Celebrating Jon McCullough, 1965-2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 16, 2014 

Contact:  Jeff Jones  jjones@blazesports.org or Mara Galic, mgalic@blazesports.org  404-270-2000

 BlazeSports announces the passing of Executive Director, Jon McCullough
A loss to the Paralympic Movement

Atlanta, GA – It is with great sadness that BlazeSports, through its Board of Directors and staff, announce the passing of its Executive Director, Jon McCullough.  On August 13, 2014, Jon ended his valiant fight against cancer at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, where he was undergoing treatment. Surrounded by family and friends, he fought the good fight as only Jon would. 

More than a leader, Jon was a friend and mentor to many, teammate, and a champion for Paralympic sport on and off the field of play.

Jon joined BlazeSports just shy of one year ago, with 17 years experience in the Paralympic Sport Movement as an elite athlete, advocate, educator, and fund developer. His connection to the legacy organization of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games came long before joining the organization as he marched in the opening ceremonies in August 1996 as an athlete, a stalwart defender on the USA Paralympic National Soccer Team.  Upon joining BlazeSports Jon said, “Becoming part of this organizational fulfills a dream.” 

“Jon will be remembered by BlazeSports for his contagious smile, positivity and uplifting spirit,” said Dan Holland, Chairman of BlazeSports Board of Directors.  “We will carry on his legacy and vision for the organization, the way that he would want us to.  We are deeply saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with Jon’s family”

Tributes and condolences  are being shared by the larger Paralympic family.

Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President said, “The whole Paralympic Movement is deeply saddened by this tragic news and our thoughts are with Jon’s family and friends as this terrible time.

“Jon was an unbelievably inspirational and popular man, an absolute joy to be around, and a huge advocate for the Paralympic Movement.

“He had boundless energy, a permanent smile on his face and always made an impression where ever he went. He will be sorely missed by us all.”

Todd Nicholson, IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson, said, “Jon was a great friend of so many athletes, and the Paralympic Movement has lost a true friend. He always put athletes first and foremost and he will be sadly missed by so many, especially all of us on the IPC Athletes’ Council.

“Jon always was a fighter, and he fought the cancer until the end. His fighting spirit will be continued by each and every one of us as we ensure his legacy lives on.”

United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun said, “The USOC is extremely saddened to learn of Jon McCullough’s untimely passing. Jon was a true champion of sport who made a tremendous impact on both the Olympic and Paralympic movements. As a Coast Guard veteran, two-time U.S. Paralympian in soccer and as a leader, he made great contributions to sport development in the U.S. and around the world. Both within and outside of the sports world, he impacted countless lives with his positive attitude and passion for life.”

Ann Cody, former BlazeSports staff,  Paralympian,  and member of IPC Governing Board said “Jon, you are a force of nature. I can’t believe you are gone. I will remember fondly our many strategy sessions and dreams for a more just world. I have no doubt you will guide us as we fulfill this dream.”

A U.S. Coast Guard veteran, where he served as a rescue diver, McCullough represented Team USA in soccer for 12 years, which included the Paralympics in Greece and the 1998 World All-Star Game as well as ParaPan American Games competitions in Chile and Brazil. Beginning in 1999, Jon mixed competition with leadership roles. Increasing his involvement in international sport, McCullough served as vice chair on the USOC’s  Athlete Council, chairman of U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council and on the board of directors for U.S. Soccer.

McCullough was chosen by his peers to be an Athlete Coordinator for the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City, the 2005 Innsbruck Winter World University Games, the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games and the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. With the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, McCullough developed a conflict resolution program first implemented in the former Yugoslavia with youth from different sides in the war. The soccer games, which had former foes working together on the same teams, were broadcast on national television and featured in the World Bank film, Transcending Sport

In South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, McCullough was a facilitator and keynote speaker  for the  Man-Up Summit,  a week-long gathering of 150 international delegates seeking to develop domestic initiatives to halt violence against women and girls, using sport and music as tools. While in South Africa, he was a facilitator and keynote speaker for FIFA’s youth initiative, Football for Hope. Before joining BlazeSports, he was also deputy director for Man-Up.

McCullough  had an undergraduate degree in international health from The American University in Washington, D.C., and was certified in International Sports Leadership as part of the first Leadership Summit of the International Paralympic Committee.  

