USA Deaf Sports Federation Together We Win Mon, 23 Sep 2019 15:50:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 102157319 USADSF Seeking Athletes and Coaches for USA Deaf Badminton Thu, 19 Sep 2019 22:22:15 +0000 USA Badminton

USA Deaf Sports Federation is seeking to grow the USA Deaf Badminton Team. We are actively seeking athletes and coaches for consideration to participate in upcoming competitions. If you are an athlete, a coach, or know someone who is an athlete or coach, please contact us at

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USADTF Selects New Head Coach for 2021 Deaflympics Team Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:33:40 +0000 USADTF - Dave Frank

USADTF – Dave Frank

After interviews with several candidates, USA Deaf Track & Field (USADTF) is pleased to announce its new head coach, Dave Frank of Frederick, MD to lead its national track & field team in preparation for the 2020 World Championships and 2021 Summer Deaflympics.

Frank contributed to the organization in various capacities. He was the head coach for the Youth PanAMDES Games in Montreal, Canada in 2004 and at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC in 2006. He was also the long distance coach for the 2012 World Championships in Toronto, Canada and 2013 Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria. Besides coaching, he also provided assistance in other areas, including fundraising.

USADTF is thus far pleased with Frank’s promising leadership as he is already making plans, including assembling his coaching staff and beginning the process of forming a team of athletes.

USADTF interviewed Frank with the following questions:

– I feel honored to be selected for this exciting opportunity, especially to be able to carry on the legacy of outgoing Head Coach Thomas Withrow. He played a huge role in the growth of the sport of Deaf Track & Field in his 40 years as an athlete, assistant coach and head coach. His passion for and dedication to this sport are to be admired. With the Withrow era ending on a strong note, I hope to continue to improve the overall USADTF program and strengthen the sport of Deaf Track & Field in the next two years.

– It’s a great opportunity to collaborate with knowledgeable specialty coaches whose objective is to see that the USA team continue to compete at the highest possible international level in a cohesive manner.

– I want to continue to be able to give back to the Deaf community, as Deaf sports has been a very important part of my life for decades.

– Recruit and retain athletes who have the potential to medal in the 2021 Summer Deaflympics for each event and athletes who are in the development phase with the realistic goal to participate in future Deaflympics.

– Assure that all athletes are in constant training to remain in top shape to strive to reduce their personal best times or increase their personal best distances/heights.

– Teamwide/countrywise, win as many medals as possible in the 2020 World Championships and 2021 Summer Deaflympics.

– Assure that each athlete/coach represent USA with pride and patriotism at all times.

– I do not foresee any major changes in the immediate future. Changes may be made as time goes on.

– As in the previous last few Deaflympics, I plan to welcome only those who have met the “A” standards (who have the potential to medal) and those who meet the “B” standards (development phase). Those who strive to make the Deaflympics team and do not meet those standards are highly encouraged to continue to train and compete to reach them.

– Fundraising continues to be a challenge for the organization. It puts a burden on the athletes and coaches to have to raise their own funds, which distracts from their ability to focus on their sport.

– Lack of awareness among some local deaf athletes who may not be aware of their opportunities with USADTF. My goal is to make a better effort to reach out to more of these athletes who may be a good fit for the team.

Please join USADTF to congratulate Head Coach Dave Frank!

ATHLETES: 2020 World Championships and 2021 Summer Deaflympics application is now open. To apply, for a spot on the USA Team, click here for details.

To make donations to USADTF, click here.

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USA Volleyball Donates Gear to USA Deaf Volleyball Mon, 16 Sep 2019 20:16:10 +0000 BY BILL KAUFFMAN (BILL.KAUFFMAN@USAV.ORG)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 13, 2019) – USA Volleyball announced today that it will be donating over $12,000 in athletic gear to the USA Deaf Women’s Volleyball Team, which is striving to reach gold on its own Path to the Podium.

The USA Deaf Volleyball Team has had recent success on the international stage. In 2016, the team defeated Ukraine to claim its first World Championship title in over 20 years. After finishing with bronze at the 2017 Deaflympics, the U.S. has turned its attention to winning November’s Pan Am Games in Brazil, which carries an automatic berth into the 2021 Deaflympics. The team will furthermore be traveling to Milan, Italy, in June 2020 to defend its World Championship.

“USA Volleyball is proud to be providing this much needed gear to USA Deaf Volleyball as they prepare for November’s Pan Am Games in Brazil and the eventual 2021 Deaflympics,” USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis said. “As the sport’s National Governing Body, providing aid to hearing impaired volleyball players further extends our mission to grow diversity and inclusion in our sport and to support volleyball players representing Team USA across the globe.”

