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TOP ATHLETE.

On June 9, Paul Nitz, a member of The Hartford's Team Ability, received the "Adult Male Athlete of the Year" award from the New England Wheelchair Athlete Association. Presentation was at a sports banquet held in conjunction with the New England Wheelchair Games, in Canton, Mass.

The recognition honors athletes' accomplishments and contributions, promotes disability sports, establishes role models, and encourages people of all ages to become more active.

Born with a spinal-cord injury (SCI), Nitz learned to compete at an early age. In high school, he played indoor hockey, football, and track through programs offered by Courage Center, near his home, Edina, Minn.

In 1992, he graduated from Southwest State University (Marshall, Minn.) with a bachelor's degree in business administration and headed east to work in the group underwriting department at Hartford Life Insurance Company's Simsbury, Conn., headquarters.

When Nitz discovered wheelchair racing, he became a national and international athlete almost instantly. He showed his winning ways in the Barcelona and Atlanta Paralympic Games, the Berlin World Championships, and innumerable national races in the United States. He achieved a lifelong dream when he won his third consecutive Paralympic gold medal in the 100-meter event, at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia.

In his spare time, Nitz trains and coaches the Hospital for Special Care's Junior Track Team in New Britain, Conn. He is The Hartford's corporate spokesman for a variety of audiences throughout the U.S. In March, at the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation leadership seminar, he discussed his passion for athletics and the positive attitude that has helped him succeed despite his disability.

Contact: The Hartfood, (212) 553-8028/www.thehartfood.com.

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Title Annotation:Paul Nit receives Adult Male Athlete of the Year award from the New England Wheelchair Athlete Association
Publication:PN - Paraplegia News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:273
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