THE AWARD PROCESS
When we first launched our new Athletes in Excellence Award program in June, we were so pleased to share this award with our community. With this new program, we planned to spotlight outstanding athletes and recognize their work in community outreach. By awarding the recipients a grant of $10,000, we knew that even more positive change would come as the athletes were able to pursue their passions.
The nominations began arriving, and we heard from organizations and individuals all over the world who were also eager to recognize athletes for achievements on and off the field. We enjoyed learning more about all of the nominees and seeing the wonderful effects of their work.
It quickly became evident the selection of finalists would be a difficult task indeed, as so many of the nominees are deserving of recognition. For the Athletes in Excellence Award, we chose 18 individuals whose exceptional work we are excited to share with all of you. Please join us in congratulating our inaugural group of award recipients.
2014 ATHLETES IN EXCELLENCE AWARD RECIPIENTS
Jeb Brovsky, Professional soccer player and founder of the Peace Pandemic Corp., which helps provide equipment for young soccer players in impoverished countries. Nominated by Benoit Labonte of Jebi Knights.
Candace Cable, Paralympian, advocate for people with disabilities, public speaker, former program director. Nominated by the U.S. Olympian and Paralympian Association.
Hannah Davis, Olympian, volunteer and student mentor. Nominated by David Foureur of Australian Canoeing.
Joe Delagrave, Paralympian, USOC athlete ambassador, participant on the USOC Paralympic Advisory Council, and mentor to new spinal cord injury patients. Nominated by April Delagrave
Tracy Evans, Olympian and founder of Kids Play International which uses sport as a catalyst to promote gender equality in communities impacted by genocide. Nominated by the U.S. Olympian and Paralympian Association.
Rafer Johnson, Olympian and founder of the California Special Olympics who is involved with multiple community outreach and humanitarian projects. Nominated by Anita DeFrantz.
Peter Karlsson, Olympian and Peace and Sport Program ambassador who is involved with the implementation of youth based table tennis programming in high-conflict areas including Columbia, East Timor, Burundi, and the Congo. Nominated by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Lao Khang, Member of Lao Women’s National Rugby Team, youth mentor and coach who leads rugby activities in rural, remote, and underserved communities. Nominated by Megan Knight.
Angela Madsen, Paralympian, Ready, Set, Gold volunteer and founder of California Adaptive Rowing Program which provides instruction and training in the sport of rowing to physically and intellectually challenged individuals. Nominated by the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) Ready, Set, Gold Program administration.
Steve Mesler, Olympian and co-founder of Classroom Champions, a youth mentoring program that connects top performing athletes with students in high-need schools. Nominated by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP).
Kieran Modra, Paralympian and mentor of visually impaired youth living in Australia. Nominated by Sylvia Modra.
Zahra Nemati, Paralympian and humanitarian who advocates for equality and often speaks publicly on the issue to groups, including the UN. Nominated by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Tony Sanneh, Major league soccer player and founder of The Sanneh Foundation which uses soccer as a catalyst to empower kids, improve lives and unite communities. Nominated by the USOC’s Athlete Advisory Commission.
Dallen Stanford, Professional rugby player, rugby coach, program manager for the youth nonprofit organization, Play Rugby USA, and ambassador for the Tackling Cancer Foundation. Nominated by Erin Sullivan.
Robert Susanj, Curler, member of the European Curling Federation and director of the Police Administration Specialty who is involved with multiple community service efforts. Nominated by the World Curling Federation (WCF).
Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympian, member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Classroom Champions volunteer, KidSport volunteer, and ambassador to impoverished African countries where she visits schools and communities to mentor youth. Nominated by Dale Ross, Principal at Shaunavon Public School.