Cuban sprinter Omara Durand, the world’s fastest female Paralympian, has been presented the 2016 Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award from the United States Sports Academy.
The Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award is presented annually to the physically or mentally challenged athlete who displays courage, desire, and athletic ability in the face of adversity to achieve the goals set forth in the athlete’s particular arena of competition.
The award was presented to Durand at the Coliseum of Havana’s Sports City on 11 April 2017 from Roberto Leon Richard, the Vice President of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation. Also present for the presentation were Durand’s daughter, Erika, and her trainer, Miriam Ferrer.
Durand is almost entirely blind and relies on a guide who runs beside her with a tether to make sure she stays in the correct lane.
Durand won gold medals in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter T12 events and broke world records in both the 100 meter and 400 meter events in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Durand’s performance cemented her place as the world’s fastest female Paralympian, having already won two gold medals in the London 2012 Paralympics.
She was Cuba’s flag bearer at the Summer Paralympics Parade of Nations at both the Rio 2016 and the London 2012 Paralympic Games. After taking a three-year sabbatical from racing following the birth of her daughter, she returned in 2015 to win gold medals at both the World Championships in Qatar and the Parapan American Games in Toronto.
The Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others.
The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu .
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.
By Eric Mann
Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at email@example.com.