USA Volleyball will be providing gear kits for the entire team and coaching staff including new uniforms, warm-up suits, T-shirts, shoes, knee pads, leggings, socks and backpacks.

“The USA Deaf Women’s Volleyball Team is grateful to USA Volleyball for its support and partnership,” said USA Deaf Women’s Volleyball Team Head Coach Lynn Boren. “It is inspiring to have our sport’s national organization supporting diversity and competition at all levels and abilities. We thank USA Volleyball and look forward to building our relationship for years to come.”

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Phillip Smith Jr. Chats with USADSF about USA Deaf Bowling’s Bronze Medal at the 2019 World Deaf Bowling Championships Wed, 04 Sep 2019 15:13:53 +0000


Jeff Wolfe, USADSF Director of Development: Hi, I’m looking forward to interviewing you so we can find out more about who you are. First, tell me your name, who are you and where are you from?

Phillip Smith, Jr.: Okay, hey, my name is Phillip Smith Jr. I’m from Oakland, California in the northern region. I grew up there, and that’s pretty much who I am.

Wolfe: Awesome, so you just recently came back from the World Championships, where exactly was that hosted?

Smith: The World Championship was actually hosted in Taiwan. It was my first time there and also the longest flight I ever experienced. It was amazing. What I want to do, my goal– oh, right, I forgot to show you something!

Wolfe: That’s amazing! Congratulations.

Smith: Okay, now before we get started, I got to look pretty here! Because you know I’ve got my USA brothers watching me now!

Wolfe: And so you flew all the way there, and it was your first long distance flight.
After you had arrived, from there was your overall experience exceptional?

Smith: The team, wow, our vibes. I had been spending time with people I already knew, but then two new people later joined. We immediately bonded. We stuck together, ate together and talked together. We all understood the reason why we were there. That’s why we got one of these.

Wolfe: You played 6 games altogether, right?

Smith: Yes.

Wolfe: So then by maybe the 4th or 5th game, I don’t remember, how did you guys rally for 3rd place?

Smith: Well, these 4th and 5th games, it was really, some of us were having struggles, you know. We saw our positioning, where we stood, we really felt like, “We can do this!” We can do this! Because we just got together and talked about how to keep our faith, stay strong and talked about how to keep our mentality strong.

I know we got 3rd place. But I admit what we really wanted was that gold. So, that’s why it’s going to be our goal for the next four years. But now we have the Deaflympics coming up so that’s what I want to do.

Wolfe: Now you’ve won your medal and stood up on that podium. Standing there, representing the United States, how did you feel about that?

Smith: Man! Want me to show you how I felt then? Getting this flag! Just seeing our flag being hung up when I was there! That was, it didn’t matter if we got 1st or 2nd place,
our flag was up there!

Wolfe: That’s awesome, and how did you get involved in the first place?
Did you bowl growing up, or did you pick up bowling later in life?

Smith: When I was growing up into my teenage years, we moved to another city. That was where I saw a bowling alley. I was curious so I went inside myself without my mom. When I saw the inside, I was very excited. I felt like going up the table there. There was one man, he was cool and he knew how to sign. His name was Mike Richards. He was hearing. He knew how to sign, though it was mostly fingerspelling. So when he saw me,
he tried to communicate with me by gesturing. He gave me all the information I needed about bowling. That really helped me get my bowling league started. He trained me.

Wolfe: So do you pay out of pocket for everything yourself, or do you try to find support and collect funds for your trip?

Smith: It’s really both. It was very… difficult really, because of the limited time we have. And we need to make sure we get what we need. So the time frame was what seemed to make it hard, you know.

Wolfe: It’s tough to raise the money, right? For these events you’re competing in.

Smith: Oh yes. Since you’re working full-time and practicing on the side too. Yes. You must practice, but you don’t have the time to ask everyone for funds to support you.

Wolfe: Exactly! But with that kind of funding we have to raise,
I know that’s really hard.

Smith: Sometimes it was last minute too. I don’t know.

Wolfe: You’re not the only one! I’ve talked with many athletes who have experienced this
same situation and it’s tough. Our goal here at USADSF is to support you, the athletes, with your future goals in raising funds. My job is to raise money for you.

Smith: Good!

Wolfe: So our athletes can focus full-time on their training and bring home that gold!

Smith: I will love you for that!

Wolfe: I know it’s not easy, but we will arrive there at some point. Keep going with your fundraising and we’ll try to meet you where you are.

Any other hobbies you like doing?

