U.S. Olympic Committee honors Paralympic leaders with 2013 Amazing Awards

By U.S. Paralympics | April 24, 2013, 10 a.m. (ET)
Muffy Davis
Muffy Davis, who made appearances at the Paralympic Winter Games before transitioning to cycling for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, will be awarded the 2013 Paralympic Amazing Mentor award by the United States Olympic Committee.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ― The United States Olympic Committee announced today the seven recipients of the Paralympic Amazing Awards, which will be awarded April 26-28 at the USOC Paralympic Leadership Conference presented by Deloitte in Colorado Springs, Colo. Created in conjunction with the inaugural Paralympic Leadership Conference in 2008, the Amazing Awards honor those who have made a significant impact on the Paralympic Movement in the United States.

“Developing a ‘Gateway to Gold’ requires innovation, excellence and results,” said USOC Chief of Paralympics Charlie Huebner. “The 2013 winners of our Paralympic Amazing Awards are delivering in the areas of grassroots development, elite high performance, sponsorship and philanthropy and telling the Paralympic story. Their success is making a significant impact on the delivery of high quality programming to persons with physical disabilities throughout the United States.”

The 2013 Amazing Award recipients: USA Hockey, Amazing Leader Award; North Jersey Navigators – Paralympic Sport Club New Jersey, Amazing Sport Club Award; Dave and Gail Liniger, RE/MAX, Amazing Investor Award; BP America, Amazing Impact Award; Muffy Davis, U.S. Paralympian, Amazing Mentor Award; and USO, Amazing Salute Award.

The Paralympic Leadership Conference brings together more than 300 community, government and military leaders to help advance the Paralympic Movement across the country. Over the course of the three-day conference, participants will engage with a variety of speakers including three U.S. hopefuls for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and award recipient Dave Liniger, RE/MAX co-founder and chairman, a long-time Paralympic supporter who spent most of 2012 recovering from a life-threatening infection that has limited his mobility.

Participants will also collaborate in breakout sessions on a variety of topics including athlete classification, creating a high performance pipeline and expanding sport opportunities for athletes with disabilities at NCAA member institutions. London 2012 Paralympic medalists Kelley Crowley (cycling)  and Jason Regier (wheelchair rugby) will also present on high performance topics from an athlete’s perspective.

Amazing Leader Award

The Amazing Leader Award recognizes an individual or organization whose leadership in the Paralympic Movement has been transformative and who has mobilized and unified athletes, programs and organizations that improve the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities.

USA Hockey is the recipient of the 2013 Amazing Leader Award. As the National Governing Body for both able-bodied and sled hockey, the discipline contested at the Paralympic Winter Games, USA Hockey is a model for building a grassroots program that feeds into a successful high performance pipeline. In addition to programs including an equipment lending program and the Sled Hockey Grant Program, which helps ease the initial financial burden of a new sled hockey program by providing five new sleds to a participating program, USA Hockey has implemented player development camps that can identify athletes for the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.

“We’re honored to be recognized by U.S. Paralympics with the Amazing Leader Award. We're an inclusive organization that works extremely hard to support both able-bodied and disabled athletes and this award is really a reflection of the thousands of volunteers across the country that champion those efforts.” – Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey

Recipients: USA Hockey (2013); Pamela Redding (2012); Kelly Behlmann, Disabled Athlete Sports Association – Paralympic Sport Club St. Louis (2011); Annie Desalernos, City of Sacramento Access Leisure – Paralympic Sport Club Sacramento; Ann Cody, BlazeSports America, and Dave Poulin, Challenge Alaska – Paralympic Sport Club Alaska (2009); and Kevin Jardine, Challenge Aspen – Paralympic Sport Club Aspen (2008) 

Amazing Sport Club Award

The Amazing Sport Club Award is designed to recognize a Paralympic Sport Club that has made amazing contributions to the Paralympic Movement.  The Amazing Sport Club is amazing through innovation, amazing through impact and amazing through daily promotion of the Paralympic ideas.

