"To be nominated alongside all these incredible athletes and be chosen to bring this award home is simply amazing!"
US Para snowboarders Brenna Huckaby and Mike Schultz scooped the prestigious 2018 ESPY awards for the Best Female and Male Athlete with a Disability, respectively, during a stunning ceremony on Wednesday (18 July) in Los Angeles, USA.
The annual awards celebrate achievements of individuals and teams from the past year in sports and invited fans to vote for their favourites online.
Huckaby swept both SB-LL1 competitions in her Paralympic Winter Games debut. She became the only US athlete to go undefeated in an individual competition at PyeongChang 2018.
Huckaby wrote on Instagram: “Am I dreaming?! Such a huge honor to stand with other such incredible athletes. …
“Lastly, I wanted to say thank you to my mom who moved across the country to give me a chance at a new life. Thank you for my dad and brothers who missed out on having a mom and sister at home for two years while I chased my dream to be on the US National Team. Thank you to my fiancé who is my biggest fan and who takes amazing care of our daughter while I travel. Thank you to my daughter for my main motivation. I do all of this for you. Thank you to my coach for teaching me how to snowboard. Thank you to all of you for voting for me. We did it! I am so honored to be here.”
Schultz’s impressive Paralympic debut included winning snowboard-cross gold and banked slalom SB-LL1 silver. He started a company called BioDapt in 2010 after losing his leg in a snowmobile accident and designed prosthetics used by many athletes today.
Schultz wrote on his Instagram: “What!! Truly an incredible honor and surprise to accept this #espy award! To be nominated alongside all these incredible athletes and be chosen to bring this award home is simply amazing! Thank You to all of my friends, family and fans who took the time to vote over the last couple weeks. Thank you to my wonderful supportive wife, my daughter super fan Lauren, my sponsors, and my US Parasnowboard team for helping me to be the best athlete and person I can be!”
Six other US Para athletes were nominated for the awards, including five PyeongChang 2018 champions; Dan Cnossen, Kendall Gretsch and Oksana Masters (Nordic skiing); Declan Farmer (Para ice hockey) and Andrew Kurka (alpine skiing); as well as wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden.