Three-time Paralympic gold medal-winning wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden has been selected as the winner of the Juan Antonio Samaranch International Olympic Committee (IOC) Disabled Athlete Award for the second time.
Chosen by the United States Sports Academy, the honour is presented annually to an athlete who displays courage, desire and athletic ability in the face of adversity to achieve the goals set forth in the athlete’s particular area of competition.
In 2014, McFadden won all four major world marathons – London, Boston, Chicago and New York – repeating her feat of 2013 when she became the first athlete ever to do so in a calendar year.
The American also powered to victory at this year’s Boston Marathon in April before going on to smash the course record at the London Marathon, which also doubled as the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics Marathon World Championships, later that same month.
Her time of 1 hour 41min 14sec broke the record by a staggering four minutes and it was not just on the roads where she enjoyed success as she was named as the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, becoming the first American to do so.
Meanwhile, in her first full season in snow sports, McFadden claimed a silver medal at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games where she competed in the one kilometre cross-country sprint.
The Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award, named after the late Spanish sports administrator who served as IOC President from 1980 to 2001, was first given out in 1989 to American triathlete Jim McLaren.
Last year’s recipient was Russian cross-country skier and biathlete Roman Petushkov, winner of six titles at Sochi 2014, before which McFadden took the honour in 2013 owing partly to her three gold medals at London 2012 in the 400 metres, 800m and 1500m T54 races.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve America and the world with programmes in instruction, research, and service.
The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.