Blue Ribbon Panelist Voting

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Willie J. Gault

Still breaking records right-and-left, NFL legend, Olympic athlete, actor, and businessman Willie Gault is an absolute rocket (he is, after all, the fastest NFL player ever). In his 11 seasons with the Chicago Bears he can claim 6,635 yards and 44TDs—and a ring from Superbowl XX. Competitive to this day, this world-renowned 58 year-old superstar is on track to become one of the first Astroletes, while engaging and entertaining fans–and shatter all the barriers for the next evolution of modern sports in Equal Space™.

Robert S. Ward

Robert is a recognized leader in all things microgravity for 25 years, logging thousands of parabolas across multiple platforms in a variety of roles. His accomplishments include founding the Microgravity Projects Office at Embry-Riddle, and helping certify the nation’s first commercial provider of parabolic flight. He currently is a pilot for a major American airline and serves his country in the Florida Army National Guard. Robert remains active in the parabolic flight and space tourism communities, which makes him a powerful voice for Sports In Space™.

Mike Cohen

We all like to watch. Which is how Mike Cohen has amassed multiple Emmy® Awards as a sports producer and executive of more than 30 major events including the Super Bowl and the Olympics. He’s eager to bring that knowledge and know-how of gameplay, marketing, and fan engagement to the next generation of sports.

Shari Belafonte

Multi-award winning actress, model, animal rights activist, recording artist, and Space Games Federation SpaceCaster, Shari Belafonte brings a whole set of dimensions to the sports of tomorrow. With a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and three runs on “Battle Of The Network Stars,” (as well as occasionally co-hosting with the late, legendary Howard Cosell), to her wide range of credits, she can’t wait to jump into the game.

Fred Raimondi

Award-winning director and one of the visual effects maestros behind “Stranger Things” and “Stark Trek: The Next Generation,” Fred Raimondi is responsible for some of the imagery that haunts our collective dreams to this day. With his flair for storytelling and wildly creative imagination, he brings a rock ’n’ roll perspective to creating an immersive fan experience around the sports of the future.

James Lebenthal

With a background in Molecular Biology and business, CNBC financial contributor James Lebenthal has a firm understanding of the intersection of science and commerce. He’ll bring that to bear on evaluating the finance behind the science for sports played in zero or microgravity.

Jim Michaels

In college, Jim Michaels was in love with football and dreamt of a career as a pro athlete. But when football didn’t love him back, he was savvy enough to switch dreams. Today, Jim Michaels is co-executive producer of TV’s “Supernatural,” now in its 14th season, with a long list of other popular shows to his name. A feel for the fantastic and a love of sports give him a unique eye into what makes fans—and the athletes they watch—tick.

Bryan Grill

Imagining complex, new worlds, and inviting audiences to come and explore them in such films as 2018 Oscar® Best Picture nominee “Black Panther,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek: Nemesis,” to name just a few, Visual Effects Supervisor Bryan Grill has the insight and know-how to visualize the coming of off-Earth stadiums and previously undreamed-of playing fields.

Marshall R. Teague

Actor, veteran, and raconteur Marshall R. Teague has always had a fascination with outer space, which is why he is SGF’s NASA Ambassador. And with more than 37 feature films including “Armageddon,” and 100 TV shows such as “Stargate SG-1” and “Babylon 5,” plus soap operas, voice overs, commercials and theatrical productions to his credit, he knows how to spot real talent. Melding the two interests, he’s excited to start finding the next stars in space.

Jerry Gepner

The First & Ten virtual first down line, Racef/x GPS for NASCAR, and basketball’s K-Zone are just a few of the technical innovations CP Communications’ Jerry Gepner has to his credit. His brings that passion for new ways to make broadcast sports more engaging through technology to this next generation of sports.

Cody Saintgnue

As an actor on MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” Cody has one foot in the realm of dreams. And with his status as a prominent social media influencer and his personal story as a product of the foster care system and the work he does on behalf of other foster and adopted kids, he has a good lock on the real world as well. Helping to realize kids’ dreams in the new reality of Sports In Space™ is another of the many drivers in his life.

Heather Wilkens

Overcoming barriers is what Heather Wilkens does best. As a business development exec at ATA Engineering, Inc., and a board member of Wharton Aerospace, she is adept at bringing complex technologies—like, say Sports In Space™–from R&D stages to actual production. Her ability to inspire others makes her a valued part of the judging panel.

Justin D. Saliman, MD

A leading sports medicine surgeon at renowned Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center in Los Angeles who’s worked with the San Francisco 49’ers, Dr. Saliman has invented widely-practiced technology for the repair and renewal of sports-related joint damage. His drive to excel and innovate makes him a valuable addition to Astroletes®, future sports, and SGF.

Mark Shah

Making the viewer feel like they’re right in the middle of the courtside action is stock-in-trade for freelance sports producer Mark Shah. A longtime producer for the L.A. Lakers telecasts on Spectrum SportsNet, his grasp of storytelling and a sixth sense for the drama of live sports make him uniquely positioned to evaluate this new wave of sports.

Justine Walker

Dancing on the moon? Justine Walker dreams that you’ll do just that. A dance and physics major from the College of Wooster, she received a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellowship for exceptional women in aerospace and aviation, working at the Sierra Nevada Corp. on the flight dynamics simulation team for the Dream Chaser spacecraft. Her senior thesis on the physics of dance in various gravities intersects brilliantly with the future of Sports in Space™ demonstrating the endless possibilities of movement and entertainment on the horizon.

Dr. Vlada Stamenković

A PhD in Earth & Planetary science and a BSc and MSc in Theoretical Physics, plus an avid interest in sports, Dr. Stamenković brings solid science combined with a fan’s engagement to Sports In Space™. His ability to blend the theoretical with the practical has already helped in the development of new game concepts for zero and microgravity.

Michael Pearl

The logistics of planning, shooting, and broadcasting of professional sports are second nature to producer Michael Pearl. An accomplished and creative Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame member, Michael has a firm grasp of what makes sports exciting and compelling, and how to bring eyeballs, hearts and minds together to make you watch.

Bill Bonnell

If you’ve ever watched the Super Bowls, Olympics, pro tennis, pro football, or prime-time college football, you’ve seen Bill Bonnell. Or at least his fine hand behind-the-scenes, producing and guiding your viewing experience. With over a dozen Emmy® Awards to his long list of professional accolades, Bill brings that “big game” feel to whatever sports events he produces. And with an arena the size of the galaxy itself, imagine what his eye will bring to Sports In Space™.

Blue Ribbon Panelist Voting

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