2011

Academy to Serve as Toys for Tots Collection Center

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Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich and Marines during the 2010 Toys for Tots campaign

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich and Marines during the 2010 Toys for Tots campaign in which more than 2,000 gifts were collected at the university for needy children.

For the 17th consecutive year, the United States Sports Academy and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Foundation are teaming up to help underprivileged children in Mobile and Baldwin Counties enjoy a memorable Christmas.

Long considered the region’s largest collection center for the Toys for Tots program, local residents, organizations, companies and schools may drop off their new, unwrapped toys at the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus to help assist those who need it most this time of year.

Donations will be accepted through Dec. 10 during the university’s regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week. The Academy is located at One Academy Drive, Daphne, Ala., 36526.

The primary goal of the Toys for Tots program is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens. Since the inception of Toys for Tots, more than 400 million toys have been distributed to more than 188 million needy children.

The Toys for Tots program was founded in 1947 by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. William L. Hendricks, when Hendricks and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles first collected and distributed 5,000 toys to children. The following year, the Marine Corps Reserve adopted the concept and made it a national endeavor.

“It is my understanding that there are more children in need this year than ever before, given the nation’s economy,” said Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “If you can do so, please give generously this year and make it a memorable Christmas for a child.”

If you do not live in Baldwin or Mobile Counties, please visit the Toys for Tots website at www.toysfortots.org/donate/ to find a drop location in your area or to make a donation online.

Please contact the Academy’s Matthew Cope or Bob Kline at 251-626-3303, if you have any questions on this project.

World Champion Gymnast and WNBA Star Voted Academy’s Male and Female October Athletes of the Month

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Seimone Augustus

Seimone Augustus

World Champion gymnast Kohei Uchimura and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) standout Seimone Augustus were voted the United States Sports Academy’s October Athletes of the Month.

Veteran Japanese gymnast Uchimura became the first person in history to win three straight world titles. In all, he won four medals and the men’s all-around title in the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo and each performance ignited the Japanese fans who roared and gave him standing ovations. The Japanese gymnast was so dominant that many are calling him the greatest gymnast of all time. Every time he has taken the floor since winning the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, no one has come close to catching Uchimura, who finished with 93.631 points. He finished with his largest margin of victory, scoring more than three points more than Germany’s Philipp Boy, the runner-up.

Augustus, a Minnesota Lynx basketball player, earned the WNBA Most Valuable Player award in the championship series for leading the Lynx in a three-game sweep over the Atlanta Dream. Augustus averaged 24.9 points per game in the finals with 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists and played stifling defense. She shut down Atlanta’s best shooter, Angel McCoughtry, in the decisive Game 3. Augustus forced McCoughtry into a 9-of-25 shooting performance, after she had scored a WNBA finals record 38 points in Game 2 of the finals.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website between the first and second Tuesdays of each month to vote on the Athlete of the Month. The votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the winners and they are announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of The Sport Update.

Finishing second in the male athlete category was Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Through the first seven games of the National Football League season this fall, Rodgers has amassed 2,372 yards through the air, with 20 touchdowns and a mere three interceptions.
The 27-year-old Rodgers was on pace to eclipse Dan Marino’s 5,084-yard single-season passing record set in 1984, Peyton Manning’s passing rating of 121.7 set in 2004 and Drew Brees’ 70.7 completion mark set in 2009.

The runner up to Augustus in the Female October Athlete of the Month voting was 16-year-old Jordyn Wieber, who came out of nowhere to capture a gold medal in the women’s all-around in her first ever World Championship competition. Wieber, a high school junior from DeWitt, Mich., scored 59.382 points, nipping Russia’s Viktoria Komova by just 0.033 points. She became just the sixth American woman to win the all-around title and third since 2007.

Third place winners were David Freese, who won both the World Series and National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player awards playing third base for the world champion St. Louis Cardinals; and Great Britian’s Chrissie Wellington, who won her fourth Ironman World Championship title in Kona, Hawaii. Wellington finished the race, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run, in 8 hours, 55 minutes, and 8 seconds.

The winners will be considered as a candidate for the 2011 Athlete of the Year ballot. In December 2011, the Academy will name the Male and Female Athletes of the Year for the 27th consecutive year. The recipients of these prestigious awards are selected annually through worldwide balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.

In 2010, the Male Athlete of the Year was Spain’s star football (soccer) player David Villa and the Female Athlete of the Year was South Korea’s No. 1 figure skater Yuna Kim. Both of these individuals dominated the 2010 ballot, receiving more than 12 votes per second from across the world.

“Venus and Mars” Sculptures Dedicated by Academy in Honor of Two Olympians

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Sergey Eylanbekov (left) and Jack Scharr (right)

Russian sculptor Sergey Eylanbekov (left) and Jack Scharr (right), an Academy Board of Trustees member and president of Fine Art Ltd., at the unveiling of the bronze “Venus and Mars” torsos in front of The American Sport Art Museum & Archives on Friday, Nov. 11.

The United States Sports Academy unveiled two solid bronze torsos, “Venus and Mars,” that were dedicated in the honor of two Olympians.

Russian sculptor Sergey Eylanbekov, the Academy’s 2004 Sport Artist of the Year, created the bronzes this summer in recognition of the July marriage of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of the Principality of Monaco, who are both Olympians.

Albert, the ruler of Monaco since 2005, competed in the bobsled in five Winter Olympics between Calgary in 1988 and Salt Lake City in 2002. Albert’s wife, Charlene Wittstock, is a former South African Olympic swimmer who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Today, Albert is an active International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and Wittstock is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics movement.

Eylanbekov was present for the dedication of the sculptures, male and female torsos, Friday, Nov. 11. The torsos guard the front doors to The American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) in Daphne, Ala. The Academy’s museum, which opened in 1984, contains one of the largest sport art collections in the world with more than 2,000 pieces in all media by many famous national and international artists.

The artist, considered by many to be one of the world’s top sculptors, said he meant for the torsos to look rugged. The male torso, “Mars,” represents valor and manhood, and the female torso, “Venus,” represents love and fertility.

“They do not represent idealistic beauty. They symbolize life,” Eylanbekov said following the unveiling ceremony.

Albert sent word to Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich that he was very pleased with the artwork. However, Monaco’s Prince joked that his abs don’t look as good as the ones on “Mars” anymore.

The “Venus and Mars” bronze torsos sculpted by Sergey Eylanbekov

The “Venus and Mars” bronze torsos sculpted by Sergey Eylanbekov, the Academy’s 2004 Sport Artist of the Year, were dedicated in honor of two Olympians–Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of the Principality of Monaco. Albert competed in the bobsled in five Winter Olympics, while his wife, Charlene, was a South African swimmer in the 2000 Summer Oympics.

Eylanbekov said he is happy with the way his bronze torsos, “Venus” and “Mars,” turned out, and that he appreciates that Albert likes his work. He did both sculptures at one time without going back and making any improvements from his original clay.
“It is straightforward work that’s all about form and all about sculpture. I tend to like it that way,” Eylanbekov said. “If the Prince likes them, then I am content.”

Eylanbekov now lives and works in New York City where he immigrated in 1989 after leaving Moscow. Speaking no English and without funds or contacts, he was forced to start his art career over in America. While he struggled, he formed a rock ‘n’ roll band that enjoyed success playing New York City clubs.

In 2002, he became an Official Artist for the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. He also produced the magnificent work that became the U.S. Olympic Team Commemorative Statue.

Eylanbekov finally earned significant international attention as an artist in 2003 for his acrylic sculpture, “Five Continents.” It won the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Sport and Art Contest and was then entered into the international competition in 2004. The Academy hosted and judged that contest and it is currently conducting its fourth consecutive U.S. Olympic art contest in cooperation with the Art of the Olympians and USOC for the 2012 London Olympics.

Competing against entries from 39 countries, Eylanbekov’s sculpture won the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Sport Art Competition for the 2004 Athens Olympics. He produced the sculptures in the innovative medium of sculpture-grade acrylics. Eylanbekov’s beautiful, multi-dimensional images brought him even more acclaim, as well as significant advances in his career.

The Honorees & The Trustees at the 27th Annual Academy’s Awards of Sport

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The 27th annual Academy’s Awards of Sport were held Nov. 10-11 on the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Alabama.

There have been many great classes over the past 27 years and the composition of this year’s class is certainly as good as any.

“In our eyes, each and every one of the honorees and trustees are champions in their own right,” said Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “Thank you most sincerely to everyone who made this a very memorable Awards of Sport celebration.”

Below are photos of the 2011 award recipients and the 2011 Board of Trustees. To view more photos or download them, please click here.

