Ten Student Athletes and Five Coaches Selected to Attend Paralympics

In Sports, Wheelin' and Dealin' by Beth Bourgeois

U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is pleased to announce that 10 student athletes (ages 12-18) with physical disabilities and five Paralympic coaches have been selected to attend the 2006 International Paralympic Academy at the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy, March 8-13.

The 2006 International Paralympic Academy offers a very select group of young Paralympic student athletes and Paralympic coaches to experience the Paralympic Games firsthand. Coordinated by U.S. Paralympics, participants have the opportunity to meet U.S. Paralympic team members in addition to attending Ceremonies and competition, gaining an insider’s perspective on the Games. The first International Paralympic Academy took place at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

“The International Paralympic Academy is about much more than attending the Paralympic Games, it’s also about celebrating the differences in all of us,” said John Register, Manager of the Paralympic Academy.

“By working directly with Paralympic athletes, these student athletes will learn what they’re capable of achieving both mentally and physically and ultimately, go on to set their own goals.”

Student athletes and coaches were chosen based on their essay entries themed, What Ability Means to Me. Entries were judged by an independent panel.

The 10 student athletes who will be attending the 2006 International Paralympic Academy in Torino, Italy include:

Name/Age/Hometown/Nominating Organization

Alexa Cocker, 14 (Griffin, Ga.) – Blaze Sports

Kevin Crombie, 15 (Chesapeake, Va.) – Blaze Sports

Jake Geisler, 13 (De Valls Bluff, Ark.) – Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission

Kyle Killworth, 13 (Carmor, Ind.) – Rehabilitation Institute of Indiana

Sarah Marks, 16 (Morago, Calif.) – San Jose Parks & Recreation

Erica Mitchell, 18 (Chicago, Ill.) – Rehabilitation Hospital of Chicago

Darcy Porter, 16 (Annistan, Ala.) – Lakeshore Foundation

Josh Scanlon, 13 (Delano, Minn.) – Courage Center

Jarrod Starkey, 15 (Bay City, Mich.) – Michigan Sports Unlimited

Brandon Thibault-Burkett, 18 (Grandview, Mo.) – National Sports Center for the Disabled

The five Coaches include:

Name/Hometown/Nominating Organization

Susan Byrne (Phoenix, Ariz.) – City of Mesa Parks & Recreation

Terri Jones (Kansas City, Mo.) – National Sports Center for the Disabled

Margaret Kierl (Oklahoma City, Okla.) –Wellness Center at University of Oklahoma
Keri Petrofsky (Birmingham, Ala.) – Lakeshore Foundation

Fran Stalter (Albany, Ga.) –Blaze Sports

The Paralympic Academy is a three-tier program with state, national and international components. State Paralympic Academies are hosted by sport organizations in each state that specialize in Paralympic programs. The National Paralympic Academy is held in odd-numbered years at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, while the International Paralympic Academy is held at the Paralympic Games in the even-numbered years.