Kisik Lee named coach of the year at US Olympic and Paralympic Committee awards

USA Archery head coach Kisik Lee was named coach of the year and world champion Ben Thompson chosen as best male Paralympic athlete of 2019 at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s annual awards ceremony.

World number one Brady Ellison and the USA’s world championship-winning recurve men’s open team were also finalists.

“This is the first time in history for an archery coach to be awarded in the top ‘national coach’ category,” said coach Lee.

“I especially thank my team of athletes who are dedicated, hard-working and gave [sic] me such strong trust as their coach.”

This year under Kisik’s leadership has seen Brady Ellison have an historic year, winning the outdoor world championships, rising to number one in the world rankings and setting a new world record. Ellison and Casey Kaufhold also won mixed team gold – qualifying a pair to the next Olympics – at the Pan American Games in Lima.

Thompson won the compound men’s open event at the World Archery Para Championships in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in June.

He received his award just hours after his sister-in-law had lost her long-running battle with cancer.

“My arrow wraps had Megan’s name on them,” he said. “I did it in support – just to show her that if she fought, the family was fighting with her.”

Thompson also finished the season ranked number one in the world.

“It’s nice to be recognised for the hard work; this is a long road, a lot of hard work, and it helps to bring awareness to the para athletes that are just as amazing as the able bodied,” he said. 

“So it’s nice to carry this torch for myself and all the athletes. It also gives my family a positive outlook in a not so fun time.”

The awards were presented at a red carpet ceremony at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Highlights will be televised on NBC on Sunday 22 December.

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