Honorees group photo

Pictured in the photo are the United States Sports Academy’s 2011 Awards of Sport honorees. From left to right on the top row are: Michael Haynes (Distinguished Service Award), Jack Lengyel (Trustee emeritus), Dr. Herb Appenzeller (Distinguished Service Award), and Anthony Robles (Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award). In the front row from left to right are: Ferenc Németh (2012 Sport Artist of the Year), Al Buehler (Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award), Dr. Steve Devick (Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award), China Jude (Alumna of the Year), Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq (Distinguished Service Award), retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Hankins (Distinguished Service Award), Marino Vanhoenacker (Jim Thorpe All-Around Award), and Joan Cronan (Carl Maddox Sports Management Award).

Trutees and Honorees group photo

Pictured in the photo are the United States Sports Academy’s 2011 Awards of Sport honorees and the Academy’s Board of Trustees. From left to right on the top row are: Michael Haynes (Distinguished Service Award), Marino Vanhoenacker (Jim Thorpe All-Around Award), Sergey Eylanbekov (2004 Sports Artist of the Year), retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Hankins (Distinguished Service Award), Dr. Lee McElroy Jr. (Trustee), Jack Scharr (Trustee), Ferenc Németh (2012 Sport Artist of the Year), Dr. Gary Cunningham (Trustee), Dr. Marino Niccolai Trustee), Dr. Linda Moore (Trustee), Randy Smith (Financial Adviser), Dr. Don Wukasch (Trustee), Anthony Robles (Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award), and Jack Lengyel (Trustee emeritus). On the front row from left to right are: Dr. Herb Appenzeller (Distinguished Service Award), Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq (Distinguished Service Award), Al Buehler (Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award), Dr. Steve Devick (Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award), Joan Cronan (Carl Maddox Sports Management Award), Tom Cafaro (Trustee), China Jude (Alumna of the Year), Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (Academy President and CEO), Dr. George Uhlig (Trustee), Dr. T.J. Rosandich (Academy Vice President and COO), Robert C. Campbell III (Trustee Chair), Dr. Milly Cowles (Trustee), Dr. Robert Block (Trustee), Kimberly Archie (National Cheer Safety Foundation Founder and CEO).

Athletic Director China Jude Receives the Academy’s 2012 Alumna of the Year Award

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China Jude (right)

China Jude (right) received the Academy’s 2012 Alumna of the Year Award for her strong leadership as an athletic director. She currently oversees the athletic department at NCAA Division II Queens College of The City University of New York.

China Jude was a 27-year-old divorcee with a 3-year-old son to support when she made the decision to earn her master’s degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy.

Jude admits she had “limited career opportunities” at the time while living in Chicago. Earning her degree from the Academy in Daphne, Ala., launched her career in sports, she reported at the 27th annual Awards of Sport celebration where she received the university’s 2012 Alumna of the Year award.

Now Jude, who earned her master’s in 1996, is assistant vice president of athletics at Queens College of The City University of New York where she oversees the athletics department’s 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports, as well as student and community recreational programs. She has served in sports administration at the college level ever since graduating from “America’s Sports University,” which is the largest graduate school in sports education in the world.

“This place molded me from a person who worked in sports to someone who is a sports professional,” Jude said. “It was hard but my son, who is 22 now, respects that decision. It was all for him.”

Before she came to the Academy for her master’s degree, Jude said she never dreamed of overseeing a university’s athletic department. A stand-out volleyball player at Alabama State University, her previous work in sports had been entirely in parks and recreation before earning her master’s.

“I was coming from a parks and recreation background,” Jude said. “I had no collegiate experience. I was very fortunate that by the time I completed the Academy and my mentorship with the Senior Bowl, I really had the ability to look at sports as a business. The Academy really prepared me and gave me confidence and the faculty supported and nurtured me. So when I graduated and started working in 1996, I was off and running. I would definitely recommend the Academy to anyone who really wants to work in sports management whether it’s in the college or the corporate world.”

In August, Jude took over at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y., after four years as the Director of Athletics at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania—the smallest program in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

At Cheyney, Jude is credited with helping move the school past a three-year NCAA probationary period, restoring the athletics program to a competitive state and strengthening the booster club through successful fundraising. Under her leadership, she had two PSAC Basketball Coaches of the Year, 30 All-PSAC athletes, eight individual PSAC Championships, two Academic All-Americans, and other regional and national honors. The department also earned a 2010 NCAA Division II Game Environment Award.

She currently is in charge of sports, intramural and recreation programs at Queens College. Its Division II sports include nationally ranked men’s and women’s tennis teams, as well as a fencing team. In addition, she oversees Queens’ successful community recreation programs for youth and adults, which include fitness training, tennis and swimming programs, youth summer camps and a Saturday education and recreation program.

