Canadian Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc has been named the winner of the 2010 United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award.
The Quebec native has been a dominant figure in wheelchair racing, having won five gold medals in each of the last two Paralympics - Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. Petitclerc won races covering distances from 100m to 1,500m. During the Beijing Paralympics, she set three world records and four Paralympic records. During her career Petitclerc has collected 21 Paralympic medals, including fourteen golds.
In 2008, The Canadian Press voted Petitclerc its Female Athlete of the Year, the first time a Paralympian received the honour. Other previous awards include being named Canadian Personality of the Year by the Canadian news magazine MacLean’s in 2004, and the 2005 Laureus Sport Award as the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. In 2009, Chantal was also awarded the Paralympic Sport Award - Best Female.
The Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award is presented annually to an athlete with a disability, past or present, who in the face of adversity displays courage, desire and athletic ability to achieve goals in the competitive arena. The award has been presented annually since 1990 as part of the United States Sports Academy Awards of Sport Medallion series, which pays “Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” Previous recipients include Jim McLaren, Andy Leonard, Linda Mastandrea, Marlon Shirley, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Lilo Ljubisic and IPC President Sir Philip Craven.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, please visit the official website at www.ussa.edu.