Rudy Project-sponsored athlete Sheila Taormina received the United States Sports Academy’s Jim Thorpe All-Around Award recently at the El Pomar Foundation’s Penrose House in Colorado Springs. Taormina is the winner of the 2006 U.S. Open title in the modern pentathlon and, if she qualifies for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she would be the first American to compete at the Olympics in three different sports. |

A native of Livonia, Mich., she recorded another milestone in her amazing athletic career when she won the U.S. Open Championship, finishing ahead of the 2004 Olympic silver medalist Elena Rublevska of Latvia and 2006 World Cup rankings leader Viktoriya Tereshchuk of the Ukraine. Taormina began competing in the pentathlon in June 2005, and one year later, has solidified herself as the top female pentathlete in the United States. She has demonstrated a career of outstanding athletic achievement that includes a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in swimming’s 4x200-meter relay.|

The versatile athlete competed in the 2000 (sixth) and 2004 Olympic Games (23rd) in the triathlon. She also won the 2004 World Triathlon championship. Taormina won her first pentathlon competition at the highly competitive 2005 Pan American Championships. “Sheila Taormina is one of the most outstanding athletes in the world,” says USSA President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, “and we are proud to honor her and her sport with this award.” |

— Jackie Micucci