Jessica Long Named Best Female Athlete with a Disability by ESPYs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, July 17. U.S. Paralympian Jessica Long won the award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability at the 2007 ESPY Awards Wednesday night in Hollywood, Calif.

Additionally, Casey Tibbs, representing Track and Field, won the Best Male Athlete with a Disability award.

"We are very proud of Casey and Jessica for everything they have accomplished athletically and what they have done for Paralympic sport in the United States," said Charlie Huebner, Chief of U.S. Paralympics. "They are deserving of these awards and being recognized among the world's best athletes."

Long , 15, a bilateral below-the-knee amputee, had a spectacular 2006 season, highlighted by her performance at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa, in December, where she won nine gold medals and set five world records in the S8 classification: 100m freestyle (1:07.03), 400m freestyle (4:53.14), 100m butterfly (1:13.25), 200m Individual Medley (2:43.60) and the 34-point 4x100m freestyle relay.

This year, Long became the first Paralympic athlete to win the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, presented to the USA's best amateur athlete. Long has also been honored as the U.S. Olympic Committee's 2006 Paralympian of the Year and Swimming World Magazine's 2006 Disabled Swimmer of the Year.

Special thanks to U.S. Paralympics for contributing this report.