Smith: Really everyone knows who I am, maybe not everyone, but the new faces will know me as “Chef Smith”. That doesn’t mean I’m just a chef. I love to barbecue. I also have membership to the Raiders organization, you know the football team? I can get in early at the gate where there’s a sign with the title that reads “Bad Boys of BBQ” right there. It’s very famous. A lot of people show up, a lot, maybe over 300-400 people, let’s say.

Wolfe: I know you’re a working man and you have a busy day tomorrow too,
so thank you for your time. I’m sure there are a lot of fans that are really looking forward to seeing you and enjoying your comments. I really appreciate you working so hard for the USA in bringing home a medal. I know the goal is going to be a gold medal in 4 years, right? — Oh, I mean 2 years. Thank you for everything!

Smith: Really, thank you for inviting me for this interview. I’m all about representing my Deaf brothers in the USA. We’re representing you guys and you represent us. We’re representing our country, our individual states and our life of bowling. I really love you all and, actually let me show you something.

Wolfe: That’s great! That’s cool! I like that!

Transcript by

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Numerous American Records Fall as USA Deaf Swimming Completes Strong Showing at the 2019 World Deaf Swimming Championships Wed, 04 Sep 2019 15:01:17 +0000 SAO PAULO, BRAZIL—On Saturday August 31, the Americans closed out a strong performance at the 2019 World Deaf Swimming Championships at the Centro Brasileiro Paralimpico in São Paulo, Brazil. Through six days of competition, the 2019 squad, consisting of veterans and first-time competitors, set a series of new personal bests and American records, which bodes well for the future of USA Deaf Swimming. 


Emily Massengale celebrates the Americans’ first medal, a bronze in the Women’s 400 Freestyle (Photo courtesy USA Deaf Swimming)

On day one, eight Americans, including three first-timers, made the finals of their events and swam their personal bests in the final. Molly Linkins’ time of 2:43.69 in the Women’s 200 Breaststroke smashed Jessica Weeden’s American record of 2:50.29, set by Jessica Weeden in 2009. On that same evening, Emily Massengale’s personal best of 4:43.27 in the Women’s 400 Freestyle, behind Russia’s Polina Bilalova (Gold) and Victorya Terentyeva (Silver), earned the first bronze medal for the Americans.

The second day saw another American record fall as Collin Davis’ 8:52.04 in Men’s 800 Freestyle eclipsed Brian Bennett’s 2007 time of 9:04.68 and earned Davis a fifth-place finish. Massengale again headlined the Americans with another silver medal in the Women’s 200 Backstroke with a personal best time of 2:24.76, behind Russia’s Olga Kliuchnikova, who shattered the World Championship record with a time of 2:19.80. The Men’s 4 x 100 Medley Relay narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing 5th with a time of 4:07.51.


Emily Massengale (left) poses with her silver medal following the Women’s 200 Backstroke. Russia’s Olga Kliuchnikova’s gold medal performance shattered the World Championship record with a time of 2:19.80 (Photo courtesy USA Deaf Swimming)


American Molly Likins stands on the podium following her silver medal performance in the Women’s 50 Breaststroke (Photo courtesy USA Deaf Swimming)

The next day saw Massengale edge Japan’s Ikuha Nakahigashi to take her second silver and third medal of the Championships with a personal best time of 18:45.43 in the Women’s 1500M Freestyle. In the Women’s 50 Breaststroke, Molly Likins broke her own American Deaf Record of 34.11 set during the preliminary heat earlier on the same morning, with a time of 33.66 in the final to capture the silver behind Ukraine’s Mariia Rezhylo, whose time of 31.97 set a new Deaf World Record. In the Women’s 200 Butterfly, Carli Cronk, just thirteen years old and the youngest member of the American squad, captured the silver—her first medal—with a personal best time of 2:29.67, giving the Americans three silver medals on day three.


Youngster Carli Cronk captured the silver in Women’s 200 Butterfly (Photo courtesy USA Deaf Swimming)


Cooper Willets poses with South Africa’s Terence Parkin, Olympic silver medalist and most decorated Deaflympian of all time (Photo courtesy USA Deaf Swimming)

On day four, Cronk narrowly missed a medal in the Women’s 200 Freestyle with a fourth-place finish and a personal best time of 2:14.22. In the Men’s 200 Breaststroke, Cooper Willetts narrowly missed a bronze medal in the finals when Russia’s Nikita Semin out-touched him at the wall. Willets finished fourth, just ahead of South Africa’s Terence Parkin, an Olympic silver medalist and the most decorated Deaflympian of all time.

