Former Western Kentucky University standout Valerie Brown is among 18 individuals awarded grants by The William E. Simon Olympic Endowment for the Support of Athletes. Grants totaling $61,000 are aimed at helping athletes pursue dreams of representing the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Brown, from Albany, Ga., holds WKU school records in the 200 meters (23.74) and 400 (52.74), set during her senior season of 2009, as well as being part of the Hilltoppers’ record-setting mile and 4-by-400 relays.
Established in 1998 with a $1 million gift from William Simon, the endowment provides funds to supplement training and competition expenses. Since the inception of the program, trustees have awarded $600,000 to 125 athletes.
The 2011 recipients (with current residence:
Keshia Baker, track & field (Olympic hopeful – Los Angeles
Grace Boutot, biathlon (Olympic hopeful – Fort Kent, Maine)
Valerie Brown, track & field (Olympic hopeful – Bowling Green)
Kelsie Chaudoin, rowing (Olympic hopeful – Princeton, N.J.)
Zena Cole, track & field (Paralympic hopeful – Oregon, Ohio)
Jayson Grant, taekwondo (Olympic hopeful – Worcester, Mass.)
Kelly Gunther, speedskating (Olympic hopeful – West Jordan, Utah)
Michael Hughes, swimming (Paralympic hopeful – Cary, N.C.)
Mikayla Magee, gymnastics (Olympic hopeful – League City, Texas)
Kristen Messer, track & field (Paralympic hopeful – Austin, Texas)
Jimmy Moody, fencing (Olympic hopeful – Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Ibtihaj Muhammad, fencing (Olympic hopeful – Maplewood, N.J.)
John Orozco, gymnastics (Olympic hopeful – Bronx, N.Y.)
Alexis Page, gymnastics (Olympic hopeful – Harlem, N.Y.)
Daniel Rizzieri, track & tield (Paralympic hopeful – Cohocton, N.Y.)
Ileana Rodriguez, swimming (Paralympic hopeful – Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Joseph Underwood, swimming (Paralympic hopeful – Phoenix)
Daphne Wright, track & field (Paralympic hopeful – Los Angeles)