Shiffrin & Schumacher Tie For Beck International Athlete Of The Year

"The Beck International Trophy is the highest athlete honor from U.S. Ski & Snowboard, recognizing the top athletes in international competition for the year. It’s also the organization’s oldest, dating back to 1931. The 68 recipients over nearly a century represent a remarkable cross-section of the greatest U.S. Olympic ski and snowboard champions of all time. For only the second time in history, two athletes tied for the penultimate honor - Mikaela Shiffrin, whose World Cup tally is now at 66, and cross country junior world champion Gus Schumacher." - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Press Release

It is an amazing achievement to win the highest honor given by any governing body or association. It's more amazing that there could be two athletes that stand out above their peers in a single season to win that award. Not only did that happen this year, but the recipients are from opposite ends of the ski discipline spectrum.

Almost not a surprise to anyone, Alpine superstar and slalom specialist Mikaela Shiffrin received the Beck International Trophy for the fourth time after what some would consider a rough season for the young champion. During the 2019/2020 season, Shiffrin took a large chunk of time for herself and her family after the passing of her father. Even though she took the time off, her point lead kept her on top almost until the end. Though set to finish out the season, the COVID-19 outbreak ended racing just before her return race.

All told, she took six World Cup victories this past season and thirteen podiums. She also captured the Alpine Athlete of the Year award for the fifth time. 

“Wow. I am SO humbled,” said Shiffrin. “It’s an incredible honor to share the award with three-time World Junior Champion cross country skier Gus Schumacher. It’s super impressive to see a junior athlete receive this prestigious award, and I’m looking forward to following Gus’ success throughout his career with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. I’d also want to thank my team and teammates, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, and the ski community as a whole for your outpouring of love and support through what has been an unimaginable time in my life. Your words and thoughts lifted me up when I needed it most.” - Mikaela Shiffrin

The 19-year-old Junior Champion, Gus Schumacher, has made history with his winning of the Beck International Trophy. He is the first junior skier to win the award since cross-country skier Bill Koch won in 1975. Schumacher also took the first individual gold by an American junior in the 10k classic. He also anchored the U.S.A. men to a second straight relay gold medal finish and a third straight medal performance in the team event.

“Wow, I didn’t know how big it was until I realized Mikaela was the other recipient. After that call, I realized it was a super big deal. It was cool because she’s just a regular person - she was so nice and seemed genuinely interested in my skiing. I’m honored to be sharing the Beck Award with her.” - Gus Schumacher

Congratulations to both of these athletes. One, a current superstar who is already being hailed as one of the best competitive skiers to have raced. The other, the future of American cross-country competition with an entire career in front of him and the opportunity to really show what he is made of. Here is to continued success for them both.

Photo: Left - Gus Schumacher - Right - Mikaela Shiffrin -- Credit: U.S. Ski & Snowboard


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