November 24, 2015–Two-time Paralympian and seven-time national champion, Rebecca Hart, is a recipient of the 2015 Women’s Sports Foundation Travel & Training Fund which helps provide financial support for top female athletes. The organization has been awarding training and travel grants since 1984 and past recipients have been figure skaters Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi, swimmer Mallory Weggemann, as well as many other Olympians.
“The Travel & Training Fund supports female athletes in their quest for competitive excellence,” said Kathryn Olson, committee chair of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “The scarcity of funding for women in sports continues to be a decisive factor in and potential barrier to their success. The Travel & Training Fund will help defray the costs of elite-level training for women athletes and their families and will allow them to focus on their athletic pursuits.”
Thirty-three applicants were awarded $146,000 in grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. There were 19 sports represented during the application process, including 14 summer and five winter sports. Over 20 states were represented by those honored with the Women’s Sports Foundation Travel & Training Grant Program.
Hart hopes to earn a spot on the 2016 United States Paralympic Team and the grant will help offset transportation costs. The funding will give her the opportunity to compete in three Paralympic qualifiers and help the United States improve its world standings.
“The travel and training grant was incredibly special for me because it’s such an amazing foundation that promotes active women athletes and young up-and-coming athletes,” Hart said. “To be able to represent them is very special. It’s a really expensive sport, and having the financial backing and support from a foundation like that has allowed me to add some new competitions to my show schedule that I wouldn’t have been able to add previously. In doing so, I think it’s going to prepare us that much more for a better spot for Rio.”
Hart’s name is a familiar one in the dressage sphere, as she has earned the title of USEF National Para-Equestrian Champion in 2006, 2008-2010, 2012, 2014 and now 2015. She competed last year at the World Equestrian Games for the United States Equestrian Team and has also shown in two Paralympics for the USA. She now has her sights set on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.