July 17, 2005
Jim MacLaren '85, a former football and lacrosse player at Yale, was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPN's 13th annual ESPY Awards show, broadcast Sunday night. The award goes to athletes who embody Ashe's toughness of spirit and never-give-up attitude. MacLaren, who has survived two near-fatal accidents, was presented the award by Oprah Winfrey.
MacLaren earned three varsity letters in football and two in lacrosse for the Bulldogs. He was hit by a New York City bus at age 22 and lost a leg. After the accident he battled back to become a top marathoner and Ironman triathlete, racing against and beating able-bodied competition and earning the rank of the fastest amputee athlete in the world.
Eight years after the first accident he was struck again, this time by a van during a triathlon, and became an incomplete quadriplegic. Battling back once more, MacLaren has become a motivational speaker. His amazing story and positive, courageous attitude now inspire others to greatness.
MacLaren was honored along with Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a Ghana resident who was born with a deformed right leg. Working with MacLaren and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Yeboah received a bicycle that he rode one-legged across his country to raise money and change stereotypes about the disabled.
"What brought us together 10 years ago kind of makes it like Homer's Odyssey," MacLaren said to reporters after the presentation. "You look at my life when I was a so-called 'stud athlete,' but 10 years later all the gifts have gone. I feel like I have wings right now."
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity