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The sport and human rights community mourns the loss of a true champion
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Eli A. Wolff
Eli A. Wolff, whose many achievements include helping to establish the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, passed away on April 4, 2023.

The statement below was written by the Blauwet Wolff family and shared by Eli Wolff's colleagues for public circulation. Eli meant a lot to the International Platform on Sport and Development team, as he did to so many others, and he will be truly missed. Our heartfelt thoughts, love and condolences are with his family and loved ones at this time.

Educator, innovator, advocate, athlete, leader, husband, father, and friend, Eli embodied the Olympic spirit. He delicately connected the worlds of human rights and sport like no other person has done.

Eli held many professional accomplishments. Notably, he helped establish the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace and ensured sport was included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2000, he established the ESPY Award for Best Male and Female Athlete with a Disability.

Thanks to Eli’s petitioning, a collection of national disability sport organizations supported professional golfer Casey Martin in his successful landmark case against the PGA before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001. He would be fundamental in helping draft the US Office of Civil Rights’ Dear Colleague Letter of January 25, 2013 amending the requirements for equity and inclusion for students with disabilities in school-based sport. His dogged advocacy also led to Major League Baseball changing the name of its “Disabled List” to being renamed its “injured reserve list” in 2019.

Eli was an instructor with the Sport Management program at the University of Connecticut and co-directed the Power of Sport Lab, a platform to fuel and magnify innovation, inclusion, and social change through sport.  He also co-founded Disability in Sport International, Athletes for Human Rights, and the Olympism Project.

Eli was a United States Paralympic Soccer Team member at the 1996 and 2004 Paralympic Games. A graduate of Brown University, Eli earned an MA in Olympic Studies from the German Sport University of Cologne.

Eli was married to his beloved wife, Cheri Blauwet, and leaves behind two beautiful young children, Stella and Spencer, his partners in adventures, sports, and arts. Nothing made him prouder in the last few years than sharing his adventures with his kids and showing his kids the world. 

A funeral will be held on April 10, 2023 outside Boston and a virtual memorial will be held for the public in late April.

In lieu of flowers, the family will be establishing a scholarship fund in Eli's honor and will share more details as they become available.

In the meantime, family, friends, and colleagues are invited to share tributes and photos of Eli through an online memorial at https://link.inmemori.com/jO2JZ2

May his memory be a blessing.

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