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Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: February 19, 10:54 AM ET
Sherwood, Higashino top FMX Awards nominees

By Colin Bane
XGames.com

Nominees for the 2012 Freestyle Motocross Awards were announced last week by the Berlinièros Sports Agency, promoters of the International Freestyle Motocross Federation's Night of the Jumps World Tour. A panel of FMX experts determined this year's nominees; voting in 16 categories is now open to the public through Feb. 28 at FMXAwards.com. This is the seventh annual iteration of the FMX Awards, which will be presented online on March 20.

"There are a lot of awards in the entertainment industry, so I thought it would be a good idea to create something for the freestyle motocross scene," FMX Awards founder Oliver Franke said. "But I did not want to have it decided only by experts. I wanted to have the fans and the people outside the industry to decide who are the best riders of the year. So we created this two-part voting. First the experts, for the nominees, and finally the fans."

The nominees for the top prize, Best International FMX Rider, include 2012 Red Bull X-Fighters champion Levi Sherwood [New Zealand] and X Games Los Angeles 2012 Moto X Freestyle winner Taka Higashino [Japan], as well as Dany Torres [Spain], Tom Pagès [France], and Josh Sheehan [Australia]. "If you ask me about the most emotional moment in seven years of the FMX Awards now, definitely it was the FMX Awards in 2008," Franke said. "The user voting just started when we heard of the tragic death of Jeremy Lusk. He was nominated for the FMX Awards in the two categories Best International FMX Rider and Best Trick Innovation. In both sections the users honored his incredible performance in 2008 and his lifetime achievement … this moment was very emotional for all of us."

No U.S. riders are nominated in the Best International FMX rider category this year, a sign of just how much the global FMX landscape has shifted. The 2012 Dew Cup winner Adam Jones made the list of nominees for Best American FMX Rider, alongside Mike Mason, Nate Adams, Todd Potter and Wes Agee.

Other rider categories include Best European FMX Rider, Best Australian FMX Rider, Best African FMX Rider, Best Asian FMX Rider and Best South American FMX Rider, as well as several categories for rookie riders. For the first time in the seven-year history of the awards, a category for Best Female FMX Rider has been added, with nominees including Emma McFerran [Australia], Jolene Van Vugt [Canada], Mary "Scary" Perkins [New Zealand] and Heather Williams [USA].

The X Games are nominated for Best FMX Contest/Series, alongside Red Bull X-Fighters, the Night of the Jumps World Tour, Nitro Circus Live and Nuclear Cowboyz. XGames.com is nominated for Best FMX Website, alongside NightOfTheJumps.com, FMXWorld.com, FreeriderMX.com.AU and Forty8.com.