Rachael Scdoris receives fifth annual Casey Martin Award
November 02, 2005
Beaverton, OR (2 November, 2005) – Rachael Scdoris, the legally blind professional sled dog racer and first disabled athlete to participate in the 1,161 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, was named the 2005 Casey Martin Award recipient in today’s ceremony at Nike’s World Headquarters. The award ceremony included PGA Tour golfer Casey Martin; Nike Brand President Charlie Denson; Olympic Athlete and 3-time USA Outdoor 5,000m champion, Marla Runyan; and other special guests.
Nike created the Casey Martin Award in 2001 to recognize the efforts of an athlete who, like Martin, has overcome physical, mental, societal or cultural challenges to excel in their sport, or who advocates for other athletes who face similar challenges. The award includes a $25,000 Nike grant to the beneficiary of the award recipient’s choice. This year, the $25,000 grant will be awarded to the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.
“Casey Martin embodies the beliefs we hold dear--the importance of diversity, a commitment to sports, and that fact that everyone should have a right to participate,” Denson said. “We are very excited to be able to honor another Oregon athlete, Rachel Scdoris, in the spirit of Casey’s fight for what is right and fair by challenges the perceptions that still surround sport and the ability of all athletes, of all abilities, to compete.”
Introduced to the sport of dog sledding by her father at age three, it did not take long for Rachael’s attention to turn to competing in the Iditarod. In 2003, Rachael was refused entry by the Iditarod Trail Committee after they declined any special accommodations for her, but following a sincere appeal to be allowed to follow her dream to compete, the Committee voted unanimously to allow her the aid of a visual interpreter on another sled in the 2005 Iditarod.
Though Rachael’s dogs became ill and she was forced to drop out after 750 miles, she has already entered the 2006 Iditarod with the hopes of inspiring other people with disabilities to overcome any obstacles they may face.
Rachael has twice been named one of the 100 Most Outstanding Female Athletes in the nation, an ABC “Person of the Week” and a 2004 Olympic Torch carrier.
About the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes The mission of the United States Association of Blind Athletes is to increase the number and quality of grassroots-through-competitive, world-class athletic opportunities for Americans who are blind or visually impaired. We do this by providing athlete and coach identification and support, program and event management, and national and international representation. We value the life-enhancing aspects of sports and the opportunity to demonstrate the abilities of people who are blind and visually impaired. More information is available at www.usaba.org.
About the Casey Martin Award Nike established the Casey Martin Award in 2001 to honor an individual who, like Martin, is changing the very face of the sport in which they compete. The Casey Martin Award is given annually by Nike to an individual of any age with a current disability as defined by the Department of Justice; someone who has pursued their sport of choice to a level of success despite challenges; or someone who has taken a personal or public stand to support athletes with disabilities to participate in sports. In addition to individual recognition, the recipient will be able to direct a grant award of $25,000 to a qualified nonprofit organization of his or her choice.
The award was named in honor of pro golfer Casey Martin, who has Klippel-Trenauny-Weber Syndrome, a rare, incurable and degenerative condition that causes chronic leg pain and makes it physically impossible for him to walk during tournaments. Martin sued the PGA Tour on Feb. 2, 1998, claiming that the Tour's denial of his request to ride a cart during PGA Tour events violated his civil liberties under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later upheld Martin's victory in that trial. The PGA Tour appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Martin in May of 2001.
The Casey Martin Award is an integral part of Nike's overall diversity commitment to ensure that there are employees of all abilities in its workplace, and athletes of all abilities on the playing field. Judges on the award committee, including representatives from Nike Golf, Global Community Affairs and the Nike Disabled Employees Network, selected Scdoris among numerous candidates. For information on Nike community programs, click here.
About NIKE, Inc. NIKE, Inc. based in Beaverton, Oregon, USA is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Bauer NIKE Hockey Inc., a leading designer and distributor of hockey equipment; Cole Haan a leading designer and marketer of luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and Exeter Brands Group LLC, which designs and markets athletic footwear and apparel for the value retail channel.