USRowing’s Freedom Rows Program Recognized with USOC Diversity and Inclusion Choice Award

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. For the second year in a row, USRowing has been honored with the United States Olympic Committee’s Diversity and Inclusion Choice Award for its work with the Freedom Rows initiative.

The USOC today announced the recipients of six awards, which will be presented at a celebratory dinner during the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly that begins tomorrow at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Friday awards dinner will conclude the Assembly and feature NBC sports reporter Lewis Johnson as host.

Celebrating its third year, the D&I Choice Award recognizes an NGB for best practices in advancing diversity and inclusion, as determined by a vote of NGB peers. Originally launched in 2014 as a diversity initiative, USRowing’s Freedom Rows was established to increase the number of military service members and veterans with disabilities participating in adaptive and para-rowing categories. Freedom Rows aims to provide training and outreach coordination to Veteran’s Affairs adaptive sports program managers, recreational therapists and coaches. Freedom Rows expanded to provide equipment and administrative support to 20 local clubs in 2015.

Jim Easton was named the Olympic Torch Award honoree, while Jim Eckford was selected to receive the Jack Kelly Fair Play Award presented by BP. Also, Glen Bennett and BlazeSports America were chosen as the individual and program recipients for the Rings of Gold awards. USA Synchro was named the 2016 recipient of the Advancing D&I Award.

2016 Award Winners

Olympic Torch Award: Jim Easton
Jack Kelly Fair Play Award presented by BP: Jim Eckford
Rings of Gold – Individual: Glen Bennett
Rings of Gold – Program: BlazeSports America
Advancing D&I: USA Synchro
D&I Choice Award: USRowing

About the Assembly
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly was initiated in 2005 to give a voice to the various member organizations of the USOC; to keep dialogue open between members, staff and volunteer leadership; and to help further the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. The two-day event – themed “Future of Sport” – welcomes more than 250 participants, representing Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American National Governing Bodies; U.S. Olympians and Paralympians; Multi-Sport Organizations; the Athletes’ Advisory Council; the Paralympic Advisory Committee; and USOC board members and staff.

About USRowing
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 85,000 individual members and 1,300 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners. Visit us at

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