COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced the recipients of six annual awards, which will be presented during a virtual inspirational evening as part of the 2020 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Assembly on Thursday, Oct. 8. The awards presentation will feature Ahmed Fareed of NBC Sports as host with special presentations from Team USA athletes and coaches.
In the year of its 40th anniversary, the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team was chosen as the recipient of the Olympic & Paralympic Torch Award, while two-time Olympic gold medalist Maya Moore will be recognized with the Jack Kelly Fair Play Award for her selfless act to defer her athletic career to pursue criminal justice reform. Dr. Tekemia Dorsey was named the recipient of the individual Rings of Gold Award for her work to enhance inclusion with the International Association of Black Triathletes, while the George Pocock Rowing Foundation’s Erg Ed program will be honored as the Rings of Gold program recipient for growing classroom-based rowing education across the U.S.
The annual awards also include recognition of two National Governing Bodies for work in diversity, equity and inclusion. USA Basketball is the recipient of the Advancing DEI Award based on growth of its DEI initiatives in the 2018-2019 timeframe. USA Volleyball is the winner of the DEI Choice Award, which is voted by peer NGBs and High Performance Management Organizations.
The Olympic & Paralympic Torch Award annually recognizes an individual or group for their positive impact on the Olympic and Paralympic movements. The 1980 U.S. Olympic Team was denied the opportunity to represent the United States with the decision to boycott the Olympic Games Moscow 1980. Some athletes were able to dedicate another four or eight years to their athletic pursuits, while others were not. Athletes from 1980 team went on to become philanthropists, doctors, service members, scientists, public servants and community leaders, while others went on to inspire the next generation as teachers, coaches and volunteers. Collectively, the USOPC recognizes their sacrifice and their legacy, which is further celebrated through an TeamUSA.org online archive and as a permanent tribute at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Jack Kelly Fair Play Award annually recognizes an athlete, team, coach or official for an outstanding act of fair play and sportsmanship. Moore – a 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion in basketball – made the selfless decision in 2019, to step away from the court as a member of both Team USA and the Minnesota Lynx to focus on criminal justice reform and advocate for a wrongly convicted man, Jonathan Irons – who was released in July. The couple was recently married and together, they continue the pursuit of justice, reform and education on the critical role that elected prosecutors play in our justice system through their organization, Win With Justice.
The Rings of Gold Awards recognize an individual and a program dedicated to helping children develop their Olympic or Paralympic dreams and reach their highest personal potential. In 2014, Dr. Dorsey founded the International Association of Black Triathletes to provide advancement for urban youth, and the communities they represent, by positioning triathlon as a gateway to reduce academic and health disparities and to increase opportunities for collegiate studies, internships and economic development. She has introduced hundreds of youth to the sport of triathlon through IABT, while also elevating educational and career opportunities. An author, advocate, and USA Triathlon board member and certified coach, Dr. Dorsey continues to impact youth through additional programming provided through IABT Multisport Racing and the Sports Academy for Urban Youth – both of which she also founded to expand opportunities for urban youth.
The George Pocock Rowing Foundation’s Erg Ed program started in 2010 as a component of the physical education curriculum at Seattle Public Schools. USRowing partnered with the Pocock Foundation in 2015 to help expand the program nationwide – with the curriculum now in 14 middle and high schools across the country. Erg Ed provides equipment, technology, curriculum and training that allows students access to indoor rowing, emphasizing not only rowing skills, but also teamwork and goal setting. Reaching over 25,000 students annually, the program continues to expand and increase the sport’s visibility and introduce the sport to youth across the country.
The Advancing DEI Award recognizes the NGB or HPMO with the highest annual growth percentage of underrepresented individuals based on diversity data for women, and racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, USA Basketball saw an 11.1% increase in its total diversity score in 2018-19. Percentage increases were evaluated based on overall NGB numbers, which includes board members, employees, membership, and national team athletes and coaches. This included a 16.8% increase in women and 5.4% increase in minorities. Highlighting its diversity growth was an 11.1% increase in women national team coaches and staff, and a 12.8% increase in minority national team coaches and staff.
The DEI Choice Award recognizes an NGB or HPMO for best practices in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, as determined by a vote of NGB and HPMO peers. USA Volleyball was voted the winner for its 2019 grant of $400,000 – the largest single grant ever provided by the NGB – to six Historically Black Colleges and Universities to use to launch Division I and II men’s volleyball programs. Through the grant, USA Volleyball is looking to improve its representation specifically among Black males in the sport. The grant focuses on improving participation at the collegiate level through opportunities to earn scholarships and increased visibility. It also aims to encourage youth to pursue the sport at the grassroots and club level, ultimately creating more pathways to its high performance and national team programs. In addition to funding, USA Volleyball is also assisting with recruiting efforts and the hiring of coaches for these new programs, which will debut in 2022.
2020 Assembly Award Winners
Olympic & Paralympic Torch Award: 1980 U.S. Olympic Team
Jack Kelly Fair Play Award: Maya Moore
Rings of Gold – Individual: Dr. Tekemia Dorsey
Rings of Gold – Program: George Pocock Rowing Foundation’s Erg Ed
Advancing DEI Award: USA Basketball
DEI Choice Award: USA Volleyball
Visit TeamUSA.org to view an archive of past winners in each category.
About the Assembly
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Assembly was initiated in 2005 to give a voice to the various member organizations of the USOPC; to keep dialogue open between athletes, staff, leadership and members; and to help further the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. The three-day event convenes more than 250 participants, representing U.S. Olympians and Paralympians; National Governing Bodies; the Paralympic Advisory Council, Collegiate Advisory Council, Multi-Sport Organizations; and USOPC board members, trustees and staff.