This award adds to a series of accolades Jessica Long received. She became the first Paralympic athlete to win the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, presented to the best amateur athlete in the United States. Long has also been honoured as the US Olympic Committee’s 2006 Paralympian of the Year and Swimming World Magazine’s 2006 Disabled Swimmer of the Year.
Even though Jessica Long has just turned 16, she already has an impressive career to showcase: She owns 34 American records, 17 Pan-American records, two Paralympics records and five world records; she has won three gold medals at the ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games and nine gold medals at the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban.
The Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s 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.
For a complete list, please visit www.asama.org. For more information about the United States Sports Academy, please visit the Academy’s website www.ussa.edu.