*PHILADELPHIA … At 48-years-old, Bernard Hopkins is the oldest fighter to win a world championship in the history of boxing, and on June 20 he will be recognized for that accomplishment and more when he accepts the 2013 John Wanamaker Athletic Award at the Wanamaker Building’s Crystal Tea Room.
The award, which has bestowed since 1961, will be presented by the Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), in conjunction with Amerimar/Behringer Harvard. It recognizes the athlete, team or organization that has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which they excel.
In 2011, Hopkins broke George Foreman’s record as the oldest fighter in history to win a title when he defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship at the age of 46. On March 9, 2013 Hopkins convincingly outpointed IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Tavoris Cloud in a 12-round unanimous decision, capturing the title in front of a crowd of over 12,000 fans at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I am extremely honored to be named the Wanamaker Athletic Award winner (Philadelphia Athlete of the Year). Breaking my own record as the oldest fighter to win a world title was a great accomplishment in my career and for my city to recognize that means a great deal,” said Hopkins. “Everyone knows that Philadelphia breeds great champions and I take so much pride in representing Philadelphia every time I step into the ring. Many thanks to the Philadelphia Sports Congress for this great honor.”
Also being recognized is national non-profit Back on My Feet, who will receive the Robert P. Levy Community Service Award, presented to an individual or organization that has done the most to “improve the quality of life in Philadelphia through sports.” Started in Philadelphia in 2007 by Founder and CEO Anne Mahlum, Back on My Feet has promoted the self-sufficiency of America’s homeless by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem, often finding jobs and housing in the process.
In addition, the City of Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation Department will present its third annual Sports Volunteer of the Year Award to Yolanda Laney, an employee in the Office of the City Solicitor who has dedicated over 30 years of service to the youth of Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware, volunteering as a coach and mentor with various youth basketball programs. The award is presented annually to the “men and women in our community whose exemplary volunteer efforts have made a real difference in the lives of our City’s young people through sports.”
“This year’s recipients are all great examples of the impact that individuals can have on others,” said David Montgomery, chairman, Philadelphia Sports Congress. “Bernard Hopkins is a true champion who has continued a wonderful legacy of Philadelphia boxing. In addition, Anne and Yolanda have dedicated their lives to making a significant difference for so many people. They embody the true spirit of giving back to the community. All recipients represent our City extremely well.”
The Sports Congress, Amerimar/Behringer Harvard, CBS-3, and the Philadelphia Daily News present the Wanamaker Athletic Award ceremony and luncheon. The public participated in the nomination process via ballots in the Philadelphia Daily News and online during April. The Wanamaker Selection Committee, consisting of a cross-section of sports and media representatives, made the final decision. CBS3’s Chris May will emcee the event.
The Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.discoverPHL.com, seeks to attract major sporting events and conventions to the Philadelphia area. The Sports Congress, working in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia, the city’s professional teams and universities, has attracted many events to the city and is currently working on bids for future sporting events. To learn more about the Philadelphia Sports Congress, visit www.discoverPHL.com/phlsports.