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The new year has barely begun, according to Archery 360, and yet our TV screens have already been saturated with major awards ceremonies and competitions for 2015: the People's Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, the Grammy Awards, NFL playoffs, college football playoffs and the Miss Universe pageant, to name a few. But most important for archery fans: World Archery's Athlete of the Year Awards.
This year, the United States clinched two of the coveted spots, which were determined thanks to fan voting (50% of the vote) and the voting of a judge panel (the remaining 50%). In their respective categories, Ellison and Jones were the only American entrants. The compound men's category, won by France's PJ Deloche, had two American entrants: Bridger Deaton and Jesse Broadwater. The women's recurve category was won Mexico's Aida Roman, and there were no American nominees in this category.
Archery 360 shared these stats about Team USA's Ellison and Jones:
Brady Ellison is most famous for his 2012 Summer Olympics silver-medal win alongside Team USA teammates Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie. He also holds the record for the longest continuous period as World Archery's No. 1-ranked men's recurve archer. Most recently, Ellison won the Archery World Cup Final in Switzerland, making him the first recurve archer in history to win the World Cup Final three times.
He currently ranks sixth among male recurve archers in the World Archery world rankings. Is Ellison an Olympic hopeful for #Rio2016? The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Archery will begin later this year.
Why He's Awesome: Ellison is a strong supporter of breast-cancer research and has shot a pink recurve bow to raise awareness for cancer patients. He describes himself on twitter as "just a country boy who loves to shoot his bow." He shot his first bow at seven years old. "Real men wear pink" and shoot archery, of course.
Erika Jones is currently ranked second among female compound archers in the World Archery world rankings. She reached the podium for each stage of the 2014 Archery World Cup, and took silver in Compound Women Individual and gold in Compound Mixed Team of the World Cup Final. In 2013, Jones earned four World Cup silvers and individual and mixed team gold at the World Games in Colombia. She won the 2013 Longines Prize, an award for most perfect 10s shot in a World Cup event. World Archery named her the 2013 Female Athlete of the Year.
Why She's Awesome: Jones has established 164 national records and 28 world records. She shot a 595 in December to break one of the longest standing world records at the World Indoor Championships. Whose title did she strip? Teammate and friend Christie Colin. The two celebrated with a hug.
All of the winners - as well as the Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year and Photograph of the Year - were announced Feb. 6 at the World Archery Gala, a highlight of the National Field Archery Association's Vegas Shoot in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read more about the ceremony here.
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