Thursday, July 15, 2004
Elliott honored with ESPY Award
Stewart Elliott, who rode Smarty Jones to victory in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I), was honored with an ESPY award Wednesday night.
For the first time, fans determined the winners in all 36 categories of the ESPYs, sponsored by ESPN, including the 19 cross-cutter honors that pit athletes from different sports against each other. More than 10.5 million votes were cast between June 21 and July 9.
Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was a repeat winner as Male Athlete of the Year, and former University of Connecticut basketball star Emeka Okafor was chosen Best Male College Athlete. Former University of Connecticut star Diana Taurasi won the Best College Female Athlete for the second straight year as well as the Best Female Athlete. The two led their respective teams to NCAA championships last spring.
Armstrong was honored as the Best Male Athlete over home run king Barry Bonds, quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and NBA star Kevin Garnett.
The Detroit Pistons, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers in last month's NBA Finals, were picked as the Best Team over the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, World Series-winning Florida Marlins, Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the UConn men's and women's basketball teams. Detroit's Larry Brown won the Best Coach/Manager award, and the Pistons were the winners in the new Best Upset category.
Among other winners were Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, Best Breakthrough Athlete; Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Best Male Golfer and Top Championship Performance; Manning, Best NFL Player; Garnett, Best NBA Player; Lauren Jackson, Best WNBA Player; Antonio Tarver, Best Boxer; Andy Roddick, Best Male Tennis Player; Gail Devers, Best Female Track and Field; and Serena Williams, Best Female Tennis Player.
Golfer Tiger Woods, a winner of a record 15 ESPY awards, didn't win one for the first time since 1999. Bonds and Sorenstam rank second all-time with six such awards. Bonds won as Best Baseball Player and Sorenstam as Best Female Golfer.
George Weah, best known for his achievements on the soccer field, received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his humanitarian efforts in his war ravaged homeland of Liberia and other African countries. The Ashe award is given to an athlete whose contributions transcend sports.
The ceremony will be televised Sunday on ESPN.