By Ed Moran, originally posted on USRowing web site, www.USRowing.org.
PRINCETON, N.J. – Paralympic bronze medalist Rob Jones has been named the 2012 USRowing Man of the Year, the organization announced Tuesday.
The award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to men’s rowing or to an outstanding man in rowing. Jones will be honored December 1 at an awards reception held in conjunction with the 2012 USRowing Annual Convention scheduled for Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
“It is a great privilege for me to be recognized in such a select group of individuals, men who have set their sights on a task knowing the difficulties they would have to endure, and proceeding anyway, with full commitment,” Jones said of receiving the award.
“I wouldn’t have made it through my task without first, my partner Oksana (Masters), and also our high caliber cadre of coaches, Rob Macdonald, Brad Lewis, Roger Payne, Patrick Johnson, Bob Hurley, Justin and Katie Lednar, and others who helped us along the way such as Kevin Sauer, Karen Lewis, Frank Biller, Virginia Rowing, SORA and the Rivanna Rowing Club.
“Not to mention my close support group of friends, family and all of the people who were rooting for me from Walter Reed. I will do my best throughout my life to live up to this title, and the honor that comes with it. And I will continue to work my hardest to improve this sport and the standing of the United States in the international ranks,” he said.
While serving in the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan in July 2010, Jones, 27, of Lovettsville, Va., lost both his legs when he stepped on a landmine during a patrol with his unit. He began rowing during his rehabilitation and this summer won a bronze medal in the London 2012 Paralympics in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls, the first medal in the event for USRowing.
“Rob Jones is such a unique story in American rowing that it warrants man of the year,” said USRowing Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry. “An athlete, a Marine and a Paralympian, Rob came to rowing relatively late in the game. His accomplishments on the field of play during the past year, from qualifying the trunk and arms mixed double to winning a bronze at the Paralympics, is remarkable, as is his personal story in how he came to become an adaptive athlete. Congratulations to Rob on his fantastic accomplishments.”
USRowing recognizes individuals and organizations for their contributions and achievements in the sport in 14 categories.
Seven of the awards will be presented November 14 at the Golden Oars Dinner including the USRowing Medal of Honor, awarded to Stan Pocock; Male Athlete of the Year, awarded to Glenn Ochal; Female Athlete of the Year, awarded to Oksana Masters; Jack Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded to Kate Godwin; Jack Kelly Award, awarded to Mike Knopp; Anita DeFrantz Award for Advancing Diversity in Rowing, awarded to RowLA; and the Isabel Bohn Award for Achievement in Adaptive Rowing, awarded to Oksana Masters and Rob Jones.
Seven additional USRowing Awards will be presented Saturday, December 1 at the 2012 USRowing Annual Convention in Oklahoma City, Okla., including the John J. Carlin Service Award; Clayton W. Chapman Award; Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award, awarded to Elaine Roden; Julian Wolf Award, awarded to Lloyd McDonald; Man of the Year Award, awarded to Rob Jones; Ernestine Bayer Award (formerly Woman of the Year); and the Club of the Year Award, awarded to Community Rowing, Inc.
Seven Fan’s Choice Awards also will be presented at the Golden Oars Awards Dinner. They include the National Team Rower of the Year; Junior Rower of the Year; Masters Rower of the Year, Collegiate Rower of the Year; Junior Coach of the Year; Masters Coach of the Year; and Collegiate Coach of the Year. All seven winners will be announced Oct. 23.
For more information about the Golden Oars Awards Dinner in New York City, visit www.usrowing.org. To purchase a ticket or secure a table, visit http://usrowing.tix.com.
The 2012 USRowing Annual Convention and Advanced Coaches Conference is open to all individual members of USRowing. Information for membership and convention registration can be found at http://www.usrowing.org/Events/AnnualConvention.aspx.
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Ed Moran, Photos by Allison Frederick