Press & Praise

Everybody’s talking about World T.E.A.M. Sports. Visit our Latest Press page for the latest media reports or our Press Releases page for news and information direct from World T.E.A.M. Sports.

Explore our Press by Event page, which includes media reports from the last few years.

Testimonial Support of World T.E.A.M. Sports

Greg LeMond
3-time Tour de France Champion
1998 Vietnam Challenge Team Member
Former World T.E.A.M. Sports Board Member

Greg LeMond 2000 Face of America

Tour de France champion Greg LeMond was a participant of the 2000 Face of America cross-country ride. World T.E.A.M. Sports archive photograph.

In the early 1990s I heard a bit about an idea to bicycle around the world. Never did I expect that it would happen…much less, through the experience and planning, would emerge a great sports charity. Since 1995, the year we successfully circumnavigated the globe on bicycles, I have been involved with World T.E.A.M. Sports. It is an organization I firmly support and believe in….and I know we are doing the kind of work that is valuable in the sports community-at-large, and valuable to each of us as citizens of the world. We learn so many valuable lessons by participating in sports and when one does it with the mind set that sports should be open and accessible for all people-and you build and support diverse teams-everyone benefits.

We believe that in each of us-young and old, beginners or elite-level competitors, persons with and without disabilities-there is a desire to be an athlete. We also believe that sports is a fantastic way to bring all kinds of people together. We learn a lot about ourselves, and each other through the process.

As an organization we achieve this mission by creating outreach programs, bringing sports activities into new and different places, fielding the most extraordinary teams to participate in great world events, and planning and executing our own sports challenges which underscore all of this.

Charles Kuralt
CBS News
World Ride: The Possible Dream (1995) Correspondent

There are unexpected depths in human beings, and abilities beyond the world’s imagining. What it means is that we all ride the same road, and if we ride it together, we can get where we want to go.

President Bill Clinton
President of the United States
November 18, 1995

AXA World Ride showed that with discipline and determination there is no limit to what we can accomplish. But it wasn’t an isolated achievement. It was a team effort. Hundreds of people and thousands of riders working together, and the T.E.A.M., World T.E.A.M. Sports, is still in the field with other exciting programs for exceptional athletes.

Dr. Bob Roark
Denver, Colorado
1995 AXA World Ride Participant

A World Ride Adventure…
Early August found me in Siberia. Wheeling down the sidewalks and streets of Irkutsk I found myself no stranger to the stares of people unaccustomed to the sight of an escaped invalid. (Been there, done that). What was unique for me was to be sharing the experience with fellow Americans. Together we could speculate about the fate of who knows how many Russians with physical and other disabilities. We noticed that they were out of the public eye. We, on the other hand, were a true anomaly. We were honored guests from a major geopolitical entity and were therefore to be treated with a certain esprit de core. Yet responses from individuals who were able to break away from their isolation were astounding. “Why have you come here-to Russia-when life in America is so good for you?” Good question.

The answer holds the real meaning of the Ride for me. We were representatives of a part of the Global Village where much healing of The Nation has occurred: where living with a disability is not the end of life as once known. We could be confident, bold and, yes, even proud to flaunt the accomplishments our nation has made in this area of fundamental civility. I was proud, not ashamed, to be a “disabled” member of a group of wonderfully spirited human beings in the midst of a bold and enormous undertaking.

Stephen and Beth Gilson
Richmond, Virginia
1996 NationsBank Paralympic Torch Relay Participants

Waiting for the Torch…
And then the torch appeared.

And suddenly, there was no more waiting…All that mattered now was the connection: from torch bearer to torch bearer, from athlete to athlete, from a woman using a wheelchair to a man using crutches, from a person with a disability to a non-disabled person who would be the holder of the torch. The glory of the moment erased every second of waiting and we wanted the moment to last as long as possible.

For us, the connection went far deeper than the brief “moment” of touching and carrying the torch. It was a connection with people having bodies that not only worked differently than each other, but worked in ways that were superior to all non-athletes. It was a connection with our brothers and sisters who are the disability community, and who would have in Atlanta, the opportunity to celebrate our culture. It was a connection with people, like us, who will never be elite athletes, but who are active, and who want to be faster, stronger, and go farther than we did yesterday. And it was a connection with the politics of disability that acknowledges that it is more acceptable to be a proud person with a disability than a person proud to have overcome their disability.

We will be forever grateful for the “moment” when we waited and connected with the Paralympic Torch.

Jose G. Ramos

Jose G. Ramos has participated in several Face of America rides. Photograph courtesy Jose G. Ramos.

