2011 May

Shaolin Temple Abbot Shi Yongxin Accepts Academy’s New Shaolin Kung Fu Book

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Abbot Shi Yongxin (right) of the Shaolin Temple in China received a new book, “Shaolin Kung Fu Secrets,” which the United States Sports Academy translated from an ancient Chinese manuscript. Grandmaster Steve Demasco (left), an Academy national faculty member, presented the book at the Shaolin Summit on May 21 in Los Angeles.

His Holiness Abbot Shi Yongxin, the spiritual leader of 200 million Chan Buddhists, accepted a new book on Shaolin philosophy that the United States Sports Academy has developed into an online course that will make the ancient Chinese text available worldwide.

Grandmaster Steve Demasco, a member of the Academy’s national faculty, provided the Abbot with an English translation of the book, “Shaolin Kung Fu Secrets,” during an official presentation at the first annual Shaolin Summit on Saturday, May 21 in Los Angeles. Demasco has played a major role in helping the Academy with the translation of the manuscript and development of the course called “The Philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu.”

During his visit to the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus in November 2006 to receive his honorary doctorate, His Holiness gave to Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich a 1,500-year-old manuscript that described Shaolin philosophy as it relates to Kung Fu. The past three years, the Academy worked to translate its more than 800 pages from Ancient Chinese to Chinese and finally to English. The book given to the Abbot is bound in a black leather cover with gold lettering.

By using the ancient Shaolin teachings found in the book, the Academy also has created an online course that includes an introduction to the key tenets of the Shaolin philosophy, the rich political and religious history of the Shaolin Temple, and the importance of balance between the mental, physical, and spiritual in a healthy mind and body. The new online course is being done in collaboration with the Shaolin Temple and with the Abbot’s blessing. It will be offered soon to people across the globe.

The Shaolin Summit drew more than 2,000 participants to the daylong event that features, Shaolin Kung Fu demonstrations and lessons from key masters, an interview with the Abbot, a panel discussion on the influence of Shaolin on traditional and popular culture, and an announcement of the formation of the Shaolin Association of Americas, a non-profit organization created to provide better outreach to the West.

Academy Presents Shaolin Book and Course at the First Annual Shaolin Summit in Los Angeles

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Academy President, Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (right), receives a rare Shaolin text from Abbot Shi Yongxin on the Academy’s campus in 2006. The 1,500-year-old manuscript serves as the basis of a new online course on Shaolin philosophy and history.

United States Sports Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich is attending the first annual Shaolin Summit on Saturday, May 21 in Los Angeles to present the English translation of a rare manuscript to His Holiness Abbot Shi Yongxin.

In addition, Dr. Rosandich is presenting a new online course, “Philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu,” during the summit at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The course is being done in collaboration with the Shaolin Temple and with the Abbot’s blessing. It is derived from the key tenets of Shaolin philosophy shared in the ancient manuscript and will be offered soon to people across the globe.

The Shaolin Summit is expected to draw more than 1,000 participants to the daylong event that features, Shaolin Kung Fu demonstrations and lessons from key masters, an interview with the Abbot, who is the spiritual leader of 400 million Chan Buddhists, a panel discussion of film and TV luminaries on the portrayal of the Shaolin in popular culture, and an announcement of the formation of the Shaolin Association of Americas, a non-profit organization created to provide better outreach to the West.

During his visit to the Academy in November 2006 to receive his honorary doctorate, His Holiness handed over a 1,500-year-old manuscript written in ancient Chinese that contained the Shaolin philosophy. The past three years, the Academy worked to translate its more than 800 pages from Ancient Chinese to Chinese and finally to English. Dr. Rosandich will give the Abbot a translated version of the book, “Shaolin Kung Fu Secrets,” which is now bound in a black leather cover with gold lettering.

By using the ancient Shaolin teachings found in the book, the Academy has developed an online course that includes an introduction to the key tenets of the Shaolin philosophy, the rich political and religious history of the Shaolin Temple, and the importance of balance between the mental, physical, and spiritual in a healthy mind and body.

“By unlocking this ancient Shaolin knowledge for people around the globe, we are exposing them to a time-tested and world respected philosophy,” Dr. Rosandich said. “It is my sincere hope that the manuscript and will advance the Shaolin Temple goal of promoting dialog and cultural exchange among people around the world, helping them to overcome their differences, find harmony and live healthy, balanced lives.”

Ashton Eaton accepts Academy’s 2010 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award

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Ashton Eaton the 2010 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award recipient

Ashton Eaton accepted the 2010 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award from the United States Sports Academy for his accomplishments in the heptathlon and the decathlon.

Eaton received the award Friday, May 6, 2011 from Harry Marra, University of Oregon assistant track and field coach, in front of 6,251 fans at Hayward Field for the University of Oregon Twilight meet. Eaton now competes for the Oregon Track Club Elite.

The Academy’s Jim Thorpe All-Around Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in multiple sports and/or multiple events of the same sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of versatility, strength, speed, flexibility, conditioning and training that exemplify superior athletic prowess.

The University of Oregon student-athlete eclipsed one of track and field’s longest-standing records. Eaton broke 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dan O’Brien’s NCAA Division I indoor track and field record in the heptathlon – a mark which stood for 17 years.

Eaton finished the seven-sport heptathlon event with 6,499 points, surpassing O’Brien’s record of 6,476, while he was at the University of Idaho. Eaton ran a personal-best time of 2 minutes, 32.67 seconds in the 1,000 meters to establish the new record.

Eaton capped his illustrious career at Oregon in June 2010 by becoming the first athlete to win three consecutive NCAA championships in the decathlon.

While the heptathlon is a combination of seven events, the decathlon is the track and field competition that totals 10 events.
Past winners of the Academy’s Thorpe All-Around Award include Deion Sanders, Herschel Walker, Willie Gault, Danny Ainge, Julius Peppers and Brian Clay.

Alliance of Women Coaches Begins Mission to Bring Equality to Coaching

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Dr. Judy Sweet

The number of women coaching women’s teams in the NCAA continues to plummet since the passage of Title IX nearly 40 years ago.

The 1972 passage of the federal law was supposed to result in equality in men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics.

It is true that during that period women’s participation in college sports increased 500 percent, climbing from 30,000 a year in 1972 to 186,000 a year currently. However, during this unprecedented growth the opportunities for women to coach those female athletes has seen a dramatic downturn.

The facts are: Women coaches oversaw 90 percent of women’s college teams in 1972. Now that percentage stands at 42.6 percent. Plus, only 5.3 percent of all women’s head coaching positions are currently held by African-Americans. That’s about to change.

Dr. Judy Sweet and other women leaders in college sports are kicking off the Alliance of Women Coaches on May 16. The launch includes a new website at GoCoaches.org. Sweet is serving as co-director. She is one of the very first women in the nation selected to head a combined women’s and men’s intercollegiate athletic program and once was the NCAA’s primary contact for Title IX and Gender Equity Initiatives.

The stated goal of the new alliance is: Improve the landscape for women coaches in all sports at all levels.
Two main thrusts by the Alliance of Women Coaches designed to increase the diversity and number of women in the profession of coaching are ongoing professional development and networking designed to provide a support system for women coaches in various phases of their careers.

“We like to say that we offer women coaches everything from A to Z, except X’s and O’s,” Sweet said.

One group the Alliance plans to collaborate with is the NCAA Women Coaches Academy (WCA), which began in 2003 to retain current women coaches and to train them to mentor up-and-comers. More than 700 women representing 17 different sports have gone through the WCA program and 90 percent have ended up furthering their careers.

WCA graduates have repeatedly expressed a desire to stay connected with other women coaches but they have lacked the forum to do so. A recent survey of 400 graduates showed that 98 percent had a “strong interest” in joining a group such as the Alliance for Women Coaches.

Some have argued that rather than suggesting a gender bias exists, women coaches just need more mentoring and professional development on smaller stages before moving up to take over major college programs.

As an example, Cori Close became the first woman hired to take over a Pacific 10 Conference women’s basketball program after the previous four Pac-10 openings went to men. UCLA hired Close after she had served as the Florida State University women’s basketball associate head coach for seven seasons.

Sweet points out women coaches face many other obstacles to their career advancement. The alliance finds that in all sports women often are the only female coach at their college or part of a small group and feel isolated, subject to homophobia and negative recruiting, denied the resources to be competitive, paid less than their male counterparts, and the list goes on.