Jude, who recently completed the Management Leadership Education Program at Harvard University, said providing student-athletes positive college academic and athletic experiences are her No. 1 concern.

“She makes it very clear why we are so proud of our alumni,” said Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “She is an outstanding AD and tremendous person.”

Academy Seminar Examines Protecting Athletes from Head Injuries in Sport

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Dr. Steve Devick

Dr. Steve Devick

Michael Haynes says in hindsight that one of his best plays in his storied football career was the decision NOT to play.

During a free seminar sponsored by the United States Sports Academy that delved into one of sports hottest issues – concussions – the NFL Hall of Fame defensive back told a riveted audience about suffering brain trauma for the first time in 1972.

He was a starting freshman safety for the Arizona State Sun Devils and was playing against the Missouri Tigers in the nationally televised Fiesta Bowl. Missouri was on the Arizona State 10-yard line when someone blindsided him on a block. He returned to the huddle wobbly and in a daze. His teammates asked him if he was OK. Then they asked him to tell them the defensive play signaled in from a coach on the sideline. Haynes had no clue.

Trainers came out to check on him and he answered all their questions right. Then his roommate said, “Who am I?” Haynes didn’t know and that’s when he came out of the game.

“Honest to God, I couldn’t tell you who he was,” said Haynes, who won the Academy’s 2011 Distinguished Service Award for his advocacy on player health and safety issues . “I sat down on the bench and put a towel over my head and cried. All I could think was, ‘This is why my mom did not want me to play football. I’m so glad she’s not here.’”

Meanwhile, all of his teammates teased him, getting a kick that he couldn’t tell them their names either.

“It was funny to them,” Haynes said. “It wasn’t considered a serious injury back then.”

However at halftime in the locker room his memory returned. He wanted to go back in the big game. The coaches cleared him to play. However, a senior free safety pleaded for Haynes to sit out so he could play the last game of his football career. Haynes said, “Yes.”

Michael Haynes

Michael Haynes

“He said, ‘Mike, man, it’s my last college game. Please, let me finish the game,’” Haynes recalled. “It turns out it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The doctors were going to let me back in.”

Today, concussions have become a major health issue in sports as mounting research shows a link to serious brain damage, even death.

Playing with a concussion can lead to death from Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), a condition that causes the brain to swell, shutting down the brain stem and resulting in respiratory failure. Even more scary is the fact that children and teenagers are more likely to get a concussion than an adult, and take longer to recover from concussions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out. In the past two years, eight youth have died from concussion-related problems and dozens more have suffered catastrophic brain injuries.

Another growing concern is the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from concussions. CTE is a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head and its symptoms include chronic headaches, fatigue, sleep difficulties, sensitivity to light and noise, dizziness and short-term memory loss. Players who suffered multiple concussions are three times more likely to suffer depression.

It is estimated that every season, 1 in 5 U.S. athletes in a contact sport suffers a concussion and more than 3.5 million sports and related concussions occur each year in the United States. In addition, the chance of a 30-49 year old man receiving a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s or another memory-related disease is 1 in 1,000 and dramatically increases to 1 in 53 for an NFL retiree who is the same age, the CDC reports.

Kimberly Archie

Kimberly Archie

Still, Haynes and three other nationally renowned speakers at the seminar agreed that, although more is known about concussions than in 1972 and even a few years ago, a lot more education is needed throughout the sports world to protect athletes from further permanent injury or even death.

A common theme during the Nov. 11 seminar, “Concussions as Catastrophic Injury in Sport and Cheerleading,” at the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Ala., was the lack of proper planning and protection that currently exists to protect athletes, cheerleaders and others in sports. The Academy was founded on the premise that those in leadership positions in the field of sport must be better trained to teach, train and protect people at all levels from youth sports to professional leagues.

Dr. Steve Devick, one of the featured speakers, invented the King-Devick Test that has indicated in research done by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine that it can easily, rapidly and accurately assess whether a player has suffered a concussion and should be removed from play.

“One good thing I hear from teams who use the King-Devick Test is that it gets athletes to shut up and stop saying, ‘I’m fine. Let me back in the game,’” said Devick, who earned the Academy’s 2011 Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award.

Devick emphasized that “there is no such thing as a tough brain.” After a concussion diagnosis, players must rest their brains to properly heal. This includes taking a break from cognitive functions, such as doing school work or playing video games, Devick said.

