Anthony Robles and Mallory Weggemann Take Home ESPY Awards

Anthony Robles and Mallory Weggemann.

Last night’s ESPY Awards featured more than tuxedoed athletes not laughing at Seth Meyers’ jokes. It also saw big wins for two athletes with disabilities. Mallory Weggemann dominated last year’s IPC World Championships in swimming, taking home nine gold medals and one silver and breaking an incredible nine world records in the process. She adds the ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability to her already sizable hardware collection. Anthony Robles’ achievements are no less amazing. Competing for Arizona State University, Robles throttled opponents with twice as many legs as him and went on to win the NCAA Wrestling Championship in the 125-pound weight class. He took home the ESPY for Best Male Athlete with a Disability and the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance.

BlazeSports congratulates Anthony, Mallory, and all the other athletes honored last night.

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Dr. Paul Farmer Talks Haiti on NPR

Dr. Paul Farmer speaking with a Haitian colleague. Pic courtesy of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice.

You can’t visit Haiti without feeling the presence of Partners in Health. The not-for-profit organization has been providing health care to Haitians for close to thirty years, and it was instrumental to the relief effort that followed (and continues to follow) the earthquake of January 2010.

Dr. Paul Farmer¬† co-founded Partners in Health in 1983 (along with the president of my alma mater! Go Big Green!). The weight of Dr. Farmer’s resume could buckle the knees of most of us. Now a professor at Harvard University’s Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, Farmer holds an MD and a PhD in anthropology from Harvard, serves as Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and is a winner of the MacArthur Fellowship, better known as the “Genius Award.”

I read his 2005 book The Uses of Haiti prior to my visit to the country last year, and I highly recommend it as a primer on the historical and social forces that have shaped Haiti’s development. Dr. Farmer’s discussed his latest book, Haiti After the Earthquake, on yesterday’s edition of NPR’s Fresh Air. In an interview that was both fascinating and sobering, he touched on the cholera epidemic that broke during BlazeSports’ visit to the country last October and on the kind of flooding our team experienced just last month. The interview is a must-listen. The problems discussed by Dr. Farmer are the reasons that we are committed to supporting our friends and colleagues on the island.

If you support our efforts to aid persons with disabilities in Haiti, please consider making a donation to BlazeSports America. Our work is made possible by the generosity of everyday people like you.

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Two Days Left to Cast Your Vote for the 2011 ESPY Awards

Tatyana McFadden, nominated for the ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. Pic courtesy of the Waisman Center.

The polls for ESPN’s 2011 ESPY Awards close¬† this Saturday, so it’s time to make sure your ballot is in. Amongst this year’s categories are awards for the Best Male and Female Athletes with a Disability. ESPN has clearly taken notice of the incredible feats of athletic prowess taking place in the world of disability sports, and it’s great to see them using such a high-profile event to bring attention to some of the top competitors with disabilities. Here are the nominees in the disability the categories.

Best Male Athlete with a Disability:
Chris Devlin-Young, skiing
Anthony Robles, wrestling
Aaron Scheidies, triathlon
Jerome Singleton, track
Steve Wampler, mountaineering

Best Female Athlete with a Disability:
Alison Jones, cycling
Tatyana McFadden, track
Alana Nichols, skiing
Melissa Stockwell, triathlon
Mallory Weggemann, swimming

We congratulate all of these athletes, and encourage you to click over to the ESPY website and cast your vote before Saturday. By putting these competitors on the same stage as athletes without disabilities, the ESPYs are helping to erase the inequalities that still linger in the world of sports. (Click here to read about the push for equity of Tatyana McFadden, the nominee pictured above.)

The ESPY Awards air on ESPN on Wednesday, July 13 at 9pm EDT.

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BlazeSports Congratulates Pyeongchang, Home of the 2018 Winter Games

Pic courtesy of the Star-Telegram.

Pyeongchang will host the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games! International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announced today that the South Korean city beat out its rivals in Annecy, France and Munich, Germany after only one round of voting. BlazeSports offers the people of Pyeongchang and the Korean sports community a heartfelt congratulations on this news.

As a member of the International Paralympic Committe’s Governing Board and IOC’s 2018 Evaluation Committee, our own Ann Cody was intimately involved in the selection process and looks forward to working with Pyeongchang as plans for the games move forward.

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Get Involved Via the White House’s Twitter Town Hall

President Barack Obama. Pic courtesy of the Cleveland Leader.

Today at 2pm EDT, Barack Obama will participate in the first Presidential Twitter Town Hall. The subject of the event is jobs and the economy, and the President will answer questions submitted by Twitter users. To ask a question, simply tweet your inquiry with the hashtag #AskObama. (For the non-Twitter literate amongst you, the White House has assembled some info here.) The event will stream live on the White House’s website.

This is just one opportunity for Americans–including, of course, Americans with disabilities–to use the democratizing power of the internet to stay involved with the political process. The White House maintains a web page devoted to disability issues, and Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, keeps a blog (the latest entry is a guest post from Dr. Jill Biden). Furthermore, the award-winning offers extensive information regarding disability issues and maintains a presence throughout social media.

Fourth of July may be over, but the responsibilities of citizenship run year-round. Get active!

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