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Harvard Receives U.S. Olympic Achievement Award

USOC Press Release

Courtesy of the United States Olympic Committee and Harvard Athletic Communications

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Harvard was honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee with the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award Friday afternoon at the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup Awards Luncheon during the 46th Annual National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention.

The award, which was created jointly by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the US National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs) and the NACDA, recognizes the colleges and universities whose student-athletes and coaches have won Olympic medals.

“I am honored to accept this award for Harvard University,” the Nichols Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise said. “Harvard has a long history and tradition of success at the Olympic Games dating back to the first modern games. We are proud of the efforts all current and former Harvard student-athletes and coaches have put form at the highest level representing not only our country, but Harvard as well.”

Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the USOC, presented the award to 43 institutions at a Director's Award Luncheon, celebrating the 28 athletes and 38 coaches from the institutions, who have contributed to the USA's medal success at the last two Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver last year.

Harvard's Emily Cross won the silver medal in the individual and team foil at the 2008 Beijing Games.

A total of 43 institutions contributed to the USA’s medal success at the last two Olympic Games, Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver in 2010. Colleges and universities will be recognized based on two criteria: having a current student-athlete who was part of a medal-winning performance or a coach who was a credentialed member of the U.S. Olympic Team delegation and his/her athlete or team won a medal. Ten schools met both criteria, while 16 institutions had a student-athlete and 22 institutions had a coach.
 
"The Olympic movement is important to intercollegiate athletics and having a student-athlete or coach compete in the Games is an honor for both the individual and institution," noted NACDA President Dave Roach, director of athletics at Colgate University.  "The NACDA Convention allows a platform for our association and the USOC to recognize and honor those institutions for supporting our Olympic team."
 
"This award is an important step to expand the recognition and appreciation from the U.S. Olympic movement back to the colleges and universities that help our country win medals," said Rich Bender, chairman of the NGB Council.  "The dream of becoming a collegiate athlete is as real as that of aspiring to an Olympic medal.  Collegiate sports are vital to the U.S. Olympic movement and represent the pinnacle of achievement for so many athletes beyond their Olympic success."

The U.S. Olympic Achievement Award will be presented every two years following the Olympic Games, with two versions of the award being given: an actual medal that will be presented to each institution's athletics director and a presentation piece that may be showcased in the athletics department.