Eight U.S. Paralympians – seven of whom competed at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 – are nominated for the 2018 ESPY Awards, an honor that recognizes individual and team achievements in sports. All eight nominees have connections to Disabled Sports USA. Meet the nominees below.
Best Male Athlete With A Disability:
Four Paralympic men have been nominated for a 2018 ESPY Award. Disabled Sports USA is proud to have connections with all of them either through a program, chapter or event.
Andrew Kurka is an alpine skier who won two medals PyeongChang, South Korea – gold in downhill sitting and silver in super-G sitting. Kurka has been a member of DSUSA’s E-Team and part of Challenge Alaska, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA.
Dan Cnossen has a strong connection to a DSUSA chapter and performed extremely well in the two Nordic skiing disciplines at the Paralympics. Cnossen, a former Navy SEAL who has trained with the National Sports Center for the Disabled (a DSUSA chapter) won six medals overall: gold in the 7.5-kilometer biathlon, silvers in the 12.5K biathlon, 15K cross-country, 15K biathlon and 7.5K cross-country, and bronze in cross-country sprint sitting.
Snowboarder Mike Schultz contributed more than just medals for the U.S Paralympic snowboarding team. The entire team (in the LL-1 and Ll-2 classes) uses the prosthetic knee (Moto Knee) and foot (Versa foot) Schultz designed. Schultz was selected by his peers to lead the U.S. delegation into the Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang. On top of that, he took home the gold medal in snowboardcross and silver in banked slalom. In addition to his involvement with a DSUSA chapter, Schultz attended Ski Spec in Breckenridge, Colorado, in 2014 and 2015.
No one will forget the incredible come-from-behind win by the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team in PyeongChang. In overtime, the team beat rival Canada with a final score of 2-1 to claim its third straight Paralympic gold medal. Two-time Paralympian Declan Farmer, who has spent time with DSUSA chapter Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports in Colorado, contributed significantly to the team’s success. In South Korea, he registered 17 points (11 goals and six assists) over five games and tied a U.S. record for most goals in a single Paralympic Winter Games. He also scored the tying goal against Canada in regulation and the game-winning goal in overtime.
Best Female Athlete With A Disability:
Disabled Sports USA is connected to the four women nominated in the Female Athlete With A Disability category as well.
Paralympic veteran Oksana Masters cleaned house in PyeongChang. Masters, who has participated in DSUSA events, earned a total of five medals, including two golds and a bronze in cross-country (1.1-kilometer, 5K and 12 K, respectively), and two silvers in biathlon (6K and 12K). She was also chosen as Closing Ceremony flag bearer.
Another Nordic skier, Kendall Gretsch, grabbed two gold medals in PyeongChang, in the 6K biathlon and 12K cross-country sitting events. She is an elite athlete with Dare2tri, a Chicago-area chapter of Disabled Sports USA.
Twenty-two-year-old Brenna Huckaby helped solidify Team USA’s dominance in snowboarding at the Games by earning golds in both snowboardcross and banked slalom. Huckaby started training with the National Abilities Center, a DSUSA chapter and has been a part of the DSUSA E-Team.
Tatyana McFadden is no stranger to the Paralympics having competed at five Games (2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016) in two sports and winning seven gold medals, seven silvers and three bronzes. The former Kennedy Krieger Institute Bennett Blazer (a chapter of DSUSA) also won the 2018 Boston Marathon and six days later took second place at the London Marathon.