Winter athletes dominate the contenders for the Best of December awards ©USOC

Winter athletes across the sports of figure skating and luge swept the three categories at the United States Olympic Committee's (USOC) Best of December Awards.

Individual figure skater Nathan Chen and luger Erin Hamlin received the respective male and female prizes while ice dancing duo Maia and Alex Shibutani received the team honour.

Chen claimed a silver medal in his Grand Prix Series debut at last month's final in Marseille to become the first male American to earn a podium finish at the event since since Olympic champion Evan Lysacek won gold in 2009.

The 17-year-old recorded the highest-scoring free skate of the event, a career-best 197.55, which also marked the highest international free skate score ever posted by a US man.

His performance also featured the highest-scoring element of the event - a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combination worth 19.90 points,

Hamlin received the female prize after winning two International Luge Federation World Cup gold medals in Park City. 

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani claimed a first medal at ISU Grand Prix Finals level ©Getty Images
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani claimed a first medal at ISU Grand Prix Finals level ©Getty Images

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic bronze medallist won the two-run singles race before triumphing again in the sprint event.

It put her in third place in the overall World Cup standings.

The Shibutani siblings were also recognised for their Grand Prix Finals success after they claimed a bronze medal in the French coastal city, with a tally of 189.60.

Their short dance, set to That’s Life by Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z, earned the second-highest score of the event at a personal best mark of 77.97.

Each National Governing Body nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline in the awards ceremony.

An internal group selects five nominees from both the male and female categories, and three from the team category to advance to the voting round. 

Voting is then undertaken by national governing body and media representatives in conjunction by online fan voting.