sports and human rights communities mourn the loss of a true champion
Last updated on April 10th, 2023 at 03:46 am
The loss of a true champion is lamented by the sports and human rights communities.
On April 4, 2023, Eli A. Wolff passed away. Among his many accomplishments was his role in creating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
The following statement was created by the Blauwet Wolff family and distributed widely by Eli Wolff’s coworkers. Eli was very important to the team at the International Platform on Sport and Development as well as to a great number of other people, and he will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies, love, and thoughts are currently with his family and loved ones.
Eli embodied the Olympic spirit as a teacher, innovator, advocate, athlete, leader, husband, father, and friend. He skillfully merged the worlds of sport and human rights, something no one else has ever done.
Eli had a long list of achievements in his field. Specifically, he made sure that sport was included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and assisted in the establishment of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The ESPY Award for Best Male and Female Athlete with a Disability was created by him in 2000.
Eli successfully petitioned for the support of several national disability sports organizations, which helped Casey Martin, a professional golfer, winning his landmark case against the PGA before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001. He would play a key role in the development of the Dear Colleague Letter from the US Office of Civil Rights on January 25, 2013, which amended the standards for inclusion and equity for students with disabilities in school-based sports. In 2019, Major League Baseball’s “Disabled List” was renamed to its “injured reserve list” due to his tenacious advocacy.
At the University of Connecticut, Eli taught in the Sport Management program and co-directed the Power of Sport Lab, a venue for fostering and amplifying innovation, inclusivity, and social change through sport. Additionally, he co-founded the Olympism Project, Athletes for Human Rights, and Disability in Sport International.
At the Paralympic Games in 1996 and 2004, Eli played on the United States Paralympic Soccer Team. Eli obtained his master’s degree in Olympic Studies from the German Sport University of Cologne after graduating from Brown University.
Eli had two lovely young children, Stella and Spencer, who were his partners in adventures, sports, and the arts. He was married to Cheri Blauwet, whom he adored. Nothing in the past few years had made him more proud than showing his children the world and sharing his adventures with them.
A virtual memorial will be held for the general public in late April, and a funeral will be held on April 10, 2023, outside of Boston.
Eli’s family will create a scholarship fund instead of sending flowers and will update this page with more information as it becomes available.