Cronk got things going for the Americans on Day 5 with a bronze in the Women’s 800 Freestyle with a time of 9:39.96, and added to her medal haul with a time of 1:06.20 in the Women’s 100 Butterfly, good for another bronze and her third medal of the World Championships. Likins also claimed her second silver medal by breaking her own Deaf American Record in the Women’s 100 Breaststroke, set earlier in the day, with a time of 1:14.36. The Women’s 400 Medley Relay team of Massengale, Likins, Brooke Thompson, and Kaitlyn Weatherby set a new Deaf American Record with a time of 4:33.08 in the finals, finishing fourth just behind Belarus. The quartet’s time eclipsed the previous American Record, set by Massengale, Likins, Elizabeth Cocker, and Alyssa Greymont at the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey. 

On the final day, Emily Massengale added to her medal total with a silver in the Women’s 100 Backstroke with a time of 1:06.98. Massengale’s silver was the swimmer’s third of the Championships and fourth medal overall. In the marquee event of the World Championships, the 4×100 relay, the Men’s lineup of Daniel Pletenets, Cooper Willetts, Matthew Zou, and Collin Davis narrowly missed medaling with a fourth-place finish.


Collin Davis, shown here in the Men’s 200 Backstroke, set a new Deaf American Record in the Men’s 800 Freestyle

The Americans finished fifth overall in the total medal count, with no gold medals, six silver medals, and three bronze medals, giving the team a total of nine medals. Russia finished atop the medal standings, with 26 gold, 13 silver, and 11 bronze, for 50 medals total. Ukraine finished second, with 20 medals total (3 gold), followed by Japan (6 gold), and Poland, with 13 overall (3 gold).

With eight athletes under the age of eighteen, including seven first-time National Team members, the future looks bright for USA Deaf Swimming. Coached by Brad Robbins, Head Coach, from Tigard Tualatin Swim Club in Oregon; and Chris Daly, Assistant Coach, from Chico Aquajets in Chico, California, the team consists of returning athletes Liz Cocker, Molly Likins, Kaitlyn Weatherby, Emily Massengale, Tyler Brown, Cooper Willetts, and Matthew Zou and new team members Daniel Pletenets, Collin Davis, Carli Cronk, Samantha Fujii, Trysta Duerson, Brooke Thompson, and Anquniece Wheeler.


2019 USA Deaf Swimming National Team (Photo courtesy USA Deaf Swimming)

USA Deaf Swimming National Team Members


Elizabeth Cocker (California)* Kaitlyn Weatherby (New Jersey)*
Carli Cronk (Texas) Anquniece Wheeler (Michigan)
Trysta Duerson (Oklahoma) Tyler Brown (Kentucky)*
Samanth Fujii (California) Collin Davis (North Carolina)
Molly Likins (Michigan)* Daniel Pletenets (Florida)
Emily Massengale (Florida)* Cooper Willetts (Texas)*
Brooke Thompson (Michigan) Matthew Zou (Maryland)*

*Returning team member

For more recaps of USA Deaf Swimming at the World Championships, visit

For complete results, visit the 2019 World Deaf Swimming Championships website:

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USA Bowling Captures Bronze in the Team Event at the 2019 World Deaf Bowling Championships! Thu, 15 Aug 2019 12:46:33 +0000 MOteam_usa_bronze.jpg

USA poses with the Team Bowling Bronze medal at the 2019 World Deaf Bowling Championships in Taoyuan City, Chinese Taipei (Photo courtesy of Terence Yaw / Chinese Taipei Sports Association of the Deaf)  

Written by Robert Ellison, USA Deaf Bowling 

TAOYUAN CITY, CHINESE TAIPEI—Team USA captured the Bronze Medal at the 4th World Deaf Bowling Championships in Chinese Taipei, held from August 1 to 12, 2019 at Da Taoyuan Bowling in Taoyuan City.

The bowling championship started with official practices on August 1st and with official practice and an opening ceremony August 2nd. We will have singles competition will start the next morning. One hundred eighty bowlers from 27 countries competed for medals in singles, doubles, trios, team, all-events and Masters competition. 

Pierre Bocquet of Denmark defeated Kim Teck Han of South Korea to capture the Gold. In the Men’s Masters, Han defeated Germany’s Duda 2-1 to capture the Gold. John Wukasch was the top-performing American, who finished 32nd in the Singles standings and had a combined average of 200.71 over all rounds.

However, the Americans’ chemistry proved strong and things fell together in the Team competition, where the Americans qualified for the semifinals but fell to South Korea, the eventual world champions by a score of 212-178.

Team USA is comprised of the following bowlers: Robert Ellison, Alpine, CA; John Wukasch, Conroe, TX; Tim Estes, Tacoma, WA; Robby Pyper, Las Vegas, NV; Corey Blackwell, Kansas City, KS; and Phillip Smith, Oakland, CA. 