The Alliance of Women Coaches will work to correct the inequities that obviously remain since the dawn of Title IX.
“We aim to be a strong advocate for equal opportunities for all women in athletics,” said Sweet, University of California San Diego athletic director for 24 years. “We want to enhance their advancement and to increase the number of women coaches in all sports, divisions and levels, including college, high school and club programs.”

Dr. Judith M. Sweet is a leader in women’s intercollegiate athletics. She most recently served as NCAA Senior Vice President for Championships and Education Services from 2006-2010. Prior to working with the NCAA, Dr. Sweet spent 24 years at the University of California, San Diego, where she became one of the very first women in the nation selected to head a combined women’s and men’s intercollegiate athletic program. During her tenure, UCSD won a total of 24 conference championships and in 1998 won the Director’s Cup (then sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics). She served on numerous NCAA committees and in 1991 was elected to a 2-year term as Membership President of the NCAA. This came immediately after she served as secretary-treasurer for the NCAA from 1989-1991.  She has won numerous awards throughout her career in sports.

Figure Skaters Win the Academy’s Male and Female April Athlete of the Month Awards

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Patrick Chan

Two figure skaters who won titles in dramatic fashion at the World Championships in Moscow have earned the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female April Athlete of the Month Awards.

Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan won the Male Athlete of the Month Award after breaking three world records en route to a world championship title. Meanwhile, Miki Ando earned the Female Athlete of the Month by winning the women’s world figure skating championship when she overcame Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-na and the earthquake and tsunami devastation in her homeland of Japan.

Chan, who won his first world figure skating, set a world record in total score with 280.98 points, which smashed the previous world record of 264.41 set in 2008. Chan also now owns records for the free skate by scoring 187.96 and in the short program by totaling 93.02.

Ando’s second world title comes in the competition that was originally scheduled in Japan before it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in March and moved to Moscow. Ando scored 130.21 points in the free skate and accumulated 195.79 points overall.

Miki Ando

Stacy Lewis was runner up to Ando in the Female April Athlete of the Month voting. Lewis won the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour’s first major of the season at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Mission Hills, Calif. Lewis blistered the tournament’s final nine holes to overcame a three-stroke deficit in the last round to the world’s top-ranked player, Yani Tseng. It was Lewis’ first major tournament title after shooting a 13-under 72-hole total of 275.

Finishing second in the male athlete category was Charl Shwartzel. The South African golfer won his first major tournament, capturing the 75th Masters at Augusta National with a 14-under 274. Schwartzel became the first Masters champion in history to finish with four straight birdies, including a 20-footer at the final hole. He shot a 6-under 66 for the best final round by a winner in 22 years.

Third place winners were Dwight Howard, an Orlando Magic professional basketball player and University of Alabama gymnast Kayla Hoffman. Howard became the first player in league history to be named the National Basketball Association’s Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons. Hoffman earned the 2011 Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top collegiate female gymnast, after the Alabama senior was runner-up in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national championships in the all-around and balance beam competitions.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nominating and balloting processes. Visit the Academy website and submit your vote, and return to the website the first week of each month to vote on the Athlete of the Month. Winners will be announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of The Sport Update.

Academy President Talks About Historic Trip to China

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Torch ceremony

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (on the left) lights the cauldron April 21 to signify the opening of the first sport city in Fujian, China, which is named in honor of former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch. From left to right are Li Shanshan, professor of culture at Quanzhou University, You Zuyong, Quangang District Mayor, Dr. Jie “Jack” Guo, WorldTeam Sports president and Chen Rongzhou, Quanzhou Vice Mayor.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich traveled to China primarily to dedicate the first of three sports cities in Fujian, China, and meet with His Holiness Abbot Shi Yongxin to present an ancient Chinese manuscript that the Academy translated into English.

Read on as Dr. Rosandich tells you firsthand about his historic trip to China.

Samaranch Sports Town

I had the unique pleasure of giving the keynote address at the magnificent site for the Samaranch Sports Town in the mountains of Fujian on April 21, 2011. This was in celebration of the one year anniversary of the passing of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Dr. Jie “Jack” Guo, the President of WorldTeam Sports, cut the ribbon with me for the development of the Samaranch city, which is seen as a major economic development catalyst for the Quangang region. Dr. Guo is deemed the leading sport entrepreneur in China and represents the NBA in that nation. Dr. Guo is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from the Academy in recognition of his work to develop sports in the world’s most populous nation.

