Disabled Sports USA is proud to administer four national awards recognizing people and organizations who have made important, lasting contributions to the advancement of adaptive sports in the United States.
U.S. Disabled Snow Sports Hall of Fame
The U.S. Disabled Snow Sports Hall of Fame Award recognizes outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to adaptive snow sports (Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Nordic and Biathlon) in two categories: Recreational / Development and Competition. The hall was created to honor individuals who have had an influential role in the field of disability sports as well as athletes who have excelled in adaptive sports.
The award in the Recreational / Development category recognizes an individual who has a minimum of five years of experience in adaptive snow sports and has made a significant contribution to the field, including innovative techniques, specialized equipment, program development, education or public relations.
The award in the Competition category recognizes an individual (participant or coach), who has been active in international competition for a minimum of three years. Race results, team participation, innovative coaching techniques, and event promotions are considered for this category. Competitors and coaches must be retired from active competition or coaching for a minimum of three years prior to nomination.
The Jim Winthers Volunteer Award
The Jim Winthers Volunteer Award recognizes life-time contributions and significant achievements in furthering the mission of Disabled Sports USA. Nominees for this award must have contributed a minimum of 10 years of service to Disabled Sports USA or one of its chapters.
The Jim Winthers Volunteer Award is named in honor of Jim Winthers, a WWII veteran who was a member of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division- the Skiing 10th- an elite group specifically trained for alpine warfare. He eventually became a pioneer in teaching adaptive skiing, beginning with two friends who became amputees in the war; he taught them to ski on one leg using techniques he saw in Europe. Jim Winthers, with the support of other veterans, founded Disabled Sports USA in 1967.
The Dr. Robert Harney Leadership Award
The Dr. Robert Harney Leadership Award, created in October 2012 by the Disabled Sports USA Board of Directors, is an annual award to honor a company, organization or an individual that has demonstrated and provided extraordinary leadership in the Disabled Sports / Adaptive Sports Movement.
“Dr. Bob” as he was affectionately known, was an adaptive sports pioneer and tireless leader in Paralympic sports at the local, national and international levels. He was an innovator in the national and international medial classification of athletes with disabilities. As a volunteer, Harney was on the International Paralympic Medical Classification team in the sports of alpine skiing and cycling and attended every winter and summer games since 1998. Dr. Bob was also a Professional Ski Instructor and a full-time practicing orthopedic surgeon in Boston, and a dedicated team physician at Winthrop and Melrose High School in his hometown of Winthrop, MA for more than 20 years.
He served on various boards of directors, including Disabled Sports USA’s as vice president and was a past president of New England Disabled Sports. More than these accomplishments, Dr. Bob was a gracious, generous man who saw the greatness in people of all abilities and encouraged everyone he met. He was a visionary, true mentor and dear friend to many in the adaptive community.
Kirk M. Bauer Achievement Award
The Kirk M. Bauer Adaptive Sports Scholarship supports individuals with disabilities who exemplify a can-do spirit and commitment to adaptive sports.
The scholarship honors retired long-time executive director Kirk Bauer (U.S. Army, Retired) who has dedicated his life to providing adaptive sports opportunities to wounded warfighters, youth and other individuals with disabilities.