The Board of USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) congratulates the USADSF Award recipients for the year 2017. These four awards recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals or teams who have shown exemplary service towards the advancement of deaf athletes in sports.
Art Kruger Award
Art Kruger, known as one of the fathers of the American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD), founded AAAD in Akron, Ohio in 1945 and in the same year, chaired the first National Deaf Basketball tournament. Kruger served as the first president of AAAD and then served as secretary-treasurer. Kruger was instrumental in bringing American involvement in the World Games for the Deaf, known today as the Deaflympics, serving as team director and chairperson of USA World Games for the Deaf Committee.
Throughout his life, Kruger received numerous accolades for his work in promoting deaf sports, including a honorary Doctor of Pedagogy from Hofstra, the Powrie Vaux Doctor Medallion for International Service from Gallaudet, the Edward Miner Gallaudet Award from the Gallaudet University Alumni Association for his work with deaf athletes worldwide. In 1954, Kruger became the first sports leader to be inducted into the AAAD Hall of Fame, and in 1973, he was named to the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame.
The Art Kruger Award is for the deserving individual who demonstrates leadership and continuous participation, support and contribution in the Federation over an extended period of time.
2017 recipient: Brianne Burger, for her service to USADSF and the Games Preparation Committee since 2006, successfully assisting and leading 7 international delegations to Pan-American Games, Summer Deaflympics, and Winter Deaflympics, for her service as Secretary on the Executive Board since 2014, and for her tireless commitment to bringing Team USA to future international competitions as the Games Preparation Chair, already preparing for the 2019 Winter Deaflympics.
The President’s Award is for the deserving individual who demonstrates outstanding performances and services to the Federation.
2017 recipient: Paige Thompson, for her outstanding service as the USADSF Webmaster since 2014, admirably stewarding a complex transition from the previous website to the current website, maintaining internal servers and databases without interruption, and providing key support in ensuring parliamentary procedures, organization policies, and protocols.
Executive Board Award
The Executive Board Award is for the deserving individual, corporation or organization providing significant contribution towards the enhancement of the goals of the Federation.
2017 Recipient: Mike Finneran overcame adversity to formulate Team USA’s representation in Golf at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics, which brought home the first Gold Medal in Women’s Golf.
Jerald M. Jordan Award
Jerald M. Jordan (“JJ”) served as vice president, then president, of the AAAD (USADSF), chaired the 1965 International Games for the Deaf (Deaflympics) in Washington, D.C., the first Games held in the USA. In 1967 he was selected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (International Committee of Sports for the Deaf), and became its fifth president in 1971, a position he held for 24 years.
Among JJ’s many honors, he was inducted into the AAAD/USADSF Hall of Fame in 1970, received the CISS Gold Medal in 1986. In 1996, Jordan was honored to carry the Olympic torch through Gallaudet’s campus on their route to the Opening Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1955, JJ was awarded the Olympic Order, the International Olympic Committee’s highest honor and he was the first deaf person to receive the honor.
The Jerald M. Jordan Award is bestowed annually to a deserving American athlete who has accomplished an outstanding Deaflympics achievement, and, during a non-Deaflympic year, to a deserving and outstanding individual who demonstrated leadership and continuous participation towards the goals of the Deaflympics.
2017 recipient: Kaylin Yost is the first deaf woman to represent the US at the Deaflympics in Women’s Golf and won the Gold medal on her first attempt. Kaylin showed exemplary sportsmanship throughout the competition.