May 13, 2017

A Mother’s Love for Running, Passed On

By: Courtney Patterson, USABA Staff

Barcelona 1992 Paralympic gold medalist and USABA Hall of Fame recipient Pam McGonigle is passing on her love of running to her son, JT. The two train together on a regular basis and McGonigle guided JT to a 1:51:20 finish at his first half marathon in March. Completing the half was a stretch goal JT set for himself when McGonigle set a stretch goal of running a 50-mile trail run on Mother’s Day.

It all started when McGoingle and another parent started a cross country team at the school JT was attending.

“Someone from the school knew my running history and asked if I would coach a team. I thought it was a great idea.”

McGonigle agreed to coach the team but didn’t pressure her son to join. Though the two had followed USABA Nationals, Olympics and Paralympics since JT was old enough to understand his mother’s passion for the sport, she wanted him to make the decision to start running.

“JT just sort of jumped on board and followed the sport with me. [When he joined the cross-country team], I taught him how to mesh in the middle of the pack and let others guide him.”
Their bond is strengthened not only by their love for running but by the fact that McGonigle and her son were both born with albinism.

“When he started running on the cross-country team, he wasn’t real serious about it but has become more serious about it now. He was captain of the team last year and again this year. Last summer, he wanted to start running more to train for races.”

Training for races has given the duo more time together and strengthened their relationship.

“It’s a good time for us to grow. We’re both very comfortable to talk about pretty much anything and everything. We both find peace while running. It’s a time we don’t feel pressure.”

And speaking of pressure, the four-time Paralympian is enjoying her son’s new found love for racing but not setting any expectations.

“I don’t compare him to me. There’s no pressure to compete at the Paralympic level. We just enjoy the time we run with each other. I’m big on not driving his running despite my background.”

“He obviously knows my history and the things I’ve accomplished. But I don’t put any such expectations on him. If anything, I overcompensate by being very laid back. He’ll have a great fitness base if he decides to go the Paralympic path. If he does, my husband and I will be by his side the whole way. That’s something he can decide later though. We’re not putting any pressure on him or setting any expectations.”

JT is enjoying some downtime after completing his first half marathon but is helping his mother train for the Northface Endurance Run at Bear Mountain. JT will be at the finish line and a couple of the check-points to support his mom as she runs the 50-mile course.

McGoingle encourages other parents to train with their children to enhance their relationship and set their children up for success with a healthy appreciation for fitness and sports.

“It’s especially beneficial for a child with vision loss to develop strength and perseverance through sports. These attributes directly transfer to one’s ability to navigate the world without typical vision.”

“Working out with your child is an awesome opportunity to spend time together, share goals, and experiences both as a team and as individuals.  It's something you can do for a lifetime.  it's something both you and your child will hold near and dear to your heart forever.”  

May 09, 2017

U.S. Men’s Goalball Head Coach, Michael Legé, Retires

Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medal-Winning Men’s Goalball Team Head Coach Retires after 12 years of service.

Colorado Springs, Colo. (May 9, 2017) - After 8 years as Head Coach of the USA Men’s Goalball team, Coach Michael Legé has retired. Legé joined the U.S. Men’s Goalball Team coaching staff in 2005 as an assistant after the death of Head Coach John Bakos. As a retired physical education teacher at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, he also served as the boy’s goalball team coach.

Before becoming Head Coach in 2009, Legé served as Assistant Coach during the 2006 IBSA World Goalball Championships, where the team won bronze, and the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, where the team finished 4th. As Head Coach, Legé led the team to a bronze medal at the 2014 IBSA World Goalball Championships and a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Under Coach Legé’s tenure, the men’s goalball program was able to return to the Paralympic medal stand,” said John Potts, Goalball High Performance Director at U.S. Association of Blind Athletes which serves as the sport’s national governing body. “We will see the impact of his leadership for many years to come.”

With the development of the Goalball Center of Excellence resident program in Fort Wayne, Coach Legé recognized the need to align overall team leadership with the daily operations and training. Resident Coach, Matthew Boyle, will replace Legé as Head Coach. Boyle has been Assistant Coach for the U.S. Men’s Goalball Team since 2012 and the resident coach in Fort Wayne since 2015. Boyle, with Legé, led the team to the Paralympic podium last September.

“Coach Legé and Coach Boyle were an outstanding team during the last few years,” said Potts. “Coach Boyle’s knowledge of the sport and his unique ability to innovate have contributed immensely to where the program stands today. There is absolutely no one more qualified than Coach Boyle to take the head coach reins and I’m confident the men’s team will continue their success.”

