The 2012 ESPY Awards are upon us and when it comes to choosing the best and brightest stars across all major sporting disciplines the decision is up to you! ESPN has turned to the sport-loving masses to cast their vote online by 11:59 pm (EST) on July 9th. The votes will be tallied and the winners will be recognized on July 11th when the ESPYS|20 air at 9:00 pm (EST) on ESPN. Hosting the evening’s festivities will be none-other than actor/comedian Rob Riggle, best known for his roles on The Daily Show and The Hangover.
One category to look for in particular is the award for “Best Female Athlete with a Disability”. Up for this year’s award is Alana Nichols, Jessica Long Chelsea McClammer Melissa Stockwell and Tatyana McFadden. When it comes to these athletes, the term disabled is used very loosely. These women are pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible in sport, and despite their disabilities, are able to take their craft further than many of their fully-abled counterparts.
The Ski Channel is particularly fired up about about Alana Nichols, who not only excels in Paralympic Basketball but in Alpine Skiing as well! The dual-athlete is hard at work preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London, and just finished up a stellar winter season in the 2012 IPC Alpine World Cup. Nichols took home the globe for speed, and finished third overall in the world for the women’s sitting division in both Giant slalom and Slalom.
Alana Nichols is without a doubt the favored pick in this year’s award running. After a snowboarding injury left her paralyzed from the waist down in 2000, Nichols turned to Paralympic Basketball to maintain her competitive spirit. After a successful gold medal debut in the 2008 Beijing Games the Olympian began working with the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado and rekindled her focus on snow sports. With numerous podiums in super G, downhill and super combined under her belt, Nichols was ready to tackle Vancouver and competed in the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games. Alana demonstrated her prowess on the slopes with gold in downhill and giant slalom, silver in super G and third in super combined. Although she is pitted against some steep competition, the title of first American woman to earn gold medals in the summer and winter games makes her a difficult force to match. All eyes are on this young adaptive phenomenon as we approach another cycle of the Olympic Games.
In the meantime, the ESPY Awards are the time for society’s athletic pioneers to be recognized for their contributions to the international sporting community. Just as professional competitions rely on the fans to come out and support their favorite teams and athletes — the 2012 ESPY award nominees rely on their fans to cast their online vote to support their bids. The best part? Unlike major sporting events, you can show your support from the comfort of you own home by casting your votes online! Come to think of it, a congregation of this many exciting sport disciplines would make for an epic tailgate!