United States Sports Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich proudly announces Melissa Stockwell as the recipient of the 2014 Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award for her accomplishments as a U.S. Army officer and her perseverance as a Paralympic swimmer and champion paratriathlete. U.S. Sports Academy Trustee Dr. Robert M. Goldman made the presentation to Stockwell on Friday in Chicago, IL.
As a first lieutenant in the Army, Stockwell was the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War. She lost her left leg when a roadside bomb exploded while leading a convoy in Baghdad. For her service, she was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
She became the first Iraq veteran chosen for the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing. Stockwell competed in three swimming events, the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle and was the U.S. team’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies.
After the Beijing Paralympics, she was selected to represent the United States in the 2010 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Budapest. She won the Women’s TRI-2 (above knee amputee) class, then successfully defended her TRI-2 World Champion title in 2011 and 2012.
Stockwell is a multiple U.S. National Paratriathlon Champion in her classification and was named USA Triathlon (USAT) Paratriathlete of the Year in 2010 and 2011. Stockwell is a Level 1 USAT Triathlon coach and co-founder of Dare2Tri, a Chicago-based triathlon club specifically for athletes with disability.
Following her retirement from the military, she has worked as a prosthetist and has been on the Board of Directors of the Wounded Warrior Project since 2005.
The Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates courageous action in overcoming adversity to excel in sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of courage, perseverance, grace, and strength in sport achievement.
The United States Sports Academy’s Award of Sport program is a long-standing awards program within the Academy, dating back to 1985. The recipients of the awards will be recognized in an awards ceremony in November.
The 2013 Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award was presented to Rosie Napravnik the first female jockey to ride in a Triple Crown race and the first female Kentucky Oaks winner.
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.