COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Two-time U.S. Paralympian April Holmes (Somerdale, N.J.) has been nominated for "World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability" for the 2009 Laureus World Sports Awards.
Holmes earned her nomination after becoming the world's fastest female amputee by winning the gold in the 100m at the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games in Beijing.
"I was shocked, surprised and honored all in one," said Holmes about being nominated. "To be recognized for this prestigious award with such great athletes who have accomplished so much in their lives is a privilege."
In 2002, just one year after she lost her left leg below the knee in a train accident, Holmes began to run again. Prior to her accident, Holmes was an All-American sprinter at Norfolk State University. In her first year back on the track, she broke the American record in the 200m dash (T44) at the IPC Athletics World Championships.
Since then, Holmes has become the world record holder in her class (T44) in the 100m, 200m and 400m races.
Holmes is the only U.S. Paralympian to be nominated this year. Other nominees are swimmer Daniel Dais (Brazil), cyclist Darren Kenny (UK), shooter Jonas Jacob (Sweden), swimmer Teresa Perales (Spain) and wheelchair racer Zhang Lixin (China).
In the nine years of the award's existence, a U.S. Paralympian has never taken home the Laureus statuette.
"We're very proud of everything April has accomplished," said Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics, USOC. "Not just her performance in Beijing, but also her dedication to serving the Paralympic community with the April Holmes Foundation. She has put in a tremendous amount of hard work to be the athlete and role model she is today and is very deserving of this honor."
Holmes founded the April Holmes Foundation, non-profit organization for people with physical disabilities in 2002. The foundation aims to encourage people with physical disabilities to rise above any obstacles to reach their full potential.
The candidates were nominated by a specialist panel consisting of experienced representatives in the field of Paralympic sport and the Paralympic movement including members of the International Paralympic Committee. The nominations were submitted to the Laureus Academy which will select the winner.
The Laureus World Sports Award is the premier global sports award honoring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. While the 2008 awards were presented in St. Petersburg, Russia in a grand ceremony, the 2009 awards will be awarded in a series of presentations throughout May and June due to the world economic crisis.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Evanitsky, U.S. Paralympics at (719)866-2053 or Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.