The recent Academy seminar also featured Kimberly Archie, the National Cheer Safety Foundation founder and CEO, and Dr. Herb Appenzeller, a leading expert and authority on sport law and risk management who won the Academy’s 2011 Distinguished Service Award.

The presentations hit close to home with Melissa Love. She is a nurse for a Fairhope, Ala., neurologist and mother of two boys who play football. They attended the seminar with her.

“This was an exciting and eye-opening program,” Love said. “It is important that we as parents stand up for our kids. There are many youth coaches out there who should have heard these presentations today, so they do what is right.”

Sharon Hawkins watched the seminar that was streamed live on the Internet by Panhandle Sports Broadcasting. Her husband, Wayne Hawkins, was a five-time All-Pro guard in his 10 seasons from 1960-1969 with the Oakland Raiders. He now suffers from short-term memory loss, dementia and even struggles to process mundane daily events, she said.

“I have the feeling that there will be more of this type of conference with many more trainers, coaches, players and family members in attendance,” she said. “This information is life changing. It is so important for those who support the athletes and everyone else to know about concussions and what happens inside the brain.”

One middle school coach, Trey Collins, said he plans to use the King-Devick Test from now on when he’s coaching.

“I think you have to,” Collins said. “You have to look at it, if nothing else, as a preventative issue as far as kids’ safety and the legal issues for yourself and your schools.”

Herb Appenzeller

Herb Appenzeller

Devick said he hopes in the next five years that the test will become commonplace on every sideline in sporting events from youth to professional leagues around the world. In fact, teams from the University of Florida and a professional New Zealand rugby team currently employ it.

One day, Devick even imagines when a teenager falls off his bike and slams his head into the ground, a parent will reach into the medicine cabinet and pull out a King-Devick Test to check whether their child suffered a concussion and needs to be treated by a doctor.

“The real issue with concussions is education,” Devick said. “It is the only thing that is really going to change the way we view head injuries in sport. What we are really discussing is our most valuable asset, which is our children. I think there will be a groundswell and it is already starting.”

Concussion Seminar Summary

A common theme among all of four nationally renowned speakers at the Academy’s free seminar, “Concussions as Catastrophic Injury in Sport and Cheerleading,” was the lack of proper planning and protection currently to help prevent athletes from suffering severe sports injuries. In addition, all the speakers talked about the need to publicize new information that can help leaders in sport educate others so that they can protect the health and safety of athletes. The Academy was founded in 1972 on the premise that those in leadership positions in the field of sport must be better trained to teach, train and protect athletes in youth, amateur and professional sports.

Dr. Steve Devick, an inventor of the King-Devick Test that detects concussions, highlighted the recent research by University of Pennsylvania and talked about the science underlying the test. He stressed that it is not a test to be used to determine if an athlete is ready to return to play after suffering a concussion. That type of testing is beyond the scope of the King-Devick Test. He argued that the test is so inexpensive and easy to administer on the sideline of a sporting event that it should be widely used. He also clearly explained and showed how axons, which transmit nerve impulses, are damaged by head injuries and can lead to brain damage.

Mike Haynes, an NFL Hall of Fame defensive back and a longtime advocate of player health and safety, discussed how the NFL is looking at adopting better safety measures to prevent concussions, which are known more formally as mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). He stressed the importance of preventing repeat injuries by sending players back into action too soon after suffering a TBI. Haynes has worked with NFL officials on player safety issues. He indicated that a few NFL team are quietly using the King-Devick Test and he expects it to become formally used after more review.

Kimberly Archie, National Cheer Safety Foundation founder and CEO, is a leading proponent of cheerleading safety. Her own daughter suffered a catastrophic injury eight years ago while cheering. She has founded a non-profit advocacy group and travels around the country promoting safer cheerleading practices and urging organizations to develop emergency plans for when catastrophic injuries do occur. Archie’s presentation was very powerful. She talked about the numerous serious, life-altering injuries that occur each year from cheerleading accidents. Many of these injuries involve spinal injuries and many involve TBIs.

Dr. Herb Appenzeller, a leading expert and author on sport law and risk management for more than four decades, focused on how risk management involves organizations developing and implementing plans to lessen the possibility of athletes suffering catastrophic injuries and to improve responses when such injuries do occur. Dr. Appenzeller has found in his work that a majority of schools at every level of competition do not have up-to-date prevention plans and they also do not have good response plans in place.

You can also view online a short interview with Devick and Haynes about raising awareness on head injuries.

