2015 Athletes in Excellence Award Winners
November 20, 2015
With this being the second year of our Athletes in Excellence Award Program, we have been eager to see who would be nominated and to share their stories with our community. Last year our inaugural group of 18 award recipients had collectively made such a positive impact on the world and in sport, we felt certain this year’s group would be equally commendable.
This summer we began calling for nominations for the 2015 Athletes in Excellence Award, which honors competing and retired athletes in the United States and abroad who have been role models, leaders, and champions in sport and in their communities. Selected athletes receive an unrestricted grant in the amount of $10,000 to further their service and career goals.
Just as we hoped, we began hearing from groups and individuals who were also excited to share the inspiring stories of perseverance, courage, and dedication.
Please join us in congratulating our group of 2015 Athletes in Excellence Award winners, and stay tuned to hear each recipient’s story!
Reynaldo Brown, Track and Field Olympian – Reynaldo has spent decades of his life volunteering with various organizations as a mentor and volunteer coach to young people all across southern California. Nominated by GSD staff members.
Victoria Burke, Rower – Victoria volunteers as a mentor with Girls RowLA, teaching the program participants about nutrition, college recruitment, rowing skills and more. She is currently training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Nominated by Liz Greenberger.
Anne Warner Cribbs, Swimming Olympian – After winning the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, Anne went on to become a powerhouse in fostering the developing of positive sport in California and elsewhere. Nominated by The United States Olympians and Paralympians Association.
Sam Effah, Track and Field – A Rio 2016 hopeful, Sam volunteers as a mentor with Classroom Champions and as an Ambassador for Right to Play. Nominated by Giddeon Massie of Classroom Champions.
Santi Freixa, Field Hockey Olympian – Santi’s passion for field hockey is evident in his impressive career as well as his founding of “Stick for India,” an organization which brings field hockey to underserved youth in Anantapur, India. Nominated by the International Hockey Federation.
Lex Gillette, Track and Field Paralympian – Despite actively competing, Lex takes time from his busy training schedule to mentor youth in person and over video through Classroom Champions. Nominated by Jennifer Regruth of Margaret R. Brown Elementary School and Steve Mesler of Classroom Champions.
Sarah Hanffou, Table Tennis Olympian – Sarah’s long career with table tennis took a humanitarian shift in 2006 when she created the non-profit organization, “Ping sans Frontieres,” which seeks to develop table tennis in Africa. Nominated by the International Table Tennis Federation.
Angie Malone, Wheelchair Curling Paralympian – Angie has dedicated much of her career to introducing others to wheelchair curling and adaptive sport. She volunteers with Braehead Wheelchair Curling Club, serves as a “School Champion,” and is a patron with Ayrshire Sportsability. Nominated by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and the World Curling Federation.
Charly Neme Montoya, Wheelchair Rugby – Charly serves as a unique role model to youth in Colombia. In addition to working to include people with impairments in the world of sport, Charly mentors youth and shares his experiences as a past gang member to encourage young people to be drug free and to find positive conflict management resolution methods. He is currently training for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Nominated by the International Paralympic Committee.
Katy Sullivan, Track and Field Paralympian – Katy is a powerful role model for young people with impairments. As an athlete and prominent member of the Paralympic movement, she is a consistent advocate for inclusive sport. Nominated by Ready, Set, Gold!
Darrell Thompson, Retired Football Player – Darrell has dedicated over two decades to positive youth development. Starting as a mentor with Bolder Options, a youth development organization, Darrell transformed this organization into a pillar for youth in the Twin Cities area. Nominated by Tony Sanneh.
Tzipi Zipper, Wheelchair Curling – Tzipi sustained injuries while working as a security officer, and her injuries have led her to begin using a wheelchair. After she found wheelchair curling, Tzipi quickly became an advocate for people with impairments. She works tirelessly to raise awareness for programs and accessibility around the world. Nominated by Israeli Curling and the World Curling Federation.