Sir Philip Craven has positively impacted the culture of sport in a major way: he has expanded the opportunities for athletes with disabilities, bringing these committed individuals and teams to the forefront of competition. Dr. Steven Ungerleider, founding board member of GSD, states, “Sir Philip turned the Paralympic Games into a major and healthy competitive forum within the Olympic movement. He epitomizes all that is good about sport, courage, conviction, perseverance, and overcoming challenge.”
Sir Philip’s love of sport and determination emerged early in his career. As a teenager, while recovering from a broken back, he saw an opportunity to continue his athleticism in wheelchair basketball. Through hard work and the refusal to give up, Sir Philip went on to represent Britain in five Paralympic Games.
With a long history of championing for equality and fair play in sport, Sir Philip has served as a leader on and off the court, ceaselessly advocating for athletes with disabilities. In 1988, Sir Philip was elected Chairperson of Wheelchair Basketball Section of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation. When this group became the independent International Wheelchair Basketball Federation in 1993, he was elected their first president, holding that office until 1998. Several years later, in 2001, Sir Philip was elected President of the Paralympic Committee, an important leadership role he holds to this day.
Sir Philip Craven was honored with an awards ceremony and reception at The Globe Theatre on Saturday July 28th. Sir Philip’s close family and friends attended the event, as did many influential members of the Olympic movement. The ceremony began with moving words from GSD’s Executive Board Members, Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich, followed by a touching speech from former Olympian and current IOC member, Anita DeFrantz. The ceremony concluded with Sir Philip’s acceptance of the award, including a GSD grant, in which he passionately expressed his plans to utilize the grant in furthering his mission of improving the opportunities for disabled athletes around the world.