Although he will no longer serve as Head Coach, Legé plans to remain active in the sport and pursue the passion through serving as a USABA goalball referee and eventually, an IBSA goalball official.

In retirement, when he’s not officiating goalball tournaments, Legé is looking forward to spending more time on his small farm and spending time with his wife and their family in Tennessee.

“It’s been an honor working with U.S. Association of Blind Athletes and the men’s goalball program,” said Legé. “The program is in very good hands under Coach Boyle’s and John Potts’ leadership. I’m confident that this team will continue to represent Team USA with success in future tournaments and the next Paralympic Games.”

Apr 13, 2017

USABA Hall of Fame: Class of 2017

By: Harrison Palefsky, USABA Contributor

The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes Hall of Fame Class of 2017 celebrates the achievements and contributions of Elizabeth “Beth” Scott, Stephen “Scott” Moore, Trischa Zorn, Larry Lee, Eugene “Deke” Edwards and Dr. Eugenia “Genie” Scott. These individuals are being recognized for the success, leadership, and professionalism they have displayed over the course of their outstanding careers. 

Elizabeth “Beth” Scott is a 3-time Paralympian (‘92, ‘96, ‘00) and has won 17 medals (10 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze) over the course of her career. Scott is also a 2-time recipient of the USOC’s Blind Athlete of the Year Award (‘93, ‘96). At the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games, Scott pulled off an amazing run of 7 gold medals and 7 world records. Scott explained her championship mindset that helped her achieve her goals: “I refused to let anything, not my vision impairment, not my learning disabilities, not my asthma, and certainly not any naysayers, impede my path to the top of that medal podium.” After her competition days Scott directed her passion for sport to the USABA board where she served as a member from 2004 to 2009. Scott will be remembered as one of the best swimmers to ever touch the water.

Stephen “Scott” Moore is a 3-time Paralympian (‘96, ‘00, ‘04) in the sport of Judo. He went on to collect three medals over his career (1 gold, 2 bronze) and became the first athlete, Olympic or Paralympic, to win gold in judo. He described the emotions he went through shortly after winning gold in Sydney; “It is hard to put into words how it felt to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. I took such pride in representing the United States in competition. The feeling of knowing all that hard work, all the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) had paid off is indescribable.” He now acts as the current U.S. Paralympic Judo Head Coach and was selected as the United States Olympic Committee’s Paralympic National Coach of The Year in 2009.

Trischa Zorn is a 7-time Paralympic swimmer (‘80, ‘84, ‘88, ‘92, ‘96, ‘00, ‘04). She is the most decorated athlete in Paralympic Games history with 55 medals (41 gold, 9 silver, 5 bronze). In the 1988 Seoul Games, Zorn pulled off an incredible feat by winning 10 gold medals in 10 events, and set 10 World/Paralympic records. She was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2012. In addition to her incredible swimming career, Zorn served on the USABA Board of Directors from 2005 to 2016.

Coach Larry Lee is known as one of the most successful Paralympic coaches of all time. He had the privilege of coaching the first two USA Judo athletes to ever win gold medals at an Olympic or Paralympic Games. Scott Moore, a former Judo athlete who trained under Lee, said, “He taught me to train like a champion, he showed me the mind can accomplish more than the body”. Coach Lee is more than deserving of his Hall of Fame induction.

Eugene “Deke” Edwards is one of the original founding members of USABA. He assisted in the creation of USABA’s first constitution and first wrestling handbook for the blind. He also served on the board of USABA’s state organization for 36 years. Edwards dedicated many years of his life to USABA and its establishment. We appreciate his dedication and contributions to USABA.  

Dr. Eugenia “Genie” Scott has been a staple in the USABA organization for 40+ years. She is one of USABA’s founding members and was the USABA historian. Scott was an international goalball coach and the organizer of the 1986 IBSA World Goalball Championships. Among Scott’s many additional contributions, she was an international and national goalball official and always served as a leader advocating for the betterment of the sport. Scott passed away in 2016 and is greatly missed by everyone she touched. 

Each of these individuals has provided many great years of hard work and dedication to the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes. “We are extremely proud to recognize this incredible next class of inductees who distinguished themselves through their outstanding achievements,” said Mark Lucas, USABA’s executive director. “Because of their exemplary accomplishments during Paralympic competition and their leadership and community involvement outside of the sport venues, Trischa Zorn-Hudson, Beth Scott and Scott Moore, the three athlete inductees have set the bar incredibly high.”

The efforts of our 2017 inductees have gone the extra mile in helping grow and promote the organization to what it is today. We thank them for their service, passion, dedication and leadership. These individuals have solidified their places in history and will be remembered for years to come.


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