Caldwell, Lillis, Schoenefeld Honored as 2022 Olympic Team of the Year at Governor’s State of Sport Awards
Park City, UTAH (April 13, 2023) - Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld were honored as the 2022 Olympic Team of the Year by the annual Governor’s State of Sport Awards held Thursday evening. Caldwell, Lillis and Schoenefeld are the 2022 Olympic champions in Mixed Team Aerials, which made its Olympic debut at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Beijing.
“I’m incredibly honored to be recognized by the Governor's office and the state of Utah as part of the Olympic Team of the Year,” said Caldwell. “Utah is one of the most successful states in winter sports and it is incredible to be named among such incredible athletes. Utah is dedicated to outdoor recreation at the highest level, and I would never have been as successful without Utah’s passion for sport!”
At the event, the focus was on more than just the award winners. In the middle of the program, the most decorated American winter Olympian, Apolo Ohno; 29-time Paralympic medalist, Jessica Long; and three-time Olympic champion, Shaun White hosted a panel to talk about mental health in sport. The three olympians shared their own personal experiences and addressed the stigma that is associated with mental health in athletes.
Mixed Team Aerials has three athletes per nation, with at least one per gender, competing for combined scores to determine the podium. Team USA won the event, outscoring China for the gold medal. Lillis’ quintuple twisting triple backflip set an Olympic record for highest score ever given in aerial skiing at the Games.
Since 2012, the Governor’s State of Sport Awards has honored Utah’s finest athletes, teams, coaches, events and sport icons. Although not native to Utah, Caldwell, Lillils and Schoenefeld call the state home. The deep tradition of winter sport and Olympism in Utah have provided the backdrop for their success on the world stage. Training venues such as the USANA Center of Excellence and the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool at Utah Olympic Park were crucial in the trio’s quest to Olympic glory. Opportunities to compete on an Olympic course at Deer Valley each winter season also provided invaluable experience at the World Cup and World Championship level.
“This is a great honor for Ashley, Justin and I to share,” said Lillis. “We love training in our home of Park City, Utah, and are grateful for the community for providing us with the opportunity to live our Olympic dream.”
“I am deeply honored to receive the Utah Olympic Team of the Year award,” said Schoenefeld. “This recognition means a lot to me, and I am grateful for the three of us to be considered for the award. Utah has played a crucial role in my skiing career, as it claims some of the best training facilities in the world. The world class facilities I use for training provided the perfect environment for me to develop into the freestyle skier I am today. It is an honor to represent Utah and the United States as a professional skier, and I look forward to continuing to compete at the highest level in freestyle aerial skiing.”
“The annual Governor’s State of Sport Awards is a long-standing tradition we are proud to be part of,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “I was fortunate enough to witness Ashley, Chris and Justin’s historic gold medal in person. Those three are incredible athletes and friends, and it was a beautiful display of athleticism and teamwork. There is so much that goes on and builds up before those very few minutes on snow. Utah’s established tradition of supporting athletes at all levels allows us to go and represent the U.S. in great fashion on the world stage. We are appreciative of this community and its continued commitment to our athletes.”
The freestyle team was included among a list of storied winners, including Paralympic alpine skier Matthew Brewer as Adaptive Athlete of the Year and the University of Utah ski team as Team of the Year. For a full list of 2022 honorees, please visit utahsportscommission.com.