Eight athletes with physical disabilities are up for a 2018 ESPY Award, an honor that recognizes individual and team Athletic achievement during the preceeding calendar year. The ESPYs (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards will be announced on July 18th on network television. The awards are determined in large part by public vote, so here is your chance to help determine the winners.
MALE ATHLETES WITH A PHYSICAL DISABILITY
Four men have been nominated for a 2018 ESPY Award. Disabled Sports USA is proud to have connections with all of them either through a program, chapter, or event.
Andrew Kurka is an alpine skier who won two medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, including a gold in Downhill Sitting and a silver in the Super G Sitting categories. Kurka has been a member of DSUSA’s E-Team and been a part of Challenge Alaska, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA.
Dan Cnossen has a strong connection to a DSUSA chapter and performed extremely well in the two Nordic skiing categories at the Paralympics. Cnossen, a former Navy SEAL who has trained with the National Sports Center for the Disabled (a DSUSA chapter) won six medals overall, including gold in the 7.5 KM Sprint Sitting Category. He also won silver in the 12.5 Middle Sitting and 15KM Individual Sitting categories in biathlon as well as two silvers in Cross-Country (7.5 KM Sitting and 15 KM Sitting) as well as a bronze in the Sprint Sitting Category.
Snowboarder Mike Schultz contributed more than just medals for the U.S Paralympic snowboard team. The entire team (in the LL-1 and Ll-2 classes) use his company’s prosthetic knee (Moto Knee) and foot (Versa foot) this season. On top of that, he took home a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Snowboard Cross and a silver medal in the Banked Slalom race. In addition to his involvement with a DSUSA chapter, Schultz attended Ski Spec in Breckenridge, Colorado in 2014 and 2015.
You can’t forget about the incredible come from behind win by U.S. Sled Hockey Team in PyeongChang either. In overtime, the team beat rival Canada with a final score of 2-1 to claim their third straight Paralympic gold medal. Two-time Paralympian Declan Farmer, who has spent time with DSUSA chapter Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports in Colorado, contributed significantly to the team’s success. In South Korea, he registered 17 points (11 goals and six assists) over five games and tied a U.S./Paralympic record for most goals in a single Paralympic Winter Games. He also scored the tying goal against Canada in regulation and the game-winning goal in overtime.
To vote for your favorite male athlete, visit: http://www.espn.com/espys/story/_/page/voting41.
FEMALE ATHLETES WITH A PHYSICAL DISABILITY
Disabled Sports USA is connected to the four women nominated in the Female Athlete With a Physical Disability category as well.
Paralympic veteran Oksana Masters cleaned house in PyeongChang. Masters, who has participated in DSUSA events, earned a total of five medals, including two gold and a bronze in Cross Country (Spring Sitting, 5KM Sitting, and 12 KM Sitting, respectively) as well as two silver medals in biathlon competitions (6KM Sprint Sitting and 12.5KM Individual Sitting).
Another Nordic Skier, Kendall Gretsch, grabbed two gold medals in PyeongChang, one at the 6KM Sprint Sitting and one at the 12KM Sitting competitions. She is an elite athlete with Dare2tri, a Chicago area chapter of Disabled Sports USA.
22 year old Brenna Huckaby helped solidify Team USA’s dominance in snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games by earning the gold medal in Snowboard Cross and Banked Slalom. Huckaby started training with the National Abilities Center, a DSUSA chapter and has been a part of the DSUSA E-Team.
Tatyana McFadden, who is no stranger to the Paralympics having competed in five Paralympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016) winning seven gold medals, seven silver, and three bronze. The former Kennedy Krieger Institute Bennett Blazer (a chapter of DSUSA) also won the 2018 Boston Marathon and six days later took second place at the London Marathon.
To vote for your favorite female athlete, visit: http://www.espn.com/espys/story/_/page/voting42/.
(Photos courtesy of Team USA)