Jose G. Ramos
1998 Vietnam Challenge Team Member
2000, 2011-2012 Face of America Participant

World T.E.A.M. Sports saved my life. I survived three decades with survivor’s guilt after coming home from the war in 1968. I was going to end my life soon – it was just a matter of time. Returning back to Vietnam with WTS was exciting and a true life experience.”

Francis Love
Harvard, Massachusetts
1998 Vietnam Challenge Team Member

I think of myself as an independent, self-sufficient person. As the journey The Vietnam Challenge progressed, being part of the Team became more important than I expected… Rather than cite specific events or moments that made this event so extraordinary, let me say thank you for those irreplaceable moments of self discovery and wonderment, the new friends (here and in Vietnam), the shared sense of joy, accomplishment, pain and frustration balanced by the sadness and memory of lost friends and youth and “innocence.”

Diane Carlson Evans
1998 Vietnam Challenge Participant
May 24, 1998 address

Twenty-three years ago on April 30, 1975, two North Vietnamese tanks smashed through the gate of the Presidential Palace of the former government in South Vietnam, bringing an end to the war and the collapse of the government in South Vietnam. On January 16, 1998 just four months ago, I and 70 teammates on a mission called the Vietnam Challenge peacefully bicycled through that same gate. Dirty and exhausted after 16 days on the road, I looked off to my right and saw one of the tanks still standing on the grounds. Thirty years of my life flashed by. I never thought I’d go back to Vietnam. As I bicycled 1,200 miles from Hanoi to Saigon, I embraced the living and remembered the dead.

World T.E.A.M. Sports, based in Charlotte, NC, organized this athletic event to bring American veterans back to Vietnam. Among my teammates were double and single leg amputees who, with their prosthetics, pedaled the same mountain bikes as us able-bodied veterans; the paraplegics rode hand cycles and the blind rode tandem bicycles. The majority of the rest of the veterans had sustained wounds (now invisible) during the war. We cycled down Highway One past mountain vistas and the South China Sea — our anxiety level increased the closer we came to the former DMZ. As we crossed the Ben Ha River bridge into former South Vietnam, we became silent; we set our bikes down, hugged, cried, went off to reflect on our own or to speak the thoughts we held tight all these years. We were not riding for ourselves. We were riding for all the lives lost and missing in Vietnam. I shared the road with a fellow Army Nurse, medics, combat “grunts,” pilots, marines, navy SEALs and American civilians who unselfishly gave their support. And, in a spirit of reconciliation, we rode with the former enemy; members of the National Liberation Front (“Viet Cong”), and the North Vietnamese Army. We were each challenged physically, but the greater challenge was reconciliation.

Yet the Vietnam Challenge team proved that no challenge is too great. Our team was built upon a mission developed to show the unifying power of sports, and to highlight the capabilities of the disabled while educating thousands of people around the world about the consequences of war. Yes, the war is over. Vietnam is a country, not a war. But that doesn’t mean we give up on a full accounting of our missing.

Josh Sharpe
US Navy, retired
2008 Vancouver Inclusive Kayak Challenge Participant
2009 Military Initiative Coastal TEAM Challenge Participant
2003, 2007-2009 Face of America Participant
2009 Adventure Team Challenge Participant

World T.E.A.M. Sports puts a focus on bringing together disabled and able-bodied people, forming a team to accomplish a goal. Other organizations put on events solely for the disabled, and the able-bodied are just helping. It’s not a team. It’s almost that the able-bodied babysit you. At World T.E.A.M. Sports everybody comes together as a team, the disabled may help the able-bodied just as the able-bodied may help the disabled. There’s no stigma attached to being disabled at World T.E.A.M. Sports. It’s a team sport.

Lon T. Dolber
American Portfolios Financial Services Inc.
World T.E.A.M. Sports Board Member
Holbrook, New York
2007 Kilimanjaro Expedition Participant
2007-2008 Real Deal Adventure Race Participant
2009 Military Initiative Coastal Team Challenge Participant
2007-2015 Face of America Participant

I’ve climbed Mount McKinley, Mount Hood, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainer – three times. One summer, I climbed Mount Baker with my son and raised $7,000 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund for my son’s high school service project. So when I told about our climb during American Portfolios’ annual conference, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when Jim Benson, chairman and founder of World T.E.A.M. Sports, came up to me afterward. Jim asked if I’d ever thought about going to Africa to climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. He offered me the chance to coach and climb with seven mentally and physically challenged athletes, six men and one woman, who had previously attempted Mount Kilimanjaro 16 years ago, but were denied the summit because of a storm. I had one day to decide on Jim’s offer.

