BRISTOL, Connecticut, June 27. THREE of the biggest names on the American roster at the 2012 Olympics — Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte — are on the list of popular names in the running for the ESPY Awards.
The annual awards honor the best athletes in various sports, and swimmers often win big in the years after the Olympics. Phelps won the Male Athlete of the Year in 2009 after his eight golds in Beijing, and the 400 free relay from those Games received Best Moment.
This year, Phelps is nominated in three categories. He's among the four nominees for Best Male Athlete, along with Detroit Tigers baseball player Miguel Cabrera, Miami Heat basketball player LeBron James and Minnesota Vikings football player Adrian Peterson.
Phelps will have the chance to win a second ESPY in the Best Record-Breaking performance category, for becoming the most decorated Olympian with 22 medals. Football player Drew Brees' touchdown record, football player Calvin Johnson's yardage record and soccer player Abby Wambach's scoring record are also nominated.
And it's nothing new to see Phelps and Lochte competing for a win. Both are nominated in the Best Male US Olympian category with Olympic champion decathlete Ashton Eaton.
Franklin has some tough competition in the Best Female Athlete category. Olympic champion gymnast Gabby Douglas is in the running, as is tennis player Serena Williams and Baylor University basketball player Brittney Griner.
Franklin and Douglas are nominated with gymnast Ali Rasman in the Best Female US Olympian category as well.
Swimming is almost always represented annually in the disability athletes categories, and Paralympian Brad Snyder was nominated in the male category with Jeremy Campbell, Jeff Fabry, Raymond Martin and Tyler Walker.
Two swimmers made it into the Female Athlete With a Disability category. Victoria Arlen and Jessica Long, both Paralympic gold medalists, will vie for the award with Muffy Davis, Tatyana McFadden and Shirley Reilly.
Surprisingly, Kevin Cordes was not on the list of nominees for Best Male College Athlete after breaking barriers at the 2013 NCAA championships.
Lochte and Franklin will not be attending the ceremony, as they will be preparing for competition at the world championships.
Fans can vote for their favorite nominee by going to the ESPY home page.