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Paralympic athletes Eric Duda and Nicky Nieves
Paralympians Eric Duda and Nicky Nieves

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 22, 2021) – Two USA Volleyball Paralympians have accepted leadership roles to represent their fellow athletes.

Paralympian Nicky Nieves has been elected as the women’s sitting volleyball representative to the USA Volleyball Board of Directors. Paralympian Eric Duda has been elected as USA Volleyball’s representative to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC).

Nieves joined the Women’s Sitting National Team in 2011 and won the gold medal with the team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games. Off the court, Nieves serves as an athlete representative for World ParaVolley and for the Pan American Region. She works as the director at Limitless People, Inc., and is based in Florida.

“Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about running for the Board,” Nieves said. “I had a nice chat with someone on the Board. I think all of the things making me apprehensive fell away and I went for it.”

Nieves plans to work for equitable resources for all national teams.

“I think we are all valuable; it doesn’t matter if it’s beach, indoor or sitting,” Nieves said. “Having the same resources across the board and being treated fairly and with equity is at the top of my list.”

Nieves’s Board seat is new. Previously, there was only one Paralympic athlete representative. That seat, which is now the male Paralympic athlete representative, is held by Brent Rasmussen.

Duda is a two-time Paralympian who has served as captain of the Men’s Sitting Team since 2012. He also won the gold medal at the 2019 Beach ParaVolley World Championships.

He works as the men’s volleyball head coach at Life University in Marietta, Ga.

Duda is the second straight Paralympian to serve as USAV’s representative to the AAC. He succeeds U.S. Men’s Sitting Team member Chris Seilkop.

“This felt like a good opportunity to help out the sitting teams and get administrative experience that will serve me in the future,” Duda said. “Having been on the team the longest with the most tenure, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of team needs and concerns. I was in a good place to help and lend my voice to the AAC.”

The Athletes’ Advisory Council is responsible for broadening communication between the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and active athletes and serves as a source of input and advice to the USOPC Board of Directors.