I knew it would be a hard climb – not technically hard, but Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,400 feet and at that height, you get half the oxygen you normally do. It would be about 56 miles of hiking over 23,000 feet, up and down. That takes a lot of endurance, mental and physical, for eight days.

The next thing I know, I’m landing in Amsterdam on my way to Africa. I first met some of these extraordinary athletes in the airport and learned more about their story, which was told in a 1990 Emmy award-winning film called “Let Me Be Brave.” They’re amazing and I became really excited. The highlight of the climb was getting to know them and to see their will and determination. Few of us in business get to experience accomplishing one very specific and very big goal in a short eight days. It’s a magnificent experience to be matched, as an able-bodied athlete, with the disabled and those always considered “different.” We brought our strengths and weaknesses together and accomplished our goal as a team.

After we left base camp and began to climb, we had one very tough day of acclimation climbing, up and down, up and down. I felt sick and was struggling. Tim, one of the athletes, kept helping me and smiling at me as if to say: “It’s going to be okay – nothing is going to stop us.” And it didn’t. We left our tents at 12:30 a.m. on a clear and cold night at our camp at 17,000 feet. About 6:30, we reached the crater’s rim and had a short-lived celebration – the summit was still about an hour away. We reached the summit at 8:00 a.m. Tanzania time. The athletes were so happy with their victory. I wanted to cry but my tears were freezing my eyes shut. After 45 minutes on the summit, we began our descent, arriving back at high camp shortly after noon.

I keep reflecting on the incredible determination of these challenged athletes and on my thoughts my third night on Kilimanjaro. I was having a hard time sleeping and opened my tent to look around. The Milky Way was above, illuminating the darkness around me. For some reason, I felt very alone but was thinking about my own ancestors. We focus so much on our differences in this world and on the things that separate us. In the end, perhaps it takes a lifetime to realize that all we have is each other. All I had on this climb was these athletes – and they got me to the top.

Jim Benson called recently and said, “Now we’re going to do this bike ride … .” So in April, I rode my bike from Gettysburg to Washington D.C. with a group of disabled war veterans. Time for my next adventure!

Eric Frazier
US Marine Corps., retired
2006-2008 Face of America Participant
2008 Real Deal Inclusive Sports Adventure Participant
2010 Sea to Shining Sea Participant
2013-14 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Development Team

For most people, the road to recovery starts when they enter a rehabilitation hospital. But for me, the recovery process started in March 2006 when I left my final rehabilitation hospital and joined a team called World T.E.A.M. Sports. That’s when I accepted the challenge of riding the Face of America ride–my very first ride and a ride that changed my life!

As I look back to the harsh reality five years ago knowing I would never walk again, I am extremely humble and grateful that the Lord put World T.E.A.M. Sports in my life to be able to give me challenges that would in the most positive way alter my quality of life.

World T.E.A.M. Sports does what others don’t. It is all inclusive. It gives the average person the opportunity to be alongside veterans and share their experience. It’s a chance to step out of my world, while doing something I love – being on my bike, and help others who need just a little help. It makes you start to see things in a different way. It’s not about being the very best athlete or the very fastest athlete but doing or being exceptional in some way.

Nicolette Maroulis
US Navy, retired
2010 Face of America Participant
2010 Sea to Shining Sea Participant
2010 Military Initiative Soldiers to the Summit Nepal Expedition Participant

Nicolette Maroulis Testimonial

Nicolette Maroulis video testimonial.

World T.E.A.M. Sports has given me an opportunity to re-identify myself. People don’t look at me as just an injured veteran anymore. They now see me as the veteran that rode her hand cycle across the country and climbed a mountain in Nepal. These experiences have allowed me to see myself as a stronger more complete person. I am not just surviving after being injured, I am truly living! Thank you World T.E.A.M. Sports!!! I’m ready! What’s next?

Kevin Sullivan
US Air Force, retired
2010 Sea to Shining Sea Participant

The World T.E.A.M. Sports Sea to Shining Sea ride symbolized for me facing the impossible, which many of us on the team could relate to in our lives. As the miles passed, the “impossible” became the “very possible” and the focus switched from changing our lives to changing the lives of others.

Mike Claver
2010 Sea to Shining Sea Sponsor Representative
2012 Sea to Shining Sea Ride Director
2014 CanAm Veterans’ Challenge Planner

Are there words to describe the raw emotion of laying a wreath at the grave of a Navy Corpsman at Arlington? Can you ever forget the bagpipe’s drone of “Amazing Grace” as you watch a young widow prostrate on the ground, weeping at the grave of her fallen husband, or hearing the echo of “Taps” bounce off the long rows of white marble tombstones? Can your life ever be the same?

