The Board of the USA Deaf Sports Federation recognized Howard Gorrell for his contributions to the world of deaf sports and the resurgence of U.S. Deaf Swimming on the world stage at the close of the 2012 House of Delegates last month in Houston.
For most of the last three decades, Gorrell has been fighting to provide equal access for deaf and hard of hearing athletes on the Olympic level. For his contributions, Gorrell was named the 2011 recipient of the Art Kruger Award.
After a sublime performance at the 2009 Summer Deaflympics, U.S. Deaf Swimming (USDS) roared back in 2011, capturing the team trophy at the World Deaf Swimming Championships behind stellar performances by several United States swimmers. The Executive Board Award was presented to USDS.
Gorrell first appeared on the Olympic level as the government liaison for governmental affairs for the American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD) in 1976 and worked closely with the late Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska) on the passage of PL 95-606, the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. Ever since, Gorrell has been actively involved in governmental affairs on the USADSF level.
After only two medals were earned at the 2009 Summer Deaflympics, the U.S. Deaf Swimming team had a performance for the ages as Marcus Titus and Rebecca Meyers led the red, white, and blue to 22 total medals, edging out the Russian Federation to win the team trophy. The U.S. Deaf Swimming team is expected to pose a serious threat to several individual and team deaf world records at the 22nd Summer Deaflympics next year.
At the recent USADSF House of Delegates on April 21, USDS head coach Bill Snape and USDS delegate Doug Matchett accepted the award. Gorrell was unable to attend the House of Delegates.
The Art Kruger Award is named after the father of AAAD and the long time leader of the Association who tirelessly assembled the U.S. with the summer and winter Deaflympics.