After that presentation, I did a second “question and answer” program with 200 journalists on the ways and means in which the Academy might play a major role in the development of this sports city, along with two or three others. This first sports city will be the model for the other cities, i.e. Wuyishan and Yangzhou, which are considered to be two of the most beautiful cities in China.

The first phase of the Samaranch Sports Town will be built on 882 acres of land at a cost of $1 billion (U.S.). The goal will be to develop a sports academy on this site, commencing on January 1, 2012.

The site selected for the Samaranch city is magnificent. My old friend Samaranch would be pleased with the development underway in his honor. The site plan is extraordinary and will be unique in all of China.

Shaolin Abbot Shi Yongxin and Kung Fu

His Holiness Abbot Shi Yongxin

His Holiness Abbot Shi Yongxin receives the English translation of a 1,500-year-old Chinese manuscript on the Shaolin philosophy of Kung Fu from Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich on Sunday, April 24 in Bejing.

I also presented to the Abbot of the Shaolin monks the manuscript, “Shaolin Kung Fu Secrets,” that we now have embedded in our new academic platform.

The Abbot, who is the spiritual leader of 400 million Chan Buddhists, has lent his total support to the manuscript and he will do a video piece that will be embedded in the course as an intro, inviting all Shaolin Kung Fu disciples to use the manuscript as a textbook. There will be a certificate that will be given upon completion of the coursework both by the Abbot and the Academy. He will also provide demonstration videos to be included throughout the book on the various Kung Fu concepts, which will feature his best warriors.

We will formally present this course in Los Angeles during the “Shaolin Summit” on Saturday, May 21, 2011 to some 2,000 Grandmasters from throughout the world who will assemble for their annual international meeting.

Protocol – University of Zhengzhou

We have signed a new and very meaningful protocol with the Physical Education College of Zhengzhou University, which is where one lands when they wish to visit the Shaolin Temple. I did in fact visit the Temple during my trip, even though my meetings with the Abbot were held in Beijing. We have a great commitment from the university, which is led by Dr. Wu, a former world champion in skeet shooting.

Banners were put up across all roads leading onto the campus specifically welcoming the United States Sports Academy. We still need to work out many of the details, but they are enthusiastic.

China Ministry of Sport

I had a late night meeting before departing from China with Zhiwei Pan, commonly known as Peter Pan, who is the Director General of the Chinese Ministry of Sport. He served as the head of public relations for the Beijing Olympiad.

First of Three Sports Cities Dedicated in China

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Dedication of a new sports city in Fujian, China
Dedication of a new sports city in Fujian, China
Dedication of a new sports city in Fujian, China
Dedication of a new sports city in Fujian, China

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich participated Thursday, April 21 in the dedication of a new sports city in Fujian, China named in honor of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The launching of the “Juan Antonio Samaranch Sports City” comes on the first anniversary of the death of the Olympic icon in Barcelona, Spain. Samaranch stepped down as IOC president in 2001 after 21 years in the post and is credited for improving the financial health of the Olympic Movement, developing TV rights and sponsorship negotiations and strengthening Olympic Solidarity.

In China, Dr. Rosandich and Dr. Jie “Jack” Guo, the President of WorldTeam Sports, cut the ribbon for the development of the Samaranch city, which attracted about 200 government officials and distinguished guests. The event, seen as a major economic development catalyst for the Quangang region, was hosted by the United States Sports Academy, WorldTeam Sports, Quanzhou City and sponsored by several national and international organizations.

This $1 billion project on 822 acres is the first of three cities that the Academy is working on with Dr. Guo, who is deemed the leading sport entrepreneur in China and who represents the NBA in that nation. Dr. Guo is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from the Academy in recognition of work to develop sports in the world’s most populous nation.

Part of the city’s development includes the creation of a Sports Academy, which will provide much of the same sports-related academic content that is found at the Academy in Daphne, Ala. Other major elements will include the Samaranch Memorial Hall Museum, Samaranch Sports Park, Olympic Convention Center, International Sports Hall of Fame and the International Olympic Champion Training and Therapeutic Center.

“The site selected for the city is magnificent and the ceremony was particularly well staged as only the Chinese can do,” Dr. Rosandich said. “My old friend Samaranch would be pleased with the development under way in his honor. The site plan is extraordinary and will be unique in all of China.”