The World Deaf Bowling Championships is a combined event – men and women – something that happens every four years. The last World Men’s Championships took place in Bologna, Italy in 2015.  For more information about the 2019 World Championships, visit the event website.


USA Men’s Team is comprised of Robert Ellison, Alpine, CA; John Wukasch, Conroe, TX; Tim Estes, Tacoma, WA; Robby Pyper, Las Vegas, NV; Corey Blackwell, Kansas City, KS; and Phillip Smith, Oakland, CA.

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2005 Deaflympian Jon Kessel Describes the Impact of Supporting Our Athletes Thu, 15 Aug 2019 12:18:28 +0000

Jon Kessel, a wrestler with team USA for the 2005 Deaflympics (Melbourne) shares his thoughts on the impact of supporting our athletes.
TRANSCRIPT: Hello, I’m Jon Kessel; I was a Deaflympian myself, in 2005, when I wrestled for the US. Looking back now, I can say it was an amazing experience. I felt like the wrestling team was like a family and I hold them dear to my heart. Today, even though I haven’t been in touch with many of my former teammates, we still have that bond.
There’s one thing I want to say about raising funds. It’s very important to us because this allows our athletes to set aside their financial worries so they can focus on their training.
They would be able to get stronger physically, become more mentally sharp and put in the preparation it takes to bring home these gold medals to the USA!
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Ways to Support USADSF Thu, 15 Aug 2019 12:11:11 +0000

Thank you for considering supporting USA Deaf Sports Federation. For over 75 years, USADSF has proudly produced national champions, international record-breakers and Deaflympic medalists in the everlasting pursuit of Olympic and Deaflympic values. USADSF is an affiliated Multi-Sport Organization of the United States Olympic Committee.  

There are several ways you can give:

First, you can give online at

Second, you can send a check to US Deaf Sports Federation. Send to P.O. Box 22011, Santa Fe, NM 87502.  

Did you know that you can also do in-kind gifts? Instead of giving money to buy needed goods and services, the goods and services themselves are given.  For example, airline miles or tickets, apparel, equipment, training, food and facilities for fundraising events or meetings. 

Also, you or the place where you work can give a matching gift.  There are opportunities to sponsor as well. 

If you have questions about any of these options, contact us: (point down-don’t sign the email address):  

Again, thank you for your support of USADSF and the elite deaf and hard of hearing athletes we represent.  

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Learn about USADSF’s Planned Giving Program! Thu, 15 Aug 2019 12:06:10 +0000

There are many different ways to support the mission of USADSF. Planned giving is a great way to support of USADSF in the future. Not only do you have options for how your gifts will be used, you also have options on what to give and how to give. There are gifts that cost you nothing now, gifts that pay you income, and gifts that allow you to decide what happens when.

For example, you can name USADSF as a beneficiary of Retirement Plans, Life Insurance, Brokerage Accounts or any other plan with a beneficiary designation. To do so, simply contact your plan provider for a change of beneficiary form.

Another option is to leave a bequest within your will.  One reason people may wish to change their will is to include gifts to the organizations and places you care about.  A bequest can be as simple as including a statement in your will such as: 

“I give to US Deaf Sports Federation, PO BOX 22011, Santa Fe, NM  87502, Federal Tax Identification Number 52-6044700 ___________________Dollars ($___________).” 

The information on our website and in this message is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult your attorney or tax advisor.

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Thank you for being a part of Team USA and we hope you will continue to support Deaf athletes as they strive to represent the best USA competitors, both home and abroad.


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An Update From Our Director of Development, Jeff Wolfe Thu, 01 Aug 2019 12:00:25 +0000
For captions, click the CC icon and select “American Sign Language”

TRANSCRIPT: Hello, I’m Jeff Wolfe and I’m the Director of Development at USADSF. Ever since I joined USADSF, I have taken notice and am impressed by our leadership team. Also, I am inspired by the many great,i nspiring stories from the Deaflympians. US elite deaf athletes are truly some of the most amazing people. It’s an honor to do my work in supporting these champions.

I want to encourage you to join me in supporting these deaf and hard of hearing athletes.These athletes work so hard to proudly represent the United States. How can you support them?You can go to our home page and click on “Donate”. If you think that your company would like to sponsor,you can contact me and I will send you a quick link for your company to review the terms.You can sign up for our newsletter by clicking on “Get Involved” on our website. We are so grateful for our supporters!

We are planning several fundraising events around different U.S. cities so be sure to sign up for the newsletter to stay informed or follow us on social media.I hope to meet many of you in the coming months.Thank you and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Captioned by