ESPY Awards Announced


Congratulations to ESPY award winners Marlon Shirley (best male athlete with a disability) and Erin Popovich (best female athlete with a disability)!

Shirley, a transtibial amputee since age five, has now won his second ESPY award. Described as 'the fastest amputee in the world,' Shirley broke the 11-second barrier running the 100-meter sprint in 10.97. He is an accomplished athlete, as demonstrated by his long list of awards and accolades, which can be viewed in his bio at ossur.com.

Popovich is a two-time Paralympian in swimming. A sophomore at Colorado State University, Popovich suffers from achondroplasia, a genetic disorder of bone growth. She began swimming competitively in 1998, and won seven gold medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games, including five individual titles and two relays. This is Erin's first ESPY award.

In addition to these ESPYs, the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award was presented this year by Oprah Winfrey to Jim MacLaren and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who are disabled athletes.

MacLaren, a former Yale football star, became an amputee after being struck by a bus while riding a motorcycle. Following that accident, MacLaren became a runner and triathlete. Then tragedy struck him again. While riding on his bike in a race, he was struck by a van. This accident left MacLaren a quadriplegic. In the interest of supporting MacLaren and helping him to once again overcome obstacles, a group of friends launched a fundraising triathlon that became the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), Del Mar, California.

After over ten successful years of raising funds in support of disabled athletes worldwide, the mission of CAF has filtered into areas of the world the organization would have thought impossible of reaching. Yeboah, who first heard of MacLaren's resolve in Ghana, began his own mission to get to California where he could meet MacLaren and appeal to CAF for assistance in achieving his dream of equality for the disabled in his home country. Little did he know the doors that would open to him upon his arrival in the US. He has since received a much needed surgical amputation of his limb, prosthetic care, and has since received both awards and grants that have allowed him to establish his own organization for advancements in his homeland of Ghana.

In typical Oprah fashion, the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Award led many sports icons of our generation who were present for the awards to a most sincere and tearful standing ovation for Jim MacLaren and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, as we witnessed the likes of Curt Schilling, Bill Walton, Dwayne Wade, and Peyton Manning wiping tears from their faces. Congratulations to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Ossur North America, and the athletes for achieving this mainstream recognition.