Beach Volleyballers Kira Walkenhorst & Laura Ludwig, along with China’s Zhu Ting, have all been nominated for the 2016 Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award.
The German pair Walkenhorst and Ludwig combined to win gold on the beach in Rio in August, which included a (21-18, 21-14) gold medal sweep over the Brazilian duo of Ágatha and Bárbara, despite facing a raucous home crowd.
The Germans only dropped a single set across 7 matches, including none in the 4 knockout rounds. That made them the first non_american pair to win the women’s beach volleyball tournament at the Olympics since 2000.
Also nominated for the award is China’s Zhu Ting, who led her team to Olympic gold in Rio over Sebira in 4 sets. Despite the team just sneaking out of group play, the Chinese rolled their way through the bracket including a 3-2 victory over the home team from Brazil – despite facing a crowd of 9,500 in the Maracanãzinho that was the biggest of the tournament and mostly pro-Brazil.
In the process, Ting led the tournament with 179 kills and an unreal 42.27% spike efficiency rating. Nobody else in the tournament was higher than 32% in that category.
A third volleyballer, Heather Erickson of the USA sitting volleyball team, has yet to get her crack at Rio. She’s only 23, but is already a two-time Paralympic silver medalist, and she led her team to a Pan American Games gold medal last year.
Team sport finalists:
- Kira Walkenhorst & Laura Ludwig, Germany, Beach Volleyball
- Zhu Ting, China, Volleyball
- Heather Erickson, USA, Sitting Volleyball
- Valerie Arioto, USA, Softball
- Helen Glover & Heather Stanning, Great Britain, Rowing
- Ashleigh Johnson, USA, Water Polo
- Hilary Knight, USA, Hockey
- Carli Lloyd, USA, Soccer
- Alexandra Danson, Great Britain, Field Hockey
- Maya Moore, USA, Basketball
Individual sport nominees:
- Simone Biles, USA, Gymnastics
- Kayla Harrison, USA, Judo
- Gwen Jorgensen, USA, Triathlon
- Lydia Ko, New Zealand, Golf
- Katie Ledecky, USA, Swimming
- Tatyana McFadden, USA, Paralympic Track & Field
- Claressa Shields, USA, Boxing
- Elaine Thompson, Jamaica, Track & Field
- Serena Williams, USA, Tennis
- Helen Maroulis, USA, Wrestling
Another aquatic athlete was nominated for the team award as well. Team USA water polo goalie Ashleigh Johnson, who minded net en route to the Americans’ second-straight gold medal.
Team USA gave up only 32 goals in 6 games in the tournament: fewer than any other country in the tournament.
Finalists were selected based on athletic performances between August 1, 2015 and August 21st, 2016. The public vote gets 50% of the selection with the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Awards Committee getting the other 50% of the selection. The winner will be announced and honored on October 19th.