North Jersey Navigators – Paralympic Sport Club New Jersey is the recipient of the 2013 Amazing Sport Club Award. Based in Bayonne, N.J., North Jersey Navigators provides local opportunities in archery, swimming, table tennis and track and field with the goal of getting all athletes to the level needed to compete at the National Junior Disability Championships (NJDC) and/or the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Junior World Championships (IWAS). Last year, the North Jersey Navigators helped 19-year-old Raymond Martin, a wheelchair racer, make the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team. He won a gold medal in each of the four events he competed in at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, earning the distinction of the 2012 USOC Paralympic SportsMan of the Year.

“It’s a great honor for the North Jersey Navigators to receive the 2013 Amazing Sport Club Award.  While pushing the limits of our junior athletes and having them be the best they can be are important to us, we also have other priorities for them, including the importance of education, gaining confidence and independence. As a volunteer-based organization it’s always a challenge to secure the funding required to support our adaptive sports programs. However, the sacrifices, hard work and dedication we have put into making our program a great success hasn’t gone unnoticed.  2012 was a great year for us and our accomplishments are a direct result of our volunteer staff’s outstanding teamwork, commitment and desire to promote the Paralympic Movement and to take our athletes to the next level of competition.” – Jimmy Cuevas, head coach of North Jersey Navigators

Recipients: North Jersey Navigators – Paralympic Sport Club New Jersey (2013); Bridge II Sports – Paralympic Sport Club Durham (2012); Champions Made From Adversity – Paralympic Sport Club Augusta (2011); Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation – Paralympic Sport Club Tampa Bay (2010); City of Las Vegas and Clark County School District – Paralympic Sport Club Las Vegas (2009); and Lakeshore Foundation – Paralympic Sport Club Birmingham (2008)

Amazing Investor Award

The recipient of the Amazing Investor Award is a person or organization that has been instrumental in the creation of resources in support of the Paralympic Movement.

Longtime supporters of the Paralympic Movement, specifically initiatives for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans, Dave and Gail Liniger are the recipients of the Amazing Investor Award. The Linigers, co-founders of RE/MAX, are as well known for their advancement of the real estate market as their philanthropic efforts on behalf of non-profit organizations. On Tuesday, Dave released his book My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of Healing and Hope, a timeless story of challenge and resolve that chronicles his road to recovery from a life-threatening infection last year that still affects his mobility. He will donate his portion of the proceeds to three organizations including U.S. Paralympics.

"We are absolutely delighted to receive this award from the United States Olympic Committee. It is an honor to help world-class athletes display their talent and tremendous courage, and we're truly grateful to everyone who has helped make this effort such an overwhelming success. We have always believed in working hard to be the best you can possibly be, and U.S. Paralympics is a prime example of that attitude in action." – Dave Liniger, co-founder and chairman of RE/MAX

Recipients: Dave and Gail Liniger, RE/MAX (2013); George Puskar, Paralympic Advisory Committee, and Kevin D. White, trustee, United States Olympic Foundation (2012); The Honorable Jim Langevin and The Honorable Dave Reichert, U.S. House of Representatives (2011); Department of Defense (2010); The Hartford (2009); and SkiTAM, cable television industry event (2008)

Amazing Impact Award

The Amazing Impact Award recognizes a person or organization that tells the Paralympic story in an amazing manner – creating awareness and motivating people to action through words, pictures, promotions or film.

USOC sponsor BP America will receive the Amazing Impact Award. In 2012, BP America initiated work with the Paralympic Sport Club network, a group of organizations across the country that provide Paralympic sports programming in their communities. As a part of the effort, BP has provided several clubs with high-tech sports equipment that enables the advancement of programming as well as financial support for Paralympic Experiences, which are one-day clinics that expose individuals with physical and visual impairments to sports. BP and club leadership have also collaborated to create opportunities that enable BP jobbers to become a significant part of their local Paralympic sports community. In the New York/New Jersey market, BP notably created a fundraising campaign for local Paralympic Sport Clubs. Local BP stations sold Paralympic Sport Club window clings for $1 with the proceeds going directly into local Paralympic sport programming.

