Harry Jerome Comeback Award Recipient Announced

Sarah Hunter to be honoured at ceremony on March 5, 2014

Richmond, BC (January 30, 2014) – Sport BC, on behalf of the BC sport community, announced today that White Rock resident Sarah Hunter, Paralympian, mother and mentor, is the recipient of the Harry Jerome Comeback Award for 2013.

The 48th annual Athlete of the Year Awards Ceremony and Gala dinner, set for March 5, 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, recognizes BC’s best amateur athletes, coaches, and officials in 18 award categories for outstanding performances in their sport over the 2013 season. Four additional unique and inspiring awards are also presented, including the Harry Jerome Comeback Award which is presented to
an athlete who competed in an individual or team sport in 2013 after having suffered an unusual setback, such as illness or injury.

“Sarah Hunter is an amazing athlete who has had several comebacks in her career and is truly an inspiration to us all,” said Sport BC’s President and CEO, Rob Newman. “She was awarded the Harry Jerome comeback award in 2001 and is the recipient for 2013 because of her ability to overcome an injury to her left shoulder and wrist in 2011, missing the rest of the 2011 season and most of2012, before working her way back up the rankings!”

Before Sarah’s accident in 1997, she was active in many sports, including representing Canada on the women’s field lacrosse team. Despite her injury, which left her an incomplete quadriplegic, Sarah was resilient. After taking a few years to become comfortable with her disability, Sarah’s drive to include sport in her life began to surface again. She made her way to BC Wheelchair Sports and their programs of “Bridging the Gap” and “Have a go Day”. After trying several sports, she instantly connected with tennis. Three months later, she was off to Florida to compete in her first competition.

Sarah excelled and her first comeback was completed after qualifying for the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. Sarah maintained her high level of performance throughout the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and for the following years, but 2011 would prove to be a trying year. In her quest for a third straight Paralympic appearance, an accident with her doubles partner left her with an injured left shoulder and broken left wrist that would stop her short of her London goal. Sarah was forced to miss the remainder of 2011 and most of the 2012 season, causing her ranking to fall out of the top 15 for the first time in eight years.

After some time away from the game to rehab and with no specific goal to return to play, Sarah’s primary focus was to begin to regain her independence and quality of life. Through this process, Sarah found that she was missing tennis in a new way. She started hitting a ball just for fun, but soon missed the competition. Sarah decided to push harder in her rehab with a new goal in mind; to return better than she had left. The process was slow at first, but at the age of 48, with a new coach and doubles partner, Sarah has re-entered the top 5 in Quad singles and reached her highest ever ranking in Quad doubles ( No# 3 in the World), completing her comeback as an outstanding athlete.

About the Harry Jerome Comeback Award

Honouring the late Harry Jerome, the first recipient in 1968, the Harry Jerome Comeback Award has been awarded annually to an athlete that has overcome a severe injury or illness. This year’s presenting sponsor is Canadian Direct Insurance. Past recipients of this award include Karen Magnussen (Figure Skating, 1970); George Athans (Waterskiing, 1971); Drew Mitchell (Kayak and Canoe, 1986); Silken Laumann (Rowing, 1992); Laurie Shong (Fencing, 1994); Kate Richardson (Gymnastics, 2002); Emily Brydon (Alpine Skiing, 2003); Tessa Beauchamp (Basketball, 2010); and Michael Mason (Athletics, 2012).

About the Athlete of the Year Awards

The Athlete of the Year Awards , founded by Sport BC, is the longest standing sport recognition event in Canada. Awards in 18 different categories are given each year to athletes, coaches, and officials for their performance and contribution to sport in our province. The awards play a valuable role in nurturing athletic success and recognizing some of BC’s growing talents. This year’s event, hosted by CBC’s Scott Russell, is expected to sell out so don’t be disappointed and order your tickets today.

Also included as part of the evening’s celebration of sport is the presentation of the Annual President’s Awards, sponsored by “Sports with Balls”, a group of nine member provincial organizations including Basketball BC, Football BC, BC Lacrosse Association, BC Rugby Union, BC Soccer, Softball BC, Tennis BC, Volleyball BC, and BC Water Polo Association.

Now in its 20th year, the President’s Awards are presented to volunteers from Sport BC member organizations who represent the spirit of volunteerism, and whose dedication, energy, and commitment contribute to development of their respective sport or organization.


For a list of previous award winners and additional information on our corporate and community sponsors and partners, please contact:

Rob Newman
CEO & President, Sport BC
Tel: 604.340.8432
E-mail: rob.newman@sportbc.com

For information on the purchase of a table or tickets for the 48th annual Athlete of the Year Awards, please visit sportbc.com or contact:

Shelley Johnson
Event Manager, Athlete of the Year Awards
Tel: 604.875.1775
E-mail: shelley.johnson@sljproductions.ca