Eight of the top performers from the X Games and Winter X Games are nominated for the17th annual ESPYs, which will be televised on ESPN Sunday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET. The 2009 ESPYs co-presented by Under Armour and Land Rover and hosted by Samuel L. Jackson release the nominees for Best Male Action Sport Athlete and Best Female Action Sport Athlete categories.
"It's an absolute honor to be nominated for an ESPY,” said ESPY nominee and motocross champion, James Stewart. “I am proud to be in the company of the other nominees not only in my category but within the show as a whole. This is a very prestigious deal." Stewart will make his debut at X Games 15 competing in Moto Super X.
The ESPY nominees for Best Action Sport Athlete:
BEST MALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE NOMINEES
Shaun White, Skateboarding & Snowboarding
Seventeen-time Winter and X Games medalist and 2006 Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White is the first X Games athlete to win gold in both summer and winter events. Recently, Shaun took home a Winter X gold in Slopestyle and SuperPipe, making him the only male athlete to win SuperPipe gold four times.
James Stewart, Motocross
Two-time AMA SuperCross Champion James Stewart is making his X Games debut this summer. After dominating the 2008 AMA MotoCross circuit, he took home the Championship title, becoming only the second rider to complete a perfect season.
Kelly Slater, Surfing
With nine ASP World Championship titles and two X Games Surfing gold medals, Kelly Slater is the most successful champion in the history of surfing. He is both the youngest and the oldest rider to win an ASP Championship and is the only rider to ever score a “perfect 20” heat total in ASP competition. One of the most famous surfers in the world, Slater also holds the record for most Elite Tour victories.
Ryan Sheckler, Skateboarding
Winning his first X Games gold at the age of 13 in 2007, Ryan Sheckler has dominated the competition circuit ever since. A fan favorite, Sheckler comes into X Games 15 this year as the defending X Games Skateboard Street gold medalist.
BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE NOMINEES
Ashley Fiolek, Motocross
In just her second season as a professional racer, 18-year-old Ashley Fiolek is taking the world of women’s motocross by storm. Deaf since birth, Fiolek has placed first in every AMA/WMA competition since September 2008. With 11 Amateur National Championships, Fiolek will make her first X Games appearance this summer and is a top contender for gold.
Sarah Burke, Skiing
Sarah Burke has Winter X Games SuperPipe hardware from every year since the sport’s debut in the X Games, including back-to-back gold medals from 2007 to 2009 and silvers in 2006 and 2005. In 2007, she became the first skier to win an ESPY Award; winning for Female Action Sports Athlete of the Year. An innovator in skiing progression, Sarah was the first woman to land a 720, 900 and 1080 in competition.
Torah Bright, Snowboarding
The first Australian to win a gold medal in Winter X Games history, Torah Bright earned a top-two finish in every Winter X Games Snowboard SuperPipe competition since 2006, including a recent gold finish at Winter X Games 13. Becoming the first woman to ever land a switch backside 720 in competition, Bright is known for her amplitude and technical spins. She is also the two-time Burton Global Open Series Champion.
Maya Gabeira, Surfing
Specializing in Big Wave Surfing, Maya Gabeira rides massive waves all over the world. Gabeira won the 2009 Billabong XXL Women’s Overall Performance Award for the third consecutive year. Gaining notoriety in a male-dominated sport, Gabeira is becoming a role model for females in big wave surfing.
For the second time, a limited amount of ESPYs tickets are available for public purchase through www.ticketmaster.com. The 2009 ESPYs will be taped Wednesday, July 15, from the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles and televised Sunday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ESPN’s one-hour nomination show will be televised Fri., June 26, at 8p.m. on ESPN2.
The ESPYs gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 2009 ESPYs will recognize both sport-specific achievements, such as “Best MLB Player” and “Best WNBA Player,” and best-in-sport winners, such as “Best Team” or “Best Female Athlete” that pit nominees from different sports against each other. The ESPYs honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993.
X Games 15
The 15th annual action sports competition will feature more than 250 of the world’s best athletes who will compete in BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard and Rally Car Racing. Tickets for X Games 15 are available for purchase at STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center box offices or online through www.Ticketmaster.com. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will air 20 hours of live coverage of the X Games July 30-August 2 – all available in high definition. Additional coverage will be provided via ESPN360.com, Xgames.com, ESPN Classic, ESPN International, SportsCenter and ESPN2’s X Center.