The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has announced the recipients of six awards, which were presented at a celebratory dinner during the 2015 US Olympic and Paralympic Assembly (24-25 September) in Colorado Springs, USA.
US para-snowboarder Amy Purdy was among the winners, receiving the individual award for the Rings of Gold. The award annually recognises an individual and a programme dedicated to helping children develop their Olympic or Paralympic dreams and reach their highest athletic and personal potential.
Purdy, a 2014 Paralympic bronze medallist in snowboard-cross, embodies the award through her organisation, Adaptive Action Sports (AAS), which creates opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to get involved in snowboarding or skateboarding. One of the leading Paralympic Sport Clubs in the country, AAS is also a pipeline for the US Paralympics Snowboarding Team. Adding to her legacy of Olympism, Purdy helped push for snowboard-cross’ inclusion in the Paralympic Winter Games programme.
Anne Warner Cribbs was named the Olympic Torch Award honoree, while Miles Gould and Trey McDonald were selected to receive the Jack Kelly Fair Play Award presented by BP. Figure Skating in Harlem was chosen as the programme recipient for the Rings of Gold awards.
Cribbs, a former vice president of the US Olympians and Paralympians Association, has dedicated her career to advancing sport and maximising opportunities for youth in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. For that, she received the Olympic Torch Award, which recognises an individual who has positively impacted the Olympic Movement by promoting the Olympic Ideals.
New to the 2015 programme, the USOC also presented two awards recognising National Governing Bodies (NGB) for achievement in the areas of diversity and inclusion. USA Fencing was named the inaugural recipient of the Advancing Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Award, while USRowing was selected by its peers as the D&I Choice Award winner for its America Rows initiative.
The Advancing D&I Award recognises the NGB with the highest annual growth percentage of underrepresented individuals based on diversity data for women, and racial and ethnic minorities. USA Fencing led all NGBs with a six per cent increase in membership for women and persons of colour from 2013-14. Percentage increases were evaluated based on overall NGB membership, including board members, employees, and national team athletes and coaches. Moving forward, diversity criteria will expand to also include people with impairments and military veterans, beginning in 2016.
Celebrating its second year, the D&I Choice Award recognises an NGB for best practices in advancing diversity and inclusion, as determined by a vote of NGB peers. Originally launched in 2010 as a diversity initiative, USRowing’s America Rows expanded to include adaptive sport programmes in 2014. The programme aims to increase opportunities in rowing for underrepresented youth, individuals with impairments and people of all ages, socioeconomic circumstances and fitness levels. In June 2014, the programme established the America Rows Fund to provide the growing number of school and community rowing programs with equipment, training and access to resources.
For more information on the USOC 2015 Award Winners, visit US Paralympics’ website.