BRISTOL, Connecticut, June 24. FOR the first time since 2008, aquatic sports are left out of the nominations for the prestigious ESPY Awards, which honor athletes in various sports from the past year.
The American cable sports news outlet ESPN, which started the award ceremony in 2003, announced nominees in 33 categories today. Notable names such as basketball player Kevin Durant, football player Peyton Manning, skier Mikaela Shiffrin and fighter Ronda Rousey are listed in the best male and female athlete categories. The ceremony will also name winners in such categories as best bowler, golfer, race car driver and tennis player.
The award is given to an athlete for outstanding performances in the previous 17 months, and none of the amazing performances at last year’s world championships by such athletes as Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte were mentioned. Though the nominees tend to favor Americans — or foreign athletes playing in American professional sports — several international stars have been on the list, so Ruta Meilutyte, Rikke Pedersen and Sun Yang could have made the cut.
The last time aquatic sports did not appear on the ESPY nomination list was for the 2007 show. Since then, a swimmer, diver or water polo player has been honored as a nominee, with a few wins along the way.
Two disabled athletes and an open water swimmer were nominated for the 2008 awards, and Michael Phelps picked up five trophies in 2009 for his legendary performances at the Beijing Olympics, and one last year after claiming more medals in London. Amy Van Dyken was swimming’s first ESPY recipient, taking the award in 1997 after winning four gold medals at the 1996 Olympics.