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The Sports Industry Loses Great Champion

Date: 8/11/10

SILVER SPRING, MD – August 11, 2010 – The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) and the entire sports and fitness industry are mourning the death of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK).  Senator Stevens, 86, and four other people were killed on Monday night in a plane crash in southwest Alaska.  Five other passengers on the small plane (DeHavilland DHC-3T) survived.  The group on the plane was planning to visit a lodge on Lake Aleknagik in Alaska.

For the leaders of the sporting goods industry, Senator Stevens took the lead on many sports and fitness issues. 

Senator Stevens was a great friend of the sports community whose legacy will be felt for generations.  His leadership in the 1970s in getting the Amateur Sports Act and Title IX passed made him a true champion in the sports industry,” said SGMA President/CEO Tom Cove. 

“Senator Ted Stevens probably had as much to do with promoting sports and fitness for all Americans as any legislator in our history,” said Larry Franklin, SGMA’s current chairman and the president of Franklin Sports.


In recent years, Senator Stevens is known as the founding father of the current Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) which provides the only federal money to school districts and community based organizations for physical education and innovative physical activity methods.

PEP provides grants to local school districts and community based programs to purchase equipment and train instructors in innovative physical education methods.  Since 2001, PEP has successfully enhanced K-12 physical education programs across the country through more than $600 million in grants used for training in state-of-the-art health and wellness-based physical education methods.  PEP uses new technology such as heart-rate monitors, pedometers, and the acquisition of state-of-the-art fitness equipment and facilities.

With Senator Stevens’ support, PEP was first passed for $5 million in Fiscal Year 2001.  Since then, it has been passed every year and the legislation has received far greater financial support.  As recently as Fiscal Year 2010, it was passed for $79 million.  SGMA is hopeful that PEP will receive similar funding in Fiscal Year 2011.


"Eleven years ago, Senator Ted Stevens realized the importance of quality physical education by introducing the PEP Act,” Jim Baugh, a member of SGMA’s board of directors and the former president of Wilson Sporting Goods.  “Every year he helped fight for increased support.  Because of Ted, many more Americans are leading healthy, active lifestyles."


Senator Stevens is survived by his wife, Catherine Chandler, and six children.  In 1978, Senator Stevens survived the crash of a private Learjet that claimed the life of his first wife, Ann, and four other people.

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