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USA vs. Germany Rio 2016 Paralympics

Rio 2016 Paralympic Gold Medalist Darlene Hunter Honored with ESPNW’s Toyota Everyday Hero Award

10/02/2017, 9:00pm CDT
By Kimberly Kasper, NWBA

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO- Darlene Hunter, present of the NWBA Women’s Division and a Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medalist was presented the espnW’s Toyota Everyday Hero Award by Sarah Spain, columnist for espnW and a Sports Center reporter, at the eighth annual espnW Women + and Sports Summit, on October 2 at 6:00 p.m. at the Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach, California.

Toyota and espnW collaborated in 2013 to create the Everyday Heroes program which honors women promoting and creating opportunities for women and girls in sports. The award is given to three nominated individuals annually.

The espnW Women+ Sports Summit brings together female athletes and leaders in the sports industry for a two-day program focused on creating positive change and opportunities for women in sports. The event consists of speakers, activities and networking opportunities October 2-4th. 

Hunter is awarded the Toyota Everyday Heroes award for her work with the Lady Wheelchair Mavericks Basketball Team, a non-profit organization in the NWBA Women’s Division. The Lady Mavericks won the 2017 National Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in March. The program emphasizes skills and leadership development by encouraging its athletes to volunteer in their community. The Lady Mavericks program has been providing opportunities since 1990.

“I have had much success in my life in sports and education, but my biggest success is the new opportunities that I am able to create for others with a physical disability to participate in sport and to grow as an individual. It is less about winning, and more about the tools that are provided to create lifelong opportunities for women to reach their goals with or without a disability,” Hunter said in an interview with espnW about the Women + Sports Summit.

The Lady Mavericks also host an all-women’s summer camp free of charge. The camp provides 30 athletes an opportunity to receive instruction and improve their skills in wheelchair basketball.

After sustaining a spinal cord injury at the age of 4, Hunter began competing as an adaptive athlete in track and road racing. While attending the University of Arizona, she joined the women’s wheelchair basketball team. In 2004, she moved to Texas and began playing for the Lady Mavericks Women’s Basketball team until she made the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2010. Since then, she has competed on the U.S. Women’s National team and won a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

The espnW Women + Sports Summit  covers global access to sports and opportunities, the advancement of women, marketing of female athletes and women in the sports business through keynote speakers.

Featured speakers include: Laruen Fritts of Gatorade; Angela Guy, Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion of L’Oreal USA; Michele Promaulayko, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan and Editorial Director of Seventeen magazine; Bozoma Saint John Chief Brand Officer of UBER; and others.

The event also features other professional athletes including: A.J. Andrews professional softball player; Julie Foudy World Cup soccer champion and Olympic gold medalist;  Ashleigh Johnson and Maggie Steffens of the U.S. Olympic gold-medal winning Women’s Water Polo Team;  Alana Nicholas, Wheelchair Basketball and Alpine Ski Racing gold medalist; and others.


Darlene Hunter’s Accomplishments:


2016 - Gold Medal, Paralympic Games; Rio, Brazil

2015 – Gold Medal, Parapan American Games; Toronto, Canada

2014 – 4th Place, World Championship; Toronto, Canada

2012 – 4th place Paralympic Games; London, England

2011 – Gold Medal, Parapan America Games; Guadalajara, Mexico

2010 – Gold Medal, World Championship; Birmingham, England


Current Leadership Positions:

President – National Wheelchair Basketball Association – Women’s Division

President – Southwest Wheelchair Athletic Association

Secretary – Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks



2004-Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology; University of Arizona

2006- Masters in Social Work; University of Texas-Arlington

2009 – Ph.D. Family Studies; Texas Woman’s University

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