The U.S. Olympic Committee has recognized siblings Dane and Emily Jackson (Rock Island, Tenn.) for their performances in June. Dane was named the USOC Male Athlete of the Month, while Emily finished second in the voting for Female Athlete of the Month. The two combined to win five medals at the 2011 Freestyle World Championships in Plattling, Germany, June 20-26.
Dane Jackson grabbed four of the eight medals won by Team USA at the Freestyle World Championships. The 17-year-old won gold in men's junior kayak, men's kayak squirt and men's canoe, followed by a bronze in men's open canoe. Jackson's three gold medals at a single Freestyle World Championships surpass the previous record of two. For his efforts, the German hosts presented Jackson the Bavarian Sportsman award at the closing ceremony.
"I feel awesome about my performance at Worlds,” Dane said. “I wasn't expecting as much success, but I had a lot of fun and glad it worked out so well. Winning the USOC Athlete of the Month award is a huge honor."
Emily Jackson won the silver medal in Women’s kayak at the World Championships, after taking gold at the last World Championships in 2009. She finished runner-up in the Athlete of the Month voting to youth basketball player Mercedes Russell. The men’s tennis doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan was awarded Team of the Month honors.
“Worlds was a great example of many paddlers’ skills and, although I never felt like I fully got to show mine, the general level of female paddling was great to be a part of and I will always remember that,” Emily said.
The two paddlers represent both Team USA and the first family of freestyle kayaking, the Jacksons. Their father, Eric Jackson, is a 1992 Olympian and four-time World Champion kayaker. He now runs kayak retailer Jackson Kayak.
"Dane was gracious in his World Championships victories and represented his sport, country and family with honor and dignity,” said USA Canoe/Kayak Chief Executive Officer Joe Jacobi. “There is not a more deserving athlete of this recognition by the United States Olympic Committee and we will continue to foster Freestyle Kayaking’s association with the Olympic Movement.”
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. A voting panel selects the winners from the pool of nominees, with online fan voting via Twitter accounts for 10 percent of the total vote. Click HERE for the USOC press release.
USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org and on Facebook and Twitter.