Editor’s Note: Our friends at SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine are sharing a series of articles with Wheel:Life to help you discover and enjoy wheelchair sports as well as active, healthy lifestyles! We’ll be posting the highlights with a link to the full story below.
At the most recent U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly, the United States Olympic Committee and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced an agreement designating the university as a U.S. Paralympics Training Site. The distinction was given to the Division of Disability Resources & Educational Services, which is part of the College of Applied Health Sciences at Illinois. The DRES venues, staff and resources will provide an elite athlete training environment for current and aspiring Paralympic track and field athletes.
“We are pleased to support the University of Illinois and its dynamic wheelchair program in a more formal manner,” said Cathy Sellers, U.S. Paralympics track and field high performance director. “The program has produced many Paralympic athletes who’ve reached the podium and we look forward to its continued success.”
At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, athletes from the university’s wheelchair track and field program accounted for 10 out of the total 28 U.S. track and field medals won – including three gold medals and one bronze from 2014 Illinois graduate Tatyana McFadden – and four gold medals from Raymond Martin, who is currently a junior at the university.
Adam Bleakney, who was named the USOC’s Paralympic National Coach of the Year in 2013 and is a silver Paralympic medalist and a four-time U.S. Paralympian, leads the university’s wheelchair track and field program.
There are 22 athletes currently training at Illinois, including 12 U.S. Paralympians, six Paralympic medalists and four gold medalists. Collectively, the 22 athletes own four world records, and three have been nominated for ESPY awards and have won the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City marathons.
The training facility measures 2,100 square feet and boasts specialized equipment such as roller stations, Nordic ski ergs and weights, most of which was made possible through the support of sponsor BP, which donated $160,000 for the creation of the new training site.
“We are excited about the opportunity to deepen our relationship with the United States Olympic Committee by becoming one of its elite Paralympic training facilities,” said Tanya Gallagher, dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences. “Since athletes from our program at Illinois participated in the first Paralympic Games we have had a sustained commitment to the world-wide recognition and celebration of athletic ability that these games represent. We are honored to have been selected as a training site and for the support we received from BP.”
Read the full story here: http://pvamag.com/sns/article/6515/u_of_i_named_paralympic_training_site
About S’NS Magazine
SPORTS ‘N SPOKES is a bimonthly publication produced by the Paralyzed Veterans of America. S’NS reports on competitive sports and recreation for wheelchair users. Since 1975, S’NS has been a leader in wheelchair sports coverage and currently goes to more than 43 countries worldwide. Our readers come from all walks of life all having one thing in common: determination! SPORTS ‘N SPOKES is committed to providing a voice for the wheelchair sporting and recreation community. Visit www.sportsnspokes.com to view the latest issue.