The Academy will soon have this seminar available complete with graphics and other enhancements for anyone to view online by going to the Academy website.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich Earns Liberty Medal

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Thomas P. Rosandich (right) and Jack Scharr (left)

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (right) receives the Statute of Liberty Club’s and The Wiegand Foundation’s Liberty Award from Jack Scharr (left) for his efforts to improve the sport profession around the globe. The award was presented Thursday, Nov. 10 during a special event on the university’s Daphne campus.

For all his contributions and service to improving sport education in the United States and around the world, Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich received the Liberty Medal.

The Liberty Medal presented by the Statue of Liberty Club and The Wiegand Foundation goes to individuals and organizations that do excellent work in promoting Freedom and Liberty throughout the world. Honorees receive the medal that shows August Bartholdi sculpting the Statue of Liberty and commemorates the Oct. 28, 2011, 125th anniversary of the dedication of the statue.

“It is my great pleasure to present Dr. Rosandich with the Liberty Medal, one of the first given,” said Jack Scharr, president of Fine Art Ltd which worked with the Statue of Liberty Club to commission Sculptor Don Wiegand to create the piece.

Dr. Rosandich is the founder and president of the United States Sports Academy. A native of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., and son of Croatian immigrants, he has led efforts in several capacities throughout his lifetime to enhance sport training and education around the world. As founder of the Academy in 1972, the institution that is well known as “America’s Sports University,” Dr. Rosandich has delivered sport-related services and education programs in more than 60 countries. From the beginning, the Academy’s general mission has been to serve the nation and the world as a sport education resource, upgrading sport through programs of instruction, research and service.

Through his career in the U.S. Marine Corp and with the U.S. State Department’s “Ambassadors of Sport” program, Dr. Rosandich was directly responsible for bringing the Peace Corps to Southeast Asia in the 1960s. As an American sports ambassador, he worked with athletes, coaches and programs in more than 50 countries. He also founded what is now called the South East Asia (SEA) Games.

Dr. Rosandich served as a coach or consultant in 10 different Olympic Games from the 1956 Melbourne Olympics to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. For his service to the Olympic Movement, he received the highest award of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Order, in 1997. He was bestowed the highest honor given by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) when he was awarded the President’s Medal in 2000. He also earned the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2008, which has recognized six Presidents and many other prominent Americans in science, business, sports and other fields.

“This prestigious Liberty Medal is particularly significant to me since my mother and father both came to this country through Ellis Island,” Dr. Rosandich said. “I am very honored to receive it. For 40 years, the Academy has devoted its efforts to improving the profession of sport in America and around the globe.”

Wiegand and The Wiegand Foundation, Inc., in Chesterfield, Mo., along with the Statue of Liberty Club recently created the Liberty Medal for the 125th anniversary. The new Liberty Medal has also been awarded recently to retired U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullens, Bob Hope posthumously and Francois Delattre, the ambassador of France to the United States.

In 1985, Wiegand was first commissioned to sculpt and cast a Bartholdi Sculpting Liberty piece for the 1986 reopening and centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty. The first bronze cast is on exhibit at the Bob Hope Memorial Library on Ellis Island.

For the statue’s 120th anniversary, Wiegand sculpted a bas-relief of the Bartholdi Sculpting Liberty composition which was presented by the Statue of Liberty Club to Musée Bartholdi in Colmar, France. A bronze 100th anniversary Bartholdi medallion, patterned after the bas-relief, was commissioned by the Statue of Liberty Club and made available to club members worldwide.

Academy Honors Prince Albert II and Hungary President Pal Schmitt

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President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left) and Prince Albert II of Monaco (right)

Prince Albert II of Monaco (right) receives the International Honorary Doctorate from Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left) recently at the Peace and Sport International Forum in Monaco.

Two heads of state who are former Olympians and who have made great contributions to the Olympic Movement were recently honored by the United States Sports Academy.

University President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich presented the Academy’s International Honorary Doctorate to H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is the only head of state who is a five-time Olympian in the bobsled and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member. He also gave the Academy’s 2011 Eagle Award to Hungary President Pál Schmitt, who won two team épée gold medals in fencing and was once a candidate for the IOC presidency. Both award presentations were made at the fifth edition of the Peace and Sport International Forum on Thursday, Oct. 27 in the Principality of Monaco.

Albert, who graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College in Massachusetts, steered the two-man and four-man bobsled in Winter Olympics between Calgary in 1988 and Salt Lake City in 2002.

