided assistance across disciplines in support of the larger gymnastics community.
- Janet VonBargen Award: Acrobatic international FIG Brevet judge Ronda Francis received the Janet VonBargen Award for her exceptional dedication to volunteer service within the Acrobatic Gymnastics Program. In addition to her work as a competitive coach, administrator and meet director, Francis is one of the most accomplished judges in the sport. The award is named for long-time judge and acro community member Janet VonBargen who passed away in 2006.
- Glenn Sundby (International Track) Award: The trio of Mariam Tutberidze (Owings Mills, Md.), Grace Vonder Haar (Laurel, Md.) and Kayla Vonder Haar (Laurel, Md.) from Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer received the Glenn Sundby Award, which is reserved for the pair or group that gives an outstanding overall performance at the USA Gymnastics Championships. The triad swept the women’s group competition in Des Moines, earning national titles in the balance, dynamic and combined exercises. The award is named after Glenn Sundby, the co-founder and Vice President of USA Gymnastics, formerly known as the U.S. Gymnastics Federation, who passed away in 2009.
Brody Malone with Li Li Leung
© John Cheng
- Athlete and Sportsperson of the Year: Brody Malone (Aragon, Ga./Stanford University) was named both Athlete and Sportsperson of the Year. The 2020 Olympian and 2021 World bronze medalist on horizontal bar secured Athlete of the Year as the 2022 U.S. men’s all-around champion and was voted Sportsperson of the Year by his fellow competitors at this year’s OOFOS U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
- Coaches of the Year: Thom Glielmi of Stanford University and Levon Karakhanyan of Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy were chosen by their fellow coaches as the senior and junior Coach of the Year, respectively. Glielmi has coached the Stanford men’s team since 2003, collecting five NCAA team National Championships, including this year’s title, in that time. Karakhanyan has more than 20 years of coaching experience and currently trains first-year senior Fred Richard (Stoughton, Mass./Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy), who captured five gold medals at the 2022 Junior Pan American Championships in Brazil in July. Earlier in the year, Richard notched five titles at the 2022 Men’s Development Program National Championships.
- Frank J. Cumiskey Service Award: Eight-time Pennsylvania Men’s Coach of the Year Joe Stallone of Stallone Gymnastics received the Cumiskey Service Award. Over the course of his career, Stallone has coached 29 athletes to the U.S. Men’s Development Program National Team, previously known as the Junior Olympic National Team, including seven Development Program all-around national champions. He has also served as a member of the Men’s Junior National Coaching Staff and the Men’s Development Program Committee. The award is named after three-time Olympian and USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame member Frank Cumiskey.
- Dusty Ritter Visionary Award: The inaugural Dusty Ritter Visionary Award was presented to its namesake, longtime Men’s Development Program Coordinator Dusty Ritter. Ritter has dedicated more than 55 years to advancing men’s gymnastics in the U.S., serving in numerous leadership roles with the Men’s Age Group and Junior National Team programs.
Lili Mizuno and Evita Griskenas
© Team Photo
- Athletes of the Year: Olympians Evita Griskenas (Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) and Lili Mizuno (Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) were both awarded the title Athlete of the Year. Each has claimed numerous top-10 finishes on the international stage in 2022, including bronze-medal performances on ribbon and ball, respectively, at the Portimao World Challenge Cup in May.
- Coach of the Year: Natalia Klimouk of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center in Illinois was selected Coach of the Year by the elite coaches who were in attendance at this year’s USA Gymnastics Championships.
- Sportsperson of the Year: Serena Lu (Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora by Matchpoint) was named Sportsperson of the Year for rhythmic gymnastics in her first season as an active competitor since she stepped away from the sport in 2017. The 2022 hoop and ball bronze medalist also serves as an athlete representative to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Advisory Council on behalf of athletes across all gymnastics disciplines and represents rhythmic gymnasts as a member of USAG’s elected Athletes’ Council.
- Star Service Award: Anna Loescher was presented the 2022 Star Service Award for her dedication to the rhythmic program. Loescher is a valued volunteer who is always ready to lend a hand at domestic events and as part of international delegations in service and support of athletes and coaches within the rhythmic community. She currently serves on USA Gymnastics’ Programs Council.
Shelby Nobuhara, Kaden Brown and Nicole Ahsinger
© Team Photo
- Athletes of the Year: Olympian Nicole Ahsinger (Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express) and 2021 World medalists Kaden Brown (Herriman, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling) and Shelby Nobuhara (Mapleton, Utah/High Altitude) were named Athletes of the Year for trampoline, tumbling and double mini, respectively. Ahsinger equaled the best Olympic showing by a U.S. trampolinist in the event’s history, finishing sixth at the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games in the summer of 2021. Brown picked up his second individual World bronze medal in men’s tumbling at the World Championships in November, while Nobuhara scored World individual silver and team gold in women’s double mini trampoline. Athletes of the Year were determined based on points accumulated at domestic and international events throughout the 2021-22 season.
- Coach of the Year: Nuno Merino of Merino Trampoline Gymnastics Academy was named Coach of the Year. The designation is awarded based on points accumulated throughout the year by the athletes trained by each coach in the last two seasons. During that time, Merino most notably coached 2021-22 National Team members Maia Amano (Honolulu, Hawaii), Paul Bretscher (Knoxville, Tenn.), Cody Gesuelli (Middletown, N.J.), Sydney Senter (Kailua, Hawaii) and Trinity Van Natta (Marysville, Ohio).
- Sportsperson of the Year: In addition to Athlete of the Year honors, Nobuhara was named the 2022 Sportsperson of the Year. This award is peer-driven and was voted on by senior and intermediate elite trampoline and tumbling athletes.
- Star Service Award: Bob Hallwig received the Star Service Award in honor of his continued volunteer support and dedication to the trampoline and tumbling program. Hallwig has maintained a FIG Brevet judge designation for 13 years in three separate disciplines and currently serves on the National Senior Judges Council. He has been a Leader Level Judge, a Level 1 Coaches Course instructor and a certified Jump Start tester. Hallwig also held the position of Region 6 Chair for 16 years.
Jade Carey with Alicia Sacramone Quinn
© John Cheng
- Athlete of the Year: Jade Carey (Phoenix, Ariz./Oregon State University), the reigning Olympic gold-medalist on floor exercise, was named Athlete of the Year following a strong collegiate gymnastics season and subsequent return to the elite ranks for the 2022 OOFOS U.S. Gymnastics Championships. The honor was voted on by coaches and athletes in attendance at this year’s national championships.
- Coach of the Year: Marnie Futch of Metroplex Gymnastics and Jess Graba of Midwest Gymnastics Center shared the Coach of the Year title. Graba has been training athletes for more than 20 years and, most notably, coached 2020 Olympic all-around champion Sunisa Lee (St. Paul, Minn./Auburn University). Futch is the head coach at Metroplex where multiple 2022 Junior National Team members and elite-level gymnasts train, including 2021 Junior Pan American Championships and Junior Pan American Games all-around champion Katelyn Jong (Allen, Texas).
- Sportsperson of the Year: Addison Fatta (Wrightsville, Pa./Prestige Gymnastics) was chosen by her fellow competitors as Sportsperson of the Year. Fatta has earned a reputation as a hardworking and kind leader who listens to and supports her many peers within the sport.
- Star Service Award: Cheryl Hamilton received the Star Service Award in recognition of her more-than-25 years of service to the women’s program. Hamilton has chaired both the Regional and National Technical Committees and, as a FIG Brevet-rated judge, has judged at the sport’s highest level, including at last summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.