Internet Sports Shows to be Created by Academy and Panhandle Sports Broadcasting

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Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich (right) and Panhandle Sports Broadcasting President Bill Brownell sign an agreement Friday April 22, 2011 to begin producing sports-related programs broadcast on the Internet.

The Academy and Panhandle Sports Broadcasting (PSB) signed an agreement on Friday, April 22, 2011 that allows them to combine both organizations’ considerable online experience and sports-related resources to produce informative and entertaining sports programing on the Internet.

Programming will vary from interviews with prominent individuals in sport who visit the Daphne, Ala., campus, to shows on significant sports-related issues that use the Academy’s faculty and staff, who are experts in their fields. In addition, the Academy will incorporate relevant sports-related programming into its online academic programs.

“For years, I have been a big fan of the United States Sports Academy and have wanted to work with this great institution,” said Bill Brownell, Panhandle Sports Broadcasting president. “This is an excellent opportunity from our standpoint to create a lot of must-see content and publicize what the Academy is doing.”

PSB is an Alabama and Northwest Florida sports electronic news and Internet broadcasting company, which provides live streaming coverage of college, high school and youth sports events, sports talk shows and other programs.

The new partnership creates a studio on the Academy campus. The Academy and PSB will work together to plan, produce, archive and post media content of sports-related programming on the Internet, PSB websites and other proper media outlets.

People, Places, and Programs

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Sheniqua Ferguson

Auburn University sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson (middle) accepts the Academy’s 2010 Athlete of the Year Award from Dr. Fred Cromartie, the Academy’s Dean of Academic Affairs, (right) as head track and field coach Ralph Spry looks on. The award presentation occurred at the War Eagle Invitational on Saturday, April 16 at Auburn University.

Dr. T.J. Rosandich, the Academy’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, is traveling this month to Greece, the Middle East and Malaysia. He will make a presentation at the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in Olympia, Greece, about the Academy’s technology. He will then travel on to Bahrain to formally open the Academy’s Diploma Program before heading to Abu Dhabi to make a presentation for EDRAK, which would like the Academy to develop a college of sport management and run a continuing education program. Finally, he will go to Malaysia, where the Academy has a pending program to retrain 2,000 physical education teachers per year.

Board of Trustees and founding member Dr. Robert Block resigned after 39 years of service. Dr. Block served as the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Jack Lengyel, Trustee Emeritus, was appointed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to a special Fiesta Bowl panel to restore its reputation and maintain its role as an Arizona showcase. An investigation found questionable spending of the bowl’s funds by its CEO, which has jeopardized its status as a BCS bowl game.

Academy National Faculty member Dr. Reginald Overton is currently in Thailand teaching a course in sports facilities and event management. Another national faculty member, Mr. Robert Myers, will teach Seminar in Sports Medicine in Thailand from 23-27 May. The courses are delivered in conjunction with the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) and are a part of the Academy’s international certification programs in sports management and coaching. Dr. Overton is a professor in sports management and is Program Coordinator of the Sports Administration Graduate Program at Virginia State University. Mr. Myers is the Director of Athletics and Leisure studies at Hagerstown (Md.) Community College.

Betsy Smith, the Academy’s Associate Dean of Continuing Education, attended the USA Sport Safety Athlete Abuse Prevention Summit in Boston, Mass. on 29 April. The summit addressed the sport safety crisis in America with particular focus on the female athlete. The Academy’s 2009 Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award recipient Dr. Robert Cantu, who is the Co-Director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was the keynote speaker. Guest speakers included National Faculty member Dr. Herb Appenzeller and Dr. Frederick Mueller, recipient of the Academy’s 2007 Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award.

Duwayne Escobedo was named the Academy’s Editor of Publications in April and will serve as Editor of The Sport Journal, the world’s largest peer-reviewed online sport journal.

Ashton Eaton

Ashton Eaton the 2010 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award recipient.

University of Oregon heptathlete and decathloner Ashton Eaton accepted the Academy’s 2010 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award. The award was presented by Oregon Track and Field Coach Harry Marra during an Oregon track meet 6 May. Eaton set the world record for most points in the seven-event heptathlon and was the first athlete to win three consecutive NCAA championships in the 10-event decathalon.

Phil Jackson, whose 11 National Basketball Association (NBA) championships are the most by any coach in history, is retiring after a 20-year coaching career. The former L.A. Lakers and Chicago Bulls coach earned the Academy’s 2010 Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award.

