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TURIN, Italy - Joey Cheek, Lindsey Kildow and the members of the American snowboarding team were selected Monday as the winners of the U.S. Olympic Spirit award.
The winners were picked by American fans, fellow Team USA athletes, U.S. alumni Olympians and members of the media for best representing the Olympic Spirit during the 2006 Winter Games.
Cheek won in the men’s category after winning a gold and silver in speedskating. More impressively, Cheek donated his $40,000 in performance earnings to Right to Play. His generosity inspired others to contribute thousands of dollars to the organization. As result, he was elected by his peers to carry the American flag during the closing ceremony.
Kildow is the first woman to win the individual U.S. Olympic Spirit Award while not winning an Olympic medal. Despite being hospitalized after a spectacular training run accident on the second day of downhill practice, Kildow returned to the slopes to compete the next day, finishing eighth.
Still struggling with her injuries, she competed in four of her five events. The snowboarding team won its honor after picking up seven Olympic medals. The winners will be honored at a U.S. Olympic team celebration dinner on May 16 in Washington D.C. DHL sponsored the award.