May 10, 2009 -- For the first time, a US Dressage Rider has been named by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as the Athlete of the Month.
Steffen Peters was honored for his effort in Las Vegas , NV at the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final. Riding Ravel, for longtime supporter Akiko Yamazaki, Peters made history. The pair earned the best score of their career together in the Freestyle (84.95%) and brought down the house at the Thomas & Mack Arena on April 18.
This was on the heels of a victory in the Grand Prix two days earlier, their best test to date, when they first put Anky van Grunsven of The Netherlands (reigning Olympic Champion and defending World Cup Champion) and Germany's Isabel Werth (reigning Olympic Silver medalist) on notice that the map of the dressage world was shifting.
Only the second World Cup Champion in US history, Peters prevailed in both legs of the hard-fought competition, picking up two Rolex watches and the coveted title in the process.
"We are so proud of what Steffen and Ravel accomplished in Las Vegas." said Gil Merrick Assistant Executive Director of Sport Programs for the United States Equestrian Federation. "It is a huge honor to have one of our athletes recognized as the USOC Athlete of the Month. The most exciting part about Steffen and Ravel is that they continue to improve at every competition. We look forward to what the future holds for this fantastic combination."
Also honored in April were Hockey Player Caitlin Cahow, and the US Women's National Hockey Team. Monthly, a male, female and team are awarded these honors by the USOC.