Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #106

April 6 – April 12, 2014

Welcome to week one hundred six of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s first 10 stories include:

  1. The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance
  2. Portraits Of Boston Marathon Survivors See Runners Returning To The Finish Line To Look Back
  3. This Soccer Player Can Do More With 1 Leg Than Most Can With 2
  4. Kentucky Students Catch Breath to Cheer a Derby Hopeful
  5. Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation grows game in Philadelphia
  6. ITF proves sport’s positive impact through wheelchair tennis
  7. World’s Tallest Pro Player Is Hoping For A Shot (Or Dunk) In The NBA
  8. Limited sight, clear athletic visions; Triathlons, cycling help nearly blind former Marine feel alive and set an example
  9. History of boxing takes shape in unique Las Vegas vault
  10. Amid unionization and one-and-dones, Alonzo Mourning reflects on value of college education

One of the themes that seems to show up each week is that of overcoming some type of “deficiency” or “handicap” and participating in sports. And sometimes that participation is even of a professional-level quality. These athletes, and their supporters, see sports as an opportunity to include rather than exclude members of our society who have just as much right to experience the wonders of athletics and competition.

We have several stories this week with that exact theme including: a TED talk that will mesmerize you with high technology and spirit to match; Boston Marathon bombing survivors who are reclaiming their athletic capabilities and displaying powerful resilience; a young man who has always done with one leg that with which we do with two and continues to excel; and a former marine with a degenerative eye condition that is not stopping him from making athletic memories for him and others.

In addition to those four stories, we are happy to present those involving: University of Kentucky students; the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation; the International Tennis Federation; 7’8″ basketball player Paul Sturgess; NBA Hall of Fame inductee, and fellow Georgetown Hoya, Alonzo Mourning; boxing champion Manny Pacquiao; KIND and Kevin Durant; Cricket Without Borders; and Major League Baseball; amongst others.

Please continue to send along your stories. You are both our audience and our best source of stories. Our Twitter handle is @sportsdoinggood, and you can find us at

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance
Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature’s own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that’s both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.

Adrianne Haslet-Davis thanks Hugh Herr on the TED stage. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Portraits Of Boston Marathon Survivors See Runners Returning To The Finish Line To Look Back
Fogarty, who founded Dear World in New Orleans in 2009, came up with the idea to photograph Boston Marathon survivors last summer after he had a chance meeting with runner Dave Fortier. At the time, Fogarty noticed that Fortier had written “healing” across the side of his head. Admiring the statement, Fogarty decided to reach out to other survivors to see if they would be willing to share their own messages on their skin at the finish line.

(Robert X. Fogarty/Dear World)

This Soccer Player Can Do More With 1 Leg Than Most Can With 2
Powerade produced a mini documentary chronicling the journey of Nico Calabria, 19, a member of the U.S. National Men’s Amputee Soccer Team who has had more impressive sports highlights with one leg than most people have with two. According to Mashable, the short video was scheduled for an April 10 screening at Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York City. It shows the long road Calabria, who was born with only one leg, has traveled to overcome his disability and become a successful athlete.

Kentucky Students Catch Breath to Cheer a Derby Hopeful
Casiguapo’s role was to participate in a study in which students followed the development of microbes in the gastrointestinal tracts of healthy foals. The hope was that if students understood normal development, they would better deal with pathogens. Students at the farm are involved in breeding, foaling and getting horses ready for sale. Laura Strasinger, now a graduate student, has delighted in following Casiguapo since his birth. She said he had always stood out from the herd — and wanted it that way.

A onetime research subject, Casiguapo has far surpassed expectations by earning $287,665 since being sold to Jorge Wagner for $4,700 as a yearling in 2012. Credit Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation grows game in Philadelphia
Nine years after its founding, the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation is the gold standard for inner-city hockey programs. Initially centered on ice hockey, the program has expanded to include academic, life skill, mentorship and nutritional offerings. The academic side has taken precedence. Aides, tutors, life-skill instructors and mentors outnumber hockey personnel by a 4-to-1 margin. The foundation requires students maintain good academic standing. Regular report-card reviews, attendance checks, and after-school tutoring come before the on-ice practices. In exchange, the program subsidizes equipment, ice time and travel costs.

