The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the shortlist for the Best Male Athlete of March based on performances at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Nominees include Evan Strong, Declan Farmer, Roman Petushkov, Brian McKeever, and Markus Salcher.
In lieu of its traditional Athlete of the Month poll, the IPC split the poll into three separate categories for March: Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, and Best Team. There will be a one-week voting period on the IPC website for each category, beginning with Best Male Athlete. The public can vote until noon Central European Time (CEST)/6 a.m. EDT on April 9.
Strong led an American sweep of the podium in the debut of the men’s Paralympic snowboard cross competition, becoming the first man to win Paralympic gold in the sport.
Just ten days before his 18th birthday, Strong was struck by a drunk driver while riding a motorcycle, which led to the partial amputation of his left leg.
Farmer was crucial to the USA’s gold-medal success in Sochi, playing more than 87 minutes on the ice while scoring three goals and recording two assists in the tournament. The 16-year-old forward helped the USA defeat top-seeded Canada in the semi-finals, scoring twice in a five-minute period early in the game.
Farmer has a congenital limb deficiency in both of his legs that resulted in the amputation of one leg below the knee and the other leg above the knee.
As the biggest individual medal winner at Sochi 2014, 36-year-old Petushkov racked up an incredible six golds on his home snow in biathlon and cross-country skiing. In biathlon, he won the men’s 7.5km, 12.5km, and 15km sitting distances, and in cross-country skiing he struck gold in the men’s 1km sprint and 15km sitting events, as well as the 4×2.5km open relay.
In 2006, Petushkov was involved in an automobile accident, which resulted in the amputation of both of his legs.
McKeever made history in Sochi, becoming the first Canadian Winter Paralympian to win 10 gold medals in a career. The visually impaired skier won all three of his individual events in Sochi, including the men’s 1km sprint, 10km, and 20km distances. In the 1km sprint, he overcame a fall at the start of race to dramatically come back and win gold.
Salcher, who has hemiplegia, won his rivalry with compatriot Matthias Lanzinger at Sochi 2014, outright winning the men’s downhill and super-G standing events. He also finished with a bronze medal in the giant slalom standing.
Nominations were compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees and International Federations.