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Rulon Gardner to receive Citizenship Through Sports Alliance award for sportsmanship

CITIZENSHIP THROUGH SPORTS ALLIANCE TO HOST THIRD ANNUAL AWARDS LUNCHEON -- Elite Athletes Recognized for "Good Sportsmanship" Efforts For On and Off the Field Contributions -- INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 29, 2001) - On Sunday, July 15, the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (CTSA) will honor the best of the best for their "good sportsmanship" efforts on and off the playing fields at the Third Annual CTSA Awards Luncheon. The event, which will take place at the Westin Hotel Indianapolis, will honor model citizens for their exemplary athletic achievements and, more importantly, for their outstanding community service. Among the 15 honorees who will be recognized is 2000 Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Rulon Gardner (Afton, Wyo./Sunkist Kids), who is representing the U.S. Olympic Committee. The other honorees include: Al Leiter, MLB; James Flanigan, NFL; Samuel Perkins, NBA; Suzie McConnell Serio, WNBA; Stan Mikita, NHL; George Audu, Lindsay Morton and Safiya Ingram, NCAA; Mindy Madewell, NJCAA; Luke Anderson, NAIA; and Chris Thomas and Robyn Michelle Detty, NFHS. In addition, John Byers and the YMCA Jr. Fever Hoops League will be recognized for their humanitarian efforts. Past honorees include: Avery Johnson, NBA; Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee, USOC; Sammy Sosa, MLB; Sheree Riley, NFHS; Michelle Akers, USOC; Dawn Staley, WNBA; Larry Scheller, NJCAA and Paul Stewart, NHL. Indianapolis-based Common Ground also will present two special awards at the CTSA luncheon. Common Ground developed "Stay In Bounds," which is an educational pilot-program designed for the greater Indianapolis area by the NCAA Foundation and the National Federation of State High School Associations. The ìSStay In Boundsî program is committed to promoting and teaching citizenship through sports, and the acceptance of a set of guiding principles of sportsmanship. The program's purpose is to help young people become better sports on the playing field and great citizens in life. "It's a great time of year for us," said Daniel J. Boggan, CTSA Chair and vice-president of the NCAA. "We have an exceptional list of 'good sportsmanship' honorees, and every CTSA alliance member organization will be represented. We continue to strive to mold all-around better people on and off the playing field, and the awards luncheon is when we give credit to all those athletes who portray just that. Itíss their day to shine. The CTSA is an organization of ten members representing Major League Baseball (MLB), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Womeníss National Basketball Association (WNBA). Chris Denari, the official voice of the Indiana Fever, will emcee the event, and Avery Brooks will deliver the keynote speech. Brooks is an accomplished theatre artist, musician and educator and in 2001 received the State of Indiana Governoríss Arts Award. Brooks also starred for seven years as Captain Sisko in Paramount Studio's Star Trek series, "Deep Space Nine." The Awards Luncheon will begin at 1:30 p.m. (CST) - following an hour-long media reception - with an invocation by Rev. Anthony Clark, S.V.D., St. Rita Catholic Church, Indianapolis. American United Life Insurance is headline sponsor of the event. Other sponsors include, Raycom Sports, the American Football Coaches Association, Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Craig and Sanford ìSSartyî McDonnell. After the opening remarks and keynote speech, Boggan will provide a brief overview of the awards luncheon and proceed with the honorees' recognition. The Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (CTSA) was formed because of each member organizations' concern regarding the current sports culture. Member organizations have witnessed a decline in sportsmanship and ethical conduct. The CTSA believes that a focused, enduring effort at improving sportsmanship will yield the long-term benefit of enhanced respect for the traits of citizenship, such as respect for self, respect for others, respect for the game and the need to give back to the community. For more information about the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance, please visit 2001 Awards Luncheon Honorees Rulon Gardner - United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Rulon Gardner, a farm boy from Afton, Wyoming, became one of the great sports stories in 2000 when he won the Olympic Gold Medal in wrestling in Sydney with a stunning upset over Russian heavyweight superstar Alexandr Kareline. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where he earned a degree in physical education, Gardner attended Star Valley High School in Afton where he began his wrestling career and was the 1989 state champion. During his high school career, Gardner was also All-State in football and ranked second in the state in shot-put. During his athletic career, Gardner has spent an extensive amount of time speaking to youths about citizenship and fair play, giving clinics to underprivileged kids, and making speeches in numerous schools. In 2000, he was selected as the USOC's "Sportsman of the Year" for his tireless efforts that enrich the lives of youth and communities and his prowess as an athlete. Gardner is recognized throughout the sports arena as an individual who demonstrates and believes in his message to youth: play fair, be a good sport, be humble and teach others how to succeed with dignity. Luke Anderson - National Association of the Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) Upon entering Oklahoma Christian University, Luke Anderson was one of 35 freshmen admitted to the Honors Program. Now a senior, Anderson has maintained a straight A average, earning a position on the President's List that honors students with a 4.0 grade point average. In addition, Anderson excelled in outdoor track and field events during his college career. He is the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) Champion for 110m hurdles, a GTE Academic All-American, holds the John Jacobs Invitational Personal Best Record, and has been named All-American (indoor) by the NAIA. A recipient of the A.O. Duer Award presented by SAC this year, Anderson was nominated for the coveted Dr. Leroy Walker Sportsmanship Award, which honors individuals who exemplify the finest attributes of character and leadership. George Audu - National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) From London, England, George Audu of Penn State University won his first All-American certificate in 1998 when he placed fourth in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships held in Buffalo, New York. During the 1998-99 indoor season, Audu was fifth in the NCAA long jump, winning All-American recognition, and placed second at the Big Ten Championships. While Audu is well known for his prowess on the field, he is heralded as an athlete who exemplifies good sportsmanship off the field. At the 1999 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Purdue University, Audu requested that his plaque be given to a member of the opposing team. The reason: Audu wanted to share his win with another long jump specialist who had been badly injured and was fighting to save his leg during the competition. Audu is much respected for his team leadership and ability to generously give to others. John Byers - Stay in Bounds Honoree John Byersí involvement in youth sports began in 1979 when his son, Scott, registered in the fall soccer season at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. From the soccer field, Byers went on to engage his children ñ and himself ñ in hockey, basketball and baseball. The father of two quickly became assistant coach and coached in every sport that involved his children while also building an industrial supply business in Indianapolis. When a fire destroyed his business, Byers was appointed Recreation Director for Tabernacle Presbyterian Churchíss Recreation Ministry. Byersí phil
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