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USOPC Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell

Illinois inducted into U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Inaugural Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2020

The University of Illinois was on Tuesday inducted into the Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2020. The induction by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee honors the top-performing schools represented on Team USA at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Illinois was one of four schools inducted into the inaugural class, which was recognized during the Team USA Collegiate Recognition Awards as part of the National Football Foundation’s 64th Annual Awards celebration in Las Vegas. 

“It's an incredible honor for our student-athletes—our Paralympians—to be recognized as members of the inaugural class for the Team USA Collegiate Impact Award,” said Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell, dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign. “The dedication—and resulting accomplishments—of our athletes, coaches, and others cannot be understated. I’m so proud of this team.”

Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2020

In Tokyo, 122 U.S. Paralympians and 475 U.S. Olympians competed collegiately during their journey to Team USA. Together they hailed from 223 schools across the country. The inductees into the Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2020 together helped lead to the success of 20 U.S. athletes at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and 70 U.S. athletes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. These four schools had 52 athletes bring home medals for their school communities and country. The Class of 2020 is comprised of:

  • Paralympic Gold Award: University of Illinois; 20 U.S. Paralympians and nine U.S. medalists.
  • Olympic Gold Award: Stanford University; 35 U.S. Olympians and 19 U.S. medalists.
  • Olympic Silver Award: University of California, Los Angeles; 21 U.S. Olympians and 14 U.S. medalists.
  • Olympic Bronze Award: University of Florida; 14 U.S. Olympians and 10 U.S. medalists

“The collegiate athletics system is essential to growing and keeping sport strong in our country,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “Athletes who competed collegiately were the foundation of Team USA’s success in Tokyo and Beijing. We’re excited to honor the leaders who foster these sport opportunities and support student-athletes on campus.”

At the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo—the most recent Summer Games—athletes who train at the University of Illinois won 11 individual medals, while team sports, such as men and women’s wheelchair basketball, also took home medals.

  • The first-ever U.S. Paralympic gold medalist was a former Illinois student, Jack Whitman, who won the gold medal in archery at Rome 1960.
  • Disability Resources and Educational Services Founder Dr. Tim Nugent was inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2019 for his contributions as the father of accessibility.
  • Paralympian stars such as Jean Driscoll, Linda Mastandrea, Tatyana McFadden, Daniel Romanchuk, Susannah Scaroni, Steve Serio and others all trained at Illinois.
  • Wheelchair track coach Adam Bleakney is a three-time U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Paralympic Coach of the Year and a Paralympic medalist himself.

More information about the Team USA Collegiate Recognition Awards—and about Team USA’s collegiate footprint in Tokyo—can be found online at More information about Illinois’ Paralympians can be found at or at

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