Being an Olympic year where snowboarding had a pretty big share of the coverage and the U.S. snagged four of the possible six freestyle gold medals, it is no surprise to see a large group representing at the ESPYS from our sport. It mostly just begs the question, WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT THE OLYMPICS?
Like it or not, every four years riders ditch the Gore-tex for Givenchy and step on stage with the rest of the sports world at ESPN's annual award show, and the post-PyeongChang summer is no different. Getting the nod from the mainstream, Chloe Kim, Markus Kleveland, Red Gerard, Shaun White, and Jamie Anderson are all up for 2018 ESPYS, as well as Paralympians Mike Schultz and Brenna Huckaby, with the final awards tallied up on July 18, 2018. Check out below for our thoughts on the categories and nominees.
After an incredible year for all the riders named, Chloe Kim is still standing out amongst the accomplished crowd. Adding to her Time 100 Most Influential People of 2018 honor, Kim has once again broke the mold out of the action sports arena and is officially on the ballot for Best Female Athlete overall. Not to diminish the rest of the nominees, but it is rare that we see a snowboarder's name in line for the same honor as names like Venus and Serena Williams. Then again, Lindsey Vonn has taken home the award so is it really that hard or prestigious to get anyway? We couldn't be happier for Chloe, but our vote might be a write-in for Ester Ledecka for not only winning a snowboarding gold, but beating Lindsey Vonn with a gold in skiing on her way to doing it.
Marcus Kleveland, the only non-American to get the nod, is up for Best Male Action Sports Athlete. Whether it is due to his strong Olympic, X Games, or Instagram showing, he has a solid shot, and we are willing to put on record that he might be one of the most athletic people up for a nomination. Half the time he is riding, it looks like he is playing three different sports anyway. And make no mistake, he WILL be claimed by Cleveland fans everywhere as they try to hold onto any winning thing that remotely resembles or sounds like the city.
Chloe Kim and Jamie Anderson are both up for the Best Female Action Sports Athlete, an award Jamie has already won a handful of times. So in the spirit of sharing, we will be voting for Chloe on this one. Mostly for hope that she is invited to the White House and denies it.
As for the next category, Shaun White and Red Gerard are both up for Best Male Olympian. Just as stated above, we don’t even have to research it to know that Shaun White has probably won this award before. And also stated above, Cleveland fans will blindly vote for anything related to Cleveland and since our Online Editor is from Cleveland, Red will probably get the vote. White’s historic medal WAS his 3rd gold at the Olympic level, the 100th for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics, and done in dramatic fashion on his third and final run, but Red had to overcome the odds of being born in Cleveland and eventually winning something, so who really deserves it more?
On to Best Female Olympian category. Chloe and Jamie … We get it, they both had great years. Who cares at this point? They already got their golds! Since we went with Chloe up top, we will go with Jamie for putting down a run in "inclement" weather on this one.
Mike Schultz is up for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. Not only did he win a gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but he started BioDapt Inc. out in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which is a company that makes lower limb prosthetics specifically for action sports. It is hard to think of an example of giving back stronger than this one.
You might not have heard of her, but Brenna Huckaby is a snowboarder up for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. She's a one-time Paralympian with two gold medals, a mother, and the first Paralympian to appear in Sports Illustrated. Doing this all before her 23rd birthday, Brenna does not sound like someone that we want on our bad side. She might be president by the time she is 35. Get used to it and vote for her now.
You didn't think we were going to end it without Shaun getting an ESPY too, did you? Up for Best Olympic Moment, whether you believe Ayumu should have won or not, Shaun put down a hell of a run and now ESPN is calling.
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