ITF proves sport’s positive impact through wheelchair tennis
The WTDF has been helping to grow wheelchair tennis in developing nations over the last ten years, with the aim of giving participants an active and rewarding life. The programme, run by the ITF in partnership with the Johan Cruyff Foundation, helped 39 nations by the end of 2013. The report noted countries where the WTDF works, people with impairments face economic and cultural difficulties. Involvement within wheelchair tennis led to numerous psychological and social benefits, the study found, which transferred into other domains of life.

Wheelchair tennis players in Yemen take part in an International Tennis Federation development camp. © • ITF

World’s Tallest Pro Player Is Hoping For A Shot (Or Dunk) In The NBA
Sturgess was a healthy scratch in that night’s loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. After the game, however, he was the main attraction. Children follow Sturgess like a tail follows a comet. They stare. Take pictures with their cellphones. Get autographs. Right now, this is the most valuable thing he has to offer the Legends. “Professional sports is all about business, so they’re giving to me — they’re gonna want something back,” Sturgess said. “There’s nothing too much like me out there and they’re taking the publicity from me and giving back the development [of my skills]. As long as it stays 50/50, I’m very happy with that.”

Paul Sturgess is the tallest pro basketball player in the world, but his biggest fans are on the shorter side. (Courtesy Texas Legends)

Limited sight, clear athletic visions; Triathlons, cycling help nearly blind former Marine feel alive and set an example
“I think it’s really important for him to always have an outlet to show our daughter that he’s really striving for things,” says Kacey. “It was really good to see him start doing things like this. He came alive.” Steve feels the same way. When he’s swimming, running or biking, he feels free. That’s especially true on the bike.

Steve Walker, right, hasn’t let a degenerative eye condition stop him from making athletic memories.

History of boxing takes shape in unique Las Vegas vault
All told, Tang says he has converted 3,000 to 4,000 hours of footage. He did 1,000 hours last year alone. He’s not even halfway done. “It’s like a new science,” he says “It’s like a black art. Content is. Formats. Coding. Because once it’s in a digital format, what digital format should it be in? How can it play on an iPad? You have to evolve with it.”

Jason Tang has assumed the arduous task of organizing the thousands of bouts Top Rank has on tape. Isaac Brekken/SI

Amid unionization and one-and-dones, Alonzo Mourning reflects on value of college education
It was while working on his 2008 autobiography, “Resilience,” that Mourning started reflecting on where he would be without the intellectual awakening of college — something he confessed he gave no thought to when he committed to Georgetown, thinking only of basketball…Returning to the theme of education, he said: “We live in a world right now where if you can’t communicate, you can’t survive. It’s not about how much money you have. It’s: Can you communicate? So reading, writing, speaking — those particular things are extremely important.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images – The Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2014 (L-R) Alonzo Mourning, Mitch Richmond, Sarunas Marciulionis, Cathy Rush, Gary Williams, Nolan Richardson, Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board, and John Doleva, President of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on court during the NCAA Men’s Final Four.


First International Day of Sport for Development and Peace hailed a success
From every corner of the world, thousands of people celebrated the Day by taking part in football tournaments or athletics events across Afghanistan, Greece, Jordan, Ethiopia, Gambia and the Philippines. Sports demonstrations, fun runs and cultural activities were also on the programme in Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil. And this is just a small “taster” of some of the celebrations that involved Olympic Movement stakeholders. A large number of NOCs and IFs, as well as Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, invited their athletes, stakeholders and followers to talk about the importance of investing in Sport for All and take concrete action.

