The United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation is proud to announce four athletes as the 2022 award recipients for Team USA Community Champions in partnership with Comcast. Previously known as the Team USA Service and Hope Award, this is the second year that the USOPF has given athletes this honor. Mary Cain (Atalanta NYC), Kelsey Dickinson (Women Ski Coaches Association), Tyler Merren (U.S. Association of Blind Athletes), and Billy Mills (Running Strong for American Indian Youth), were selected based on their commitment to serving and bettering their communities through nonprofit work. Each athlete will receive $25,000, of which half will be directed to the athlete’s nonprofit of choice and the other half awarded to the athlete. Cain, Dickinson, and Merren are current Team USA athletes while Mills retired a few years after winning gold in the 10,000-meters at the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964.
Passion: Connecting those who are blind to fitness.
Tyler Merren speaks at the NYC Lighthouse Guild Breakfast with Champions event on Oct. 28, 2022.
Tyler Merren is a four-time Paralympian and two-time Paralympic medalist as a member of the U.S. National Goalball Team. He won the silver medal at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 and has been the team’s captain for over a decade. Additionally, the Michigan native is a volunteer with the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes. The mission statement of USABA states that the organization aims to “empower Americans who are blind and visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation and physical activities, thereby educating and inspiring the nation.” Merren personally has been a USABA volunteer for over 20 years and is dedicated to ensuring that visually impaired athletes have easy access to numerous training opportunities.
“IN A WORLD OF CONFUSION AND FRUSTRATION OVER MY EVER DECREASING VISION, I FOUND A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO WERE KNOCKING DOWN THE SAME TROUBLES I WAS HAVING WITH EASE. AND I WANTED TO BE A PART OF THAT.”
Tyler Merren, Goalball
Tyler Merren makes a save in the goalball men’s preliminary round group A against Brazil during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 26, 2021, in Chiba, Japan.