Czisny named U.S. Olympic Athlete of the Month

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The U.S. Olympic Committee has named Bowling Green State University figure skater Alissa Czisny the October Athlete of the Month. It’s the first time she has received the honor.

Also recognized, as the male Athlete of the Month, was speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Czisny, a sophomore majoring in international studies at BGSU, won a gold medal in October with her stunning performance at 2005 Skate Canada.

“Czisny proved she was meant to skate at the event after being added to the competition roster as an eleventh-hour replacement with only four days notice,” noted the U.S. Olympic Committee in announcing her selection Nov. 10. “Just a week prior, Czisny took silver and skated personal best scores at the 2005 Smart Ones Skate America. With her finishes, Czisny is guaranteed a spot at the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo, Japan.”

The Grand Prix finals, which take place Dec. 16-18 in Tokyo, will showcase the top-place winners from six Grand Prix events competing for the grand prize.

Before the Skate Canada champion goes to Tokyo, fans will be able to see her compete on television at the Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating Challenge on Dec. 11 in Boston. Also scheduled to skate in the event are U.S. champion Michelle Kwan, two-time World silver medalist Sasha Cohen and 2005 World Junior bronze medalist Emily Hughes.

According to the U.S. Figure Skating Web site, the live ABC broadcast will start with each skater performing one exhibition. Viewers will be able to call a 1-900 number to vote for their favorite performance. The two women receiving the most call-in votes will then skate a second exhibition program on live TV, resulting, again, in a final call-in vote.

Like Olympic gold medalist and Bowling Green native Scott Hamilton, Czisny grew up at the BGSU Ice Arena. Coached in her early years by Lona Leck, assistant director of the University’s arena, she has often appeared in local ice club shows with her twin sister, Amber. Czisny now trains with Julie Berlin and Theresa McKendry in Canton, Mich.

Three women will be chosen for the Olympic figure skating team following the U.S. national championships on Jan. 7-15. Czisny hopes to be one of them.

(Posted November 14, 2005 )