Invacare Corp. has announced that Ernst Van Dyk, a member of Team Invacare since 1998, was named Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
The seventh annual Laureus World Sports Awards, which honors the world’s best sportsmen and women, were held in Barcelona, Spain, May 20-22.
Van Dyk’s honor topped an already amazing 2006 racing season that includes a sixth straight win at the 2006 Boston Marathon. His 2006 victories also include wheelchair racing marathon wins in Paris, New York and Los Angeles. In 2005, he was victorious at the same races, as well as Oita, Japan, and Seoul. He also had short distance victories in the 400 and 800 meters at Atlanta’s Meet in the Heat. And he won the Saddlers Ultra Challenge Handcycle race in Alaska, which takes handcyclists from Fairbanks to Anchorage in six days. Van Dyk races in an Invacare Top End® EliminatorT OSR racing chair.
Van Dyk, who has three world records under his belt, had a double amputation from the knee down resulting from congenital birth defects. Despite his difficulties, his parents urged him to participate in athletics, including gymnastics, swimming and table tennis.
Invacare Corp.’s Team Invacare sponsors approximately 30 wheelchair athletes and teams, including wheelchair tennis, basketball and quad rugby teams, and individual track and racing athletes.