Every single day during my participation in the Sea to Shining Sea ride there was a moment that reached out and touched the place in my heart where the lumps in my throat and the tears in my eyes live. Those moments have burrowed deep into my memory and have kept me warm; souvenirs of a time in my life when I was in the company of greatness; when I knew the courage it sometimes takes to go on, to refuse to surrender to the circumstances of living with their injuries and memories of war.

Erik Weihenmayer
Blind Adventurer
Golden, Colorado
1998 Vietnam Challenge Participant
2000 Face of America Participant
2007-2012 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Participant
2010 Military Initiative Soldiers to the Summit Nepal Expedition Participant

About World T.E.A.M. Sports:
World T.E.A.M. Sports is really about the power of a diverse team. They bring in people who are disabled. They bring in people who might not normally get sports opportunities. They help them understand all the learning and all the power that happens through that. We’ve done some really cool stuff.

A lot of times, people who are disabled or have a disadvantage in some way, sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to take part, and they really lose out. World T.E.A.M. Sports tries to provide those types of opportunities. I’ve taken that mission. I do a lot of work with people. People who are disabled, they’re scared to access the outdoors sometimes. They don’t know how to do it so we’re teaching people in wheelchairs how to get out on trails and teaching people who are blind how to rock climb.

I think it’s the beginning of a lot of very exciting adventures. The strength of World T.E.A.M. Sports is the people. They bring together these amazing groups of people.

Regarding the 2010 Military Initiative Soldiers to the Summit Nepal Expedition:
This was an adventure even the most fit, able-bodied athletes would find daunting, so adding the extra challenges of blindness, amputations, brain injury, and post-traumatic stress into the mix was a big reach for everyone. My Everest team worked very hard to get everyone to the summit and back down safely. In the end, we got as much out of the experience as our military teammates. World T.E.A.M. Sports was a big contributor too; helping with the organization and fund raising aspects of the expedition. WTS puts together soul-stirring events to showcase what inclusive and diverse teams can achieve when they link behind a common vision.

Catherine Shenk
Alteryx, Inc.
Boulder, Colorado
2010-2011 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Participant

There was something in this race to challenge every person on every team. Every day there were highlights and low lights. But in the end, the best highlight for me was when both Chad and Seth told me how proud they were to be on our team, and what a great experience it was for them. That was exactly my goal for the team–to give those two guys an amazing experience.

Margie Horvath
Alteryx, Inc.
Irvine, California
2011 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Volunteer

Being among these determined and resourceful athletes is life altering. I have learned to think twice before proclaiming that I can’t do something, determination yields to no barrier. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to participate and I highly recommend volunteering for this event in any way you can. Remember, there are no small contributions, but pieces of a bigger picture.

Seth Arseneau
US Army, retired
2009 Military Initiative Coastal Team Challenge Participant
2011 Adventure Team Challenge Participant
2012 Sea to Shining Sea Coach

About the Adventure Team Challenge and presenting sponsor Alteryx:
It was an honor to be invited to the [2012] Inspire Conference that was presented by Alteryx. Their sponsorship of the Adventure Team Challenge has been a blessing to the lives of many. It has made a positive impact on my life and will continue to do so.

Jerry Carroll, Jr.
Washington, DC
2011 – 2013 Adventure Team Challenge DC Participant
2011 Soccer Teen Challenge Participant

I wanted to take a moment and thank you and all the staff at World T.E.A.M. Sports for helping me during some very fun activities this year. Thank you for giving so much of yourselves, your time. Thank you for believing in us.

Darrin Snyder
US Marine Corps., retired
Jacqualyn Dowdy
2012 Soldiers to the Summit at Snowbird

Darrin and I truly appreciated our wonderful trip to the Snowbird Resort in Utah. On our own we would never be able to afford to come to a place as beautiful as this, so we are very grateful. We look forward to another trip with World T.E.A.M. Sports soon.

I really thank you for including me as it really does make a better time for Darrin, he always likes having me close by to help and to take care of his aches and pains, too…

Because of his disability he was not very active, but your programs such as this one got him out and moving, as well as teach him new skills he didn’t think he could do. He really enjoyed his time on the mountains with his instructor Jeff Smith and his fellow disabled veterans while snowboarding. His confidence is now really soaring in this sport. They were quire a fun group and he looks forward to keeping up with them, so they can meet up at future events. The time with other veterans is just so important and valuable.

World T.E.A.M. Sports does such great work with the athletes and your hospitality and caring is so amazing. We will pass along your organization to those who are looking for meaningful places to support, as we have first hand knowledge how valuable it is. We look forward to any future opportunities to participate again.