COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -Six U.S. Paralympians have been nominated for the 2009 ESPY Awards, presented annually by ESPN. The nominees in the Best Female Athlete with a Physical Disability category are U.S. Paralympians Jessica Long (swimming/Baltimore, Md.), Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (sailing/Marblehead, Mass.), Asya Miller (women's goalball/Lapeer, Mich.) and Erin Popovich (swimming/Butte, Mont.). In the category of Best Male Athlete with a Physical Disability, are U.S. Paralympians Jeremy Campbell (track & field/Perryton, Texas) and Will Groulx (wheelchair rugby/Portland, Ore.). In its 17th year, the ESPY Awards will commemorate the most exciting moments, greatest achievements and top performances in athletics around the globe.
All six Paralympic nominees competed in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, where they helped Team USA to its best ever competitive finish in U.S. history. Below is a brief rundown of each of the athlete's athletic achievements.
Best Female Athlete with a Physical Disability - nominees
Jessica Long won six swimming medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games, including four gold (100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly & 200m individual medley relay) , one silver (100m backstroke) and one bronze (100m breaststroke).
Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, along with teammate Nick Scandone, who succumbed to his battle with Lou Gherig's disease in January, won the first-ever U.S. Paralympic sailing gold medal in the two-person keelboat event at the 2008 Paralympic Games. McKinnon-Tucker entered the history books as the first female gold medalist in the history of Paralympic sailing
Asya Miller helped the U.S. Paralympic Women's Goalball Team its first-ever gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games, beating China, 6-5. Miller was the high-scorer for Team USA and scored all six goals in the gold medal bout.
Erin Popovich won six medals, including four gold (100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 100m breaststroke & 200m individual medley relay) and two silver (50m butterfly & 50m freestyle) at the 2008 Paralympic Games.
Best Male Athlete with a Physical Disability - nominees
Track & field athlete Jeremy Campbell won a gold medal and set a world record in the pentathlon and also won gold in the men's discus event.
Wheelchair rugby athlete Will Groulx helped the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team to a gold medal finish against Australia, 53-44.
The last time a U.S. Paralympian won an ESPY Award was in 2007 when Jessica Long won in the "Best Female Athlete with a Disability" category and U.S. Paralympian Casey Tibbs (track & field) won in the male category.
The ESPY Awards will be determined solely by fans, so make your vote count at www.espys.tv or through text messaging at espn.mobi. Voting runs through July 11, and the ESPYs will be televised Sunday, July 19 at 9 p.m. E.T. on ESPN.