Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia education professor Rose Chepyator-Thomson has received the Nell C. Jackson Memorial Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for her scholarship and professional leadership through distinguished service to the profession and girls and women in sports.
Chepyator-Thomson, a professor of physical education and director of UGA’s Cultural Studies in Physical Activity Laboratory in the College of Education’s department of kinesiology, was a pioneering African track athlete and is an expert on sports in a global context.
Born and raised in Kenya during the 1960s, she was not encouraged to compete athletically. However, she was persistent at a time in which few Kenyan women ran in competitive events or on a world stage.
Competing in Africa’s major track games in the 1970s, Chepyator-Thomson broke all records for that continent’s 1,500- and 3,000-meter events. She was a member of the Kenyan national track and field team for the 1980 Olympics, but did not compete because her country boycotted the Moscow games in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The great Kenyan female runners today, including Tecla Loroupe and Catherine Ndereba, credit Chepyator-Thomson with paving the way for them.
After emigrating to the United States, Chepyator-Thomson was an 11-time All-American in track and cross-country at the University of Wisconsin, where she earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She is now known around the world for her work on Kenyan women and sport as well as her writings on facilitating more diverse and inclusionary perspectives and methodologies in the field of physical education and coaching. She joined the UGA faculty in 1996.