He also has been an active IOC member since 1985, serving on several committees, including the cultural, marketing and nominations committees. Albert, who holds voting rights on Olympic venues, has also served on the Coordination Committees for the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and Turin, Italy, in 2006. He has served as president of the Monaco National Olympic Committee (NOC) since 1994.

“The arrangements were outstanding for the presentation of the Honorary Doctorate, which was made in recognition of Prince Albert’s outstanding contributions to sport as a high school athlete, a college athlete, as an Olympian, and of course as a member of the Olympic Executive Committee,” Dr. Rosandich says. “His most recent contribution being recognized, of course, was the outstanding effort put forth in staging the Peace and Sport Forum, which was most impressive.”

President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left) and Hungary President Pál Schmitt (right)

Hungary President Pál Schmitt (right) earned the Academy’s 2011 Eagle Award for his longtime commitment to the Olympic Movement from university President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left) recently at the Peace and Sport International Forum in Monaco.

Schmitt earned the Eagle Award, the Academy’s highest international honor which annually goes to a world leader in sport to recognize that individual’s contributions in promoting international harmony, peace, and goodwill through the effective use of sport. The 69-year-old Schmitt devoted nearly 25 years to the Olympics during his career and earned two team épée gold medals in 1968 in Mexico and 1972 in Munich for the Hungarian National Fencing Team.

Schmitt, who earned election in August 2010 as Hungary’s president, served the IOC as its Chief of Protocol and presided over the World Olympians Association between 1999 and 2007. Elected as an IOC member in 1983, he served as vice-president of the IOC from 1995 until 1999. He was a candidate for the IOC Presidency in 2001 and finished fourth. In Hungary after the end of Communism in 1990, he became president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee.

“His service to the Olympic Movement is outstanding,” Dr. Rosandich says. “Few can match his contributions over the years.”

Hungarian Sculptor Ferenc Németh Receives Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year

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Ferenc Németh (left) and Jack Scharr (right)

Ferenc Németh (left) received his award as the Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year from Trustee Jack Scharr (right) during The Artist and The Athlete Tribute held Thursday, Nov. 10 on campus.

Hungarian sculptor Ferenc Németh whose bronzes depict many sports legends received the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year Award.

During the Academy’s The Artist and The Athlete Tribute on Thursday on the university’s campus in Daphne, Ala., Németh said he feels blessed to be an artist.

“It’s not me but the gods who deserve all the recognition for this award and my talent to create my artwork,” he said in English to the crowd of about 200 guests at the event.

The tribute included the unveiling of his “Cyclist” bronze sculpture that depicts three bicyclists riding side by side with the wheels of their bicycles forming the five rings that are the symbol of the Olympics. In addition, 12 more bronzes by Németh went on display for the first time at the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), one of the largest collections of sport art in the world.

In fact, Németh first rose to international prominence for his sculptures as a result of his success in the art competition at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Two of his exhibited works were bought by Juan Antonio Samaranch, the late president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and another sculpture went to the IOC museum.

For the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Németh created the street statue of “Olympic Pleasure” as a gift from Hungary. It was placed near the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, in view of the place where the Olympic Flame is lit every two years.

His cubist and constructivist styles depict many sports legends, such as Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Pete Sampras, Carl Lewis and Michael Jordan, as well as tributes to other famous people, events, activities and causes. He also makes figural bronze reliefs of Greek mythological themes. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are among the many prominent collectors of Németh’s work.

Németh, who donated 179 sculptures to ASAMA in early 2011, also plans in the future to work with the Academy to sculpt small bronze statues of the sports university’s male and female Athletes of the Year that will be given to them along with their award. The recipients of this prestigious award are selected annually in December through worldwide, online balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.

“His art has a unique style that captures the essence of sports,” said Academy President and CEO Thomas P. Rosandich. “We are very grateful that a renowned artist, like Németh, continues to honor us with his generosity.”

The Sport Artist of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. The recipient may use a variety of art media to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and the ecstasy of sport.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA, a division of the United States Sports Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,500 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

NCAA Champion Wrestler Anthony Robles Accepts the Academy’s Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award

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Anthony Robles and Robert C. Campbell III

Anthony Robles, an NCAA national wrestling champion who was born without a right leg, accepted the Academy’s Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award from Academy Board of Trustee Chairman Robert C. Campbell III on Thursday during The Artist and The Athlete Tribute.

Arizona State University wrestler Anthony Robles, who was born without a right leg, received the United States Sport Academy’s 2011 Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award.