Pacquiao’s improbable breakthrough changed a sport, dozens of lives
That was 2001, before Pacquiao became fighter of the decade, a Congressman and a millionaire. The boxer who now rides buses with his likeness splashed across both sides did not even have his own row. He weighed about 122 pounds. He was 22. He spoke no English. He possessed a left hand and a vague plan and the experience of 34 professional fights. Yet for Pacquiao, this trip was a luxury, the bus more like a limousine. He came from poverty that extreme, grew up without shoes, sold flowers and donuts and fish caught from the ocean on the street.

A young Manny Pacquiao celebrates his 2001 win over Lehlo Ledwaba. Jeff Gross/Getty Images/SI

MLB to foster diversity growth in three-part plan
“And now we have a task force that can come in and kind of monitor and direct different things. We can say, ‘Hey, this is not working. This looks like a better path to go.’ We can ask questions. It’s been a tremendous education for me. I never realized all these things were a part of the situation. But there are, believe me, there are enough African-Americans playing the game now. We just have to connect them to the right road to go down and then keep them going down that road.”

Peter Schmeichel Launches VIVA Manchester United Soccer Schools 2014
Ulaiyan Al Wetaid, CEO of VIVA commented: “The VIVA MUSS program is one of several grassroots initiatives we have been involved with to raise the standard of football across Bahrain. Over the past three years, the programme has evolved into a great community development initiative and has experienced impressive growth in terms of participation and interest from local youngsters.”–Manchester-United-Soccer-Schools-2014

Empowering Women and Girls through Sports: When Final Four Is Only the Start
Although these teenage girls and coaches came from across the globe—Argentina, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Korea, and Turkey—they united in their shared passion for basketball and their desire to use sports for peaceful social change, women’s empowerment, and, in turn, development back home.

State Department Senior Advisor Michelle Kwan traded her skates for sneakers for the day. Photo Credit, University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society

KIND Donates $1 Million to Kevin Durant’s Charity Foundation
Ashley Herendeen, Communications Manager at KIND Healthy Snacks, told Bonfire Impact, “Partnering with Kevin Durant has allowed us to take this movement to another level. We are looking to redefine one of society’s most ingrained stereotypes and consequently change human behavior.” Herendeen continues on to tell us how this movement comes after a string of events in the sports world “where strength is defined as ‘power’ or ‘force’ where players manifest strength through crude words and harmful actions like the bullying in the NFL Miami Dolphins’ locker room.” retains Ultimate Sport City title
“As well as bringing economic dividends, attracting the world’s best sport to our city is motivating even more Londoners to get active and nurturing the stars of the future. I am delighted that our status as a world beater has been recognised through this latest accolade.” The SportBusiness International Ultimate Sports Cities Awards are the internationally recognised and longest established rankings of the world’s top sports hosts.

Twenty years on from the Rwandan genocide, Cricket Without Boundaries examines the difference cricket has made in rebuilding the nation.
CWB trustee Ed Williams said: “One of the main reasons we wanted to come to Rwanda was to use cricket to bring people together. As well as teaching people the basic skills we have tried to promote the values that are synonymous with the game, things like teamwork and respect for your fellow players.” On a different site on the edge of Kigali another British charity is looking to do its bit to establish cricket in Rwanda.

Now You Can ‘Run’ The London Marathon From Your Own Treadmill, Thanks To Virtual Reality
“You can see the famous landmarks of the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace and even experience the thrill of the finish on The Mall… “With the interactive technology you can even race against a friend on the same part of the course, even if they are in another town or even another country.”

In this picture taken with a fish-eye lens runners pass the Houses of Parliament and the nicknamed “Big Ben” clock tower during the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2013. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

ESPN looks to score with cricket stateside
ESPN is experimenting to see if the sport can gain traction in the United States, where professional and college football are king while cricket, with its loyal but small fan base, is viewed as being on the fringe. ESPN, which is the main earnings driver of Disney, faces increased U.S. competition bidding for sports rights and for viewers with new entrants such as Fox Sports 1, so it is casting a wider eye on other sports.

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