Auburn University sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson accepted the 2010 Alabama Female Athlete of the Year Award from the United States Sports Academy during the War Eagle Invitational Track and Field Meet held on campus April 16. Dr. Fred Cromartie, the Academy’s Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of Doctoral Studies, presented the award.

Academy’s Art Donation to USS Alabama Battleship Park Honors American Warriors

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Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich (left), Jesse Andrews Jr. Marine Corps League Detachment Commandant Jerry Cherne (middle), a retired U.S. Marine Corps chief warrant officer, and USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park Executive Director Bill Tunnell (right) unveil artist Harry Weber’s “Wounded Warrior” sculpture as part of an art donation by the Academy to the battleship on May 5, 2011 in Mobile, Ala.

For Harry Weber his sketches as a 24-year-old while serving in the U.S. Navy on river patrol boats in the Vietnam War remain some of the renowned artist’s most treasured creations.

Talking about his collection of sketches, “A Warrior’s Sketchbook,” puts Weber right back into the tall reeds — dirty, dripping wet and covered in bug bites. Despite the conditions, he captured the behind-the-scenes events of his fellow warriors in battle as often as he could scrounge up something to draw on and draw with.

“These mean a lot to me,” Weber says. “These men were a big part of my life. Some are still alive and some are not. No tablecloth or paper was safe around me. More than anything else the daily recordings were my daily occupation. I wanted people to remember the war and the people there.”

His artistic tribute to those who served was donated by the United States Sports Academy along with a bronze sculpture, “Wounded Warrior,” to the USS Alabama Battleship Park during a recent presentation at the USS Alabama Memorial Park Aircraft Pavilion in Mobile, Ala. The ceremony included 25 members of The Jesse Andrews Jr. and P.L. Wilson Marine Corps League Detachments who led the presentation of the colors, the pledge of allegiance and a moment of silence for all Prisoners of War and war veterans.

Bill Tunnell says the faces in Weber’s sketches bring to life the USS Alabama’s Vietnam-era exhibit, which includes a POW’s cell and one of three river patrol boats on display in the country.

“This is an outstanding collection created by the multi-talented Harry Weber,” said Tunnell, the Executive Director of USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. “We are honored to partner with the United States Sports Academy in this wonderful project.”

Weber, an award-winning artist who earned the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2011 Sport Artist of the Year Award, says the 13 Vietnam War sketches amount to about 10 percent of all the drawings he did during his tour of duty and remain among the only ones that survive today. Unfortunately, most of the sketches were lost or destroyed in Vietnam.

“To have these at the USS Alabama Battleship is a fantastic honor,” Weber, a St. Louis native, says. “I can’t explain how much it means to me to have people appreciate it.”

The compelling series of sketches Weber compiled chronicling his experiences, include warriors in everyday life from patrolling the rivers and transporting Vietnamese prisoners to eating C rations for breakfast and stealing brief solace behind sand bags during fighting.

Weber’s Vietnam War sketches follow in the footsteps of painter Donald Moss. Moss is another Academy Sport Artist of the Year, winning in 1985. He drew his impressions of the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, while fighting there as a young U.S. Marine Corps private.

Weber’s “Wounded Warrior” sculpture depicts a citizen soldier who appears distressed and is either defiantly planting his Battle Flag or supporting himself with it. “Wounded Warrior” is a small study for a planned heroic sculpture to honor the United States citizen-soldier. The sculpture, which conveys the warrior’s unique courage and strength to carry on even in harm’s way, is meant to represent no specific branch or period of American military history, and is deliberately ambiguous in several aspects. His planting of the flag symbolizes the interdependence between soldier and country. The flag also suggests national allegiance and the bond between the warrior and his comrades.

Weber says he would like someday to turn the piece into a large sculpture as a monument to all American warriors. “Most war memorials are specific to a war or conflict. To me the whole idea of the citizen soldier is one principal that our country is founded on.”

Weber, who earned an art history degree from Princeton University before joining the Navy, has developed more than 100 large sculpture works and more than 200 smaller pieces. His sculptures have won several major awards at national juried competitions. His works appear in private collections in the United States and abroad, on the covers of numerous national magazines and in museums throughout the country. Monumental works that Weber created of famous sports figures are prominently featured at 12 different professional and college stadiums.

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