The Catholic University of America

Oct. 14, 2011

Paralympic Gold Medalist Speaks

  Ann Cody

Ann Cody, a Paralympic gold medalist, speaks to a crowd at CUA. (Photo courtesy of David Bauman)

Ann Cody, a Paralympic gold medalist and member of the U.S. Wheelchair Sports Hall of Fame, spoke about her life and sports career before a crowd of about 150 guests at The Catholic University of America this week.

The Oct. 11 event, sponsored by the Office of Disability Support Services and Adjunct Professor of Sociology Leszek Sibilski, was part of Disability Awareness Month.

Cody also addressed the paralympic movement and its importance to the sports world as well as the plight of individuals with disabilities in the United States and abroad.

“I was thrilled that we were able to have such a wonderful speaker at CUA,” said Emily Lucio, director of disability support services. “I think it was inspiring for the students who were there to hear about Ann’s experiences as an athlete with a disability.

One of life’s most valuable lessons is perseverance. Ann certainly exemplifies the meaning of this word and hopefully instilled in the students the fact that anyone, no matter if they have a disability or not, can achieve their goals.”

“It was a very humbling, and at times, very touching speech which allowed our students to learn a lot about athletes and people with disabilities,” said Sibilski, who also noted that the audience was very engaged in the question-and-answer session.

Emily Lucio, Sue Pervi, Ann Cody, Leszek Sibilski  
From left, Emily Lucio, director of disability support services; Sue Pervi, vice president for student life; Ann Cody; Leszek Sibilski, adjunct professor of sociology (Photo courtesy of David Bauman)

Sibilski, who teaches classes in the sociology of sport and global disabilities policies, says he tries to introduce his students to the experience of athletes, students, and citizens with disabilities by focusing on their abilities instead of disabilities.

Cody, a recipient of the Congressional Award from the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities, was a member of the U.S. Paralympic Team in wheelchair basketball in 1984. She represented the United States again in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, winning silver medals in several events.

She was named Wheelchair Sports USA Athlete of the Year and USA Track and Field Disabled Athlete of the Year in 1990. At the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992, she won a bronze medal for the 10,000-meter event, and set a world record and received a gold medal for the 4 x 100 meter relay.

She is a member of the International Paralympic Committee’s governing board and director of policy and global outreach for BlazeSports America, which is based in Decatur, Ga. Cody, who has also worked as a recreational therapist, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



More news from CUA