“BP is honored to see its continuing support of Team USA and the Paraylmpic Movement recognized through this award. From elite athletes to participants at the local Paralympic Sport Clubs, these individuals personify BP’s values, most notably excellence, courage, and one team.  We are extremely proud of the joint commitment shown by BP and our branded marketers to support athletes, the USOC, and the Paralympic Movement.  BP has and will continue to support the USOC’s efforts to build Paralympic programming at a local level and beyond.” - Doug Sparkman, president of BP’s East of Rockies Fuels Value Chain

Recipients: BP America (2013); Deloitte (2012); The Hartford, “Achieve Without Limits” campaign (2011); Procter & Gamble (2010); Visa (2009); and Nike (2008)

Amazing Mentor Award

Mentors are trusted counselors and guides; they’re here to help others accomplish their dreams. The Amazing Mentor Award recognizes a Paralympic mentor – someone who has served as a role model and shared their own experiences to motivate, inspire and promote excellence in sport and in life.

Three-time London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medalist Muffy Davis is the recipient of the Amazing Mentor Award. A 1998 and 2002 Paralympic Winter Games medalist in alpine skiing before transitioning to the sport of cycling, Davis has never allowed her physical disability to limit her ability. Davis, who was injured in a skiing accident while on the junior circuit, travels the world to tell her story of adversity and triumph. The Stanford University graduate has brought awareness of the Paralympic Movement to Fortune 500 companies as well as adaptive athletes, young and old. Davis is also a member U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

"I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Paralympic Amazing Mentor Award.  I have been so blessed throughout my Paralympic experiences to have had amazing mentors and support, so it’s truly an honor to be able to give back and support other athletes within the Movement. Considering the truly fantastic and empowering athletes who have received this award, I am simply humbled.  The United States of America has the best athletes in the world; it is an honor to be a part of our amazing team. Thank you to the United States Olympic Committee for this recognition." – Muffy Davis, three-time U.S. Paralympian

Recipients: Muffy Davis, U.S. Paralympian (2013); Anjali Forber-Pratt, U.S. Paralympian (2012); Gabe Diaz de Leon, U.S. Paralympian (2011); Chris Devlin-Young, U.S. Paralympian (2010); Melissa Stockwell, U.S. Paralympian (2009); and April Holmes, U.S. Paralympian (2008)

Amazing Salute Award

The Amazing Salute Award is for an individual or organization that has made amazing contributions to injured military personnel.  The Paralympic Movement returns to its roots by recognizing those who are providing amazing services to injured members of our Armed Forces through the promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

For their dedication to America’s forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and families of the fallen since World War II, the USO will receive the Amazing Salute Award. Since 2010, the USO has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the USOC to support the Warrior Games presented by Deloitte. The USO has proudly supported the athletes who compete with their visible and invisible wounds in seven competitive sport events held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Additionally, USO Warrior and Family Care helps present other sports programming for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans including Ride 2 Recovery and Rivers of Recovery.

“It’s an honor for the USO to receive the Amazing Salute Award in recognition of our continuous support of wounded, ill and injured troops and their families through programs and services like the Warrior Games. Being selected for this award by the U.S. Olympic Committee, one of the pioneer organizations to recognize the importance of active and healthy living during recovery is an even greater honor.  The USO accepts the Amazing Salute Award on behalf of all of the troops and families who count on us for support during their recovery process and we make the promise today, as we do every day, that we will always be by their side both on and off the battlefield.” – John I. Pray, Jr., executive vice president, chief of staff of the USO

Recipients: USO (2013); VA Palo Alto Health Care System (2012); Janis Rosnowski, Operation Comfort (2011); Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (2010); Disabled Sports USA, Wounded Warrior Project (2009); and Brooke Army Medical Center (2008)

For more information, please contact Jamie Blanchard, U.S. Paralympics, at 719-866-2068 or jamie.blanchard@usoc.org