Fourth Annual Awards Banquet of the National Disabled Sports Organizations

Article excerpt

Athletic achievement and recognition of deserving athletes. Pomp and circumstance of a prominent national event. Honor to and humility of outstanding athletes. These are just a few ways to describe the Fourth Annual Awards Banquet of the National Disabled Sports Organizations, held May 14, 1992, in Denver, Colorado.

This is the annual affair in which the seven national Disabled Sports Organizations recognize their female and male athletes of the year. Joining in paying tribute to achievements of these dedicated athletes were several outstanding professional athletes, including Karl Mecklenburg, Kenny Walker, and Mike Horan of the Denver Broncos (football); Ken Harvey and Jim Wahler of the Phoenix Cardinals (football); and Chris Jackson of the Denver Nuggets (basketball). Sandy Alderson, General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, extolled the ability and achievements of these committed athletes. John Keating, Sports Director of KMGH Colorado's TV 7, served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

In addition to the 14 athletes of the year, two special awards were presented. G. Andrew Fleming, Paralyzed Veterans of America Director of Sports and Recreation and former Executive Director of the National Wheelchair Athletic Association, received the James S. Brady Award for significant contributions to programs for persons with disabilities. Fleming was co-chair of the Atlanta Paralympic Committee, the group responsible for getting Atlanta to bid and ultimately be awarded the 1996 Paralympic Games.

Mark Wellman, noted for his mountain climbing and most recent scaling of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in California, received the Paralyzed Veterans of America Jack Gerhardt Athlete of the Year Award. Wellman's selection was especially significant in that he was the first individual not associated with traditional wheelchair sports to receive this prestigious award.

Athletes of the year for each of the national disabled sports organizations--

American Athletic Association for the Deaf (AAAD)--Lindy Decker, at 19, was the youngest woman in America to bowl a perfect game of 300, and has maintained a 200 plus average over the past three years. Kurt Simmons won gold medals in three speedskating events at the 1991 World Games for the Deaf, setting a Games' record at 500 meters.

Dwarf Athletic Association of America (DAAA)--Janie Zukas won the gold medal in the Open Equitation event at the 1991 Paralympic trials, is the reserve champion in Long Stirrup Equitation, and champion in Beginner Hunter Under Saddle. In track she is DAAA national record holder in the 100 m. Joseph Griffo is a member of the 1992 Paralympic powerlifting team set for Barcelona after winning the 48 kg powerlifting event at the Paralympic trials. In track and field he won gold medals at the DAAA national championships in javelin and shot, and was a member of the DAAA national record setting 4 x 100 relay. He also competes in basketball and alpine skiing.

National Handicapped Sports (NHS)--Sarah Reinertsen holds the world record in her class at 100 m (:19.96), has set a world record in the 200 m (:43.39), and has an unofficial world record time of 1:54.0 in the 400 m. She was selected Junior Female Athlete of the Year for the U. …