The Cartoon Network’s third annual Hall of Game Awards show recognized some of the most incredible sports performances over the past year. Billed as the only sports award show for kids, the nominees included more than 20 Olympians and took in approximately one billion online votes to determine the winners.
Sharing the green carpet with actors, NFL players and costumed characters was a chance to be a kid again for many athletes who are already beginning to look forward to their next competitions in between attending events.
Two-time Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian said, “It’s a balance. Fall was designated as, ‘Alright, I’m going to train while I’m home, but I am going to travel as much as possible and get to enjoy the Olympic fallout as much as I can.’ Now is when the training gets a little more important and a little more serious as the world championships roll around in the summer, but with that, something like this isn’t something that we can turn down. This is just fun.”
Swimmers, basketball and volleyball players, gymnasts and track stars reconnect at events like the Hall of Game Awards and swap their workout clothes for a little glamour.
A three-time Olympic champion on the track in London, Allyson Felix took the stage to present the “In It to Win It” award. “It’s always fun when you get to see each other again,” said Felix. “It’s always fun to leave the track gear at home and put on a nice dress every now and then.”
“This is the first time that I’ve been with my teammates in the New Year so we’re very excited to see each other and it’s an awesome reunion and also to see all the other Olympians that we met in the Olympic Village is very exciting, too,” said Jordyn Wieber.
“I’m just so jittery right now, I’m so happy to see everyone!” exclaimed Gabrielle Douglas about reuniting with her teammates and other Olympians.
“It’s nice to get back and see these guys, see the Olympic gymnasts,” said swimmer Conor Dwyer. “I train with Ryan (Lochte) so it’s nice to be around him, but getting to hang out with Nathan (Adrian) in a different environment other than a swimming pool is always fun.”
The event was hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, who is a 1996 Olympic gold medalist himself, and actor/comedian Nick Cannon. The high-energy crowd of kids in the audience was thrilled to see Cannon and O’Neal enter with the company of a marching band drum line and carrying the “Hall of Game” torch. In addition to watching the award-winning names being read from giant foam fingers instead of opening traditional envelopes, nominees and kids alike enjoyed the performances by acrobatic jump ropers, trampoline-assisted basketball players, and high-flying BMX and skateboard tricksters.
Ryan Lochte locked up the award for “That’s How I Roll,” for being the athlete with the most style. He compared the weight of the award to a gold medal and encouraged kids in the audience to have fun and listen to their coaches.
For U.S. Olympic Team enthusiasts, the most exciting category to keep an eye on was likely “She's Got Game” since each of the four nominees are 2012 Olympians. Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas went home with the hardware from a tough field that included tennis phenom Serena Williams, soccer star Alex Morgan and basketball great Tamika Catchings.
LeBron James won the illuminated GAME trophy in the “He’s Got Game” category and Team USA athletes made it a clean sweep of the “Got Game” categories with the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team – or The Fierce Five – winning the “We Got Game” award.