Robles, who earned the award for winning the NCAA 125-pound men’s wrestling title in March, accepted the honor during the Academy’s The Artist & The Athlete Tribute on Thursday, Nov. 10. Robles was representing the athlete in the ceremony.

“I accept this honor on behalf of my mom,” Robles said in front of about 200 onlookers at the event at the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus. “She taught me that there is no such thing as a disability. She would tell me to do what you can with what you have and God will do the rest. It is because of her that I am who I am today. Thanks for honoring me and my family.”

The 23-year-old Robles capped his senior season and wrestling career undefeated at 36-0 and won the NCAA championship by defeating, 7-1, the defending national champion Matt McDonough of Iowa. He was voted the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler. Robles now travels the country teaching wrestling clinics to youth and giving motivational talks.

During his visit to the area, Robles spoke Thursday morning to more than 600 high school students at Daphne High School about how to overcome their perceived obstacles and be “unstoppable.” Robles received a standing ovation at the end of his talk, which Principal Meredith Foster reported was the first one ever given to a guest speaker at the school’s weekly presentations.

Robles relayed to the students how even though he was a two-time Arizona wrestling champion at Mesa High School, no colleges offered him a scholarship. They didn’t believe he could compete at the collegiate level with just one leg and at his small size, Robles said.

“I walked on at Arizona State University and the first thing I told them was that I was happy to be a Sun Devil and ‘I’m here to win my national title,’” he said. “Don’t let negative things hold you back. Focus on the things you can do.”

Robles refused to let having one leg be a disadvantage during his college career. He ended up being a three-time All-American. At ASU, Robles placed fourth in the NCAA tournament as a sophomore and seventh as a junior. He also earned his degree, graduating in May with a bachelor’s in business communications.

He has a book being released by the summer of 2012 by Gotham Books and there are talks underway to do a movie about his life. Robles also recently became a Nike Athlete.

The Academy’s Samaranch 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.

“So many people helped me throughout my life,” Robles said. “I have new goals in life now and one of them is to help as many young people as I can become unstoppable.”

No. 1 LSU’s Overtime Victory Over No. 2 Alabama Earns Academy’s Game of the Week Honor

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In only the 23rd regular-season matchup between the top two teams in The Associated Press rankings, No. 1-ranked Louisiana State remained unbeaten by winning a defensive struggle, 9-6, in overtime against No. 2 ranked Alabama.

LSU’s overtime victory on the road in front of a crowd of 101,821 at Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., certainly lived up to the billing as the latest “Game of the Century.” It also earned the Tigers selection as the winner of Week 10 in the United States Sports Academy’s 2011 College Football Game of the Year Contest.

The matchup between Southeastern Conference rivals contained plenty of drama that ended when LSU kicker Drew Alleman drilled a 25-yard field goal through the uprights in overtime. Alleman hit all three of his field goals, while Alabama missed four field goals and squandered another scoring chance by throwing a goal-line interception.

The fierce defensive struggle included LSU (9-0) forcing two turnovers and holding Alabama (8-1) to just 96 yards rushing. The Crimson Tide’s Heisman Trophy candidate, running back Trent Richardson, managed just 89 yards on 23 carries. Alabama finished with 295 total yards, while Louisiana State mustered 239.

With the huge victory against its Southeastern Conference rivals, the Tigers become a favorite to emerge as one of the teams to play in the Bowl Championship Series national championship game.

A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the regular season.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Hungarian Sculptor Nemeth Ferenc Named Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year

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Nemeth Ferenc

Hungarian sculptor Nemeth Ferenc whose bronzes depict many sports legends has earned the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year Award.

Ferenc first rose to international prominence for his sculptures as a result of his success in the art competition at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Two of his exhibited works were bought by Juan Antonio Samaranch, the late president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and another sculpture went to the IOC museum.

For the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Ferenc created the street statue of “Olympic Pleasure” as a gift from Hungary. It was placed near the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, in view of the place where the Olympic Flame is lit every two years.

His cubist and constructivist styles depict many sports legends, such as Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Pete Sampras, Carl Lewis and Michael Jordan, as well as tributes to other famous people, events, activities and causes. He also makes figural bronze reliefs of Greek mythological themes. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are among the many prominent collectors of Ferenc’s work.

Ferenc, who donated 179 sculptures to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) in early 2011, plans to unveil 12 more sculptures when he attends the Academy’s Awards of Sport event scheduled Nov. 10.

The Sport Artist of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. The recipient may use a variety of art media to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and the ecstasy of sport.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA, a division of the United States Sports Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,500 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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