 

About BlazeSports America 

BlazeSports America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, that changes the lives of  children and adults with physical disabilities worldwide through sport.  Formed in 1993, as the direct legacy of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Paralympic Games, BlazeSports programs and services encourage lifelong health, build leadership skills, foster independence and inclusion, and promote an inclusive society. BlazeSports is the member of United States Olympic Committee – Multi-Sport Organization, the High Performance Sport Organization for Boccia, USA Member of the Boccia International Sport Federation and the USA Member Organization of Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association. For more information about BlazeSports, visit http://www.blazesports.org.

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GA Disability Sport Awards 2014 – Now Accepting Nominations

Georgia Disability Sport Awards
Sunday Nov 9, 2014, 2-5pm
Atlanta History Center
130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305

 

 Nominations for the 2014 GA Disability Sports Awards are now OPEN

NOMINATE HERE

Nominations will be accepted until Friday, October 10, 2014

See the 2013 GA Disability Sports Award Winners 

Do you know an individual or team who should be recognized for their contribution to sport?

BlazeSports America is proud to host this Awards Ceremony as we recognize individuals and teams in the following categories:

  • Male Junior Athlete: male athlete under the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Female Junior Athlete: female athlete under the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Male Adult Athlete: male athlete over the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Female Adult Athlete: female athlete over the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Male Military Athlete: male athlete who is either a veteran or active duty service member with a physical disability who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Female Military Athlete: male athlete who is either a veteran or active duty service member with a physical disability who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Junior Team: a team registered and actively competing in a youth league on the local, state or regional level

  • High School Team: a team registered and actively competing in a school league on the local, state or regional level

  • Adult Team: a team registered and actively competing in an adult league on the local, state or regional level

  • Volunteer of the Year: a person that volunteers in any capacity for an organization or program offering disability sports

  • Coach of the Year: a person that directly coaches an individual athlete, group of individual athletes or a team in disability sports

NOMINATE HERE

Nominations will be accepted until Friday, October 10, 2014

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BlazeSports at National Junior Disability Championships 2014

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$25K Raised and Matched! Thank You

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TeamBLAZE in the Peachtree Road Race – We Did It!

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Fencing Star Academy

 BlazeClub Logo

Fencing Star Academy

Sport / Activity Offered Fencing 
Disabilities Served Amputee, Spinal Cord Injury
Area Covered: Metro Atlanta 
Contact Name:  John Martin 
Telephone: (502) 802 – 4064
Email:  marcoatlanta@dieboard.com
Address: 5060 N Royal Atlanta Drive, Tucker , GA 30084
Website: http://www.fencingstaracademy.co
About:  Three weapon fencing club with wheelchair access and fencing platform. Wheelchair fencers pay no club dues. Coaching fees may apply.

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Veteran Athletes Compete at Track & Field Nationals

Over the past weekend, Army and Marine veterans Jacques Swafford and Rodney Roscoe competed in the 2014 National Track & Field Championships in San Mateo, CA in both shot put and discus events. Just the week before, both athletes met the qualifying standards at the Endeavor Games held in Oklahoma City.  This marked the first time that either athlete had qualified for the National Championships.photo

With competition on Friday and Saturday, both athletes arrived in San Mateo on Thursday for registration and equipment check-in. The first event was shot put on Friday afternoon. The competition would be tough as both Jacques and Rodney, classified as F55’s, would be competing against the USA’s number one shot put thrower, Scott Winkler. Jacques began the shot put competition with 6 great throws, his furthest measuring out to be 8.34 meters. This would become a personal best for Jacques in shot put. Rodney was next with his furthest throw coming out to be 6.84m. These distances landed Jacques a silver medal followed by Rodney receiving the bronze medal. image

The following day, competition for the discus began at 3:00pm. As the only two athletes competing in the F55 classes, both Jacques and Rodney would be leaving Nationals with 2 medals. Rodney began the competition with his longest throw of 18.41m, discus being his preferred throwing event over shot put. Jacques’ best throw of the day came in at 15.78m. As a result, Rodney earned a gold medal in the shot put while Jacques followed with a silver medal.  

All in all, it was a fantastic opportunity for both Jacques and Rodney to compete at the National level. Both athletes are now focused on returning next year and improving their skills in both shot put and discus.

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