Courtesy: United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
NEW YORK – The United States Olympic Endowment today presented three awards at its annual luncheon in New York. Anita DeFrantz, a two-time Olympian and an International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee board member, will be the recipient of the George M. Steinbrenner III Sport Leadership Award; Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a four-time Olympian and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame member, will be recognized with the William E. Simon Award; and Melissa Stockwell, U.S. Army officer and two-time Paralympian, will be the honoree of the General Douglas MacArthur Award. Each of these individuals were honored in recognition of their commitment and contributions to the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
The Steinbrenner Award is presented annually to honor outstanding members of the Olympic and Paralympic family who have contributed to sport through management, sport organization endeavors or the enhancement of competitive opportunities; and who have displayed qualities of leadership, ethical conduct and dedicated responsibility during a longstanding commitment to sport. DeFrantz was elected to a second term as an IOC vice president in 2018 as well as the IOC executive board. A lawyer, she also serves on the Legal Affairs Commission of the IOC, which reviews its legal issues; on the Finances Commission, which reviews the IOC’s investments and spending plans; and is an advisor for the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.vAs an athlete, DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s eight rowing team to the bronze medal at the Olympic Games Montreal 1976. She served as vice president of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Organizing Committee and was elected to IOC membership in 1986, making her not only the first African-American but also the first American woman to serve on the committee. In 1987, DeFrantz began her 28-year presidency, stewarding the legacy of 1984 Games, as president of the LA84 Foundation, which received 40% of the 1984 surplus funds, totaling $13 million.
The Simon Award is given to an individual or group who has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the Olympic and Paralympic movements. Joyner-Kersee, honored by Sports Illustrated as The Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century, is both an Olympic legend and a track and field icon. A six-time Olympic medalist and four-time world champion, she is considered one of the greatest long jumpers of all time. To this day, she still holds the heptathlon world record, set over 30 years ago with an astonishing point total of 7,291. Equally impressive to her athletic accomplishments is her decades-long commitment to giving back. She is an active philanthropist in children’s education, racial equality and women’s rights. In 1988, she established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in her hometown, East St. Louis, Illinois. The mission of the foundation is to instill youth with the dream, drive and determination necessary to succeed in academics, athletics and leadership. In 2000, with the help of East St. Louis community leaders, she opened the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center to provide programming in both academics and athletics.
The Douglas MacArthur Award is given to an individual who has exhibited exemplary service to the USOPC and to athletes. Stockwell was a senior and in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the University of Colorado when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. After graduation in 2002, serving as a transportation corps officer, she deployed to Iraq in March 2004. A month later, a roadside bomb exploded when she was leading a convoy in Baghdad and she lost her left leg above the knee. Stockwell became the first female to be wounded in combat and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. After rehabilitation, she set her sights on the Paralympic Games and qualified as a swimmer for the Paralympic Games Beijing 2008 and was elected the flag bearer for Team USA in the Closing Ceremony. After the Beijing Games, she turned to triathlon and became a three-time world champion and went on to win a bronze medal in 2016. She is a motivational speaker, a level 1 USA Triathlon coach and co-founder of Dare2Tri, a Chicago-based triathlon club designed specifically for athletes with a disability. She currently lives in Colorado and trains at the Colorado Springs Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in hopes of competing at the Tokyo Games in 2020.
About the USOE
The USOE was established by the USOPC in 1984 to administer and invest the corpus of endowed funds that resulted from the surplus of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984. A nonprofit organization, its objective is to support the USOPC and its member organizations, with the overall aim of enhancing Olympic and Paralympic sports in the United States. A separate entity from the USOPC, the USOE’s net assets have grown to approximately $208 million, while awarding grants to the USOPC and its member organizations totaling $330 million over the last 34 years.