13 May 2003

Break-through in the making for hearing impaired athletes

The prospects for hearing impaired athletes aspiring to compete internationally and to gain wider recognition got a welcome boost when Tiffany Granfors, one of the indefatigable organizers of the Deaflympics, recently received an invitation into the world's most prestigious and exclusive study program for sports executives.

Granfors was selected as one of just 30 participants in the Masters degree program in Sports Administration and Technology at the Academie Internationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sport (AISTS) and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland for the upcoming academic year. The program is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.

No other representative of the deaf and hearing impaired sports community has ever made it into the program, which is seen as a direct path to the corridors of real power in the sports world. In this context, the invitation into the Swiss program is more than a personal break-through. It is a potential break-through for a whole category of athletes around the world who are battling for legitimacy and recognition and who will benefit from finally having a representative gaining access to the highest levels of the sports hierarchy.

Granfors has made her impact in many areas, already. She spent a decade in a position of responsibility and management at the telephone industry giant, AT&T. She won a track and field gold medal at the 1985 World Games for the Deaf and is a former track and field head coach at Gallaudet University in Washington. In recent years she has devoted her talents to the organization of the Deaflympics, which is one of the oldest and fastest growing sports events in the world with more than 3,000 athletes from dozens of countries competing in the most recent summer games.

The games for deaf and hearing impaired athletes were first held in 1924. They are organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds, CISS, which operates out of the Washington suburbs. Crucial for Granfors' participation in the Swiss program is the success of Granfors and CISS in raising the necessary funds from contributions and sponsorships in the next few weeks.

Editor's note: Tiffany Granfors can be reached at [email protected]

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