The ESPYs may not carry as much notoriety as the Oscars or Emmys, but for athletes, it means the world. It is the one awards show that is exclusively dedicated to sports and the athletes that play them. Not to mention, the awards are all voted on by the fans, creating an even sweeter feeling when an athlete wins. So, as you can imagine, Anna Gasser and Mark McMorris were ecstatic when they each won their first ESPY last Wednesday.
First Austrian To Win ESPY
Gasser was voted the best female action sports athlete after a dominant season, winning four of the five events she competed in. Those four wins include golds in slopestyle at the Burton US Open and X Games Norway.
The female action sports category has been dominated by snowboarders since the award was established in 2003. A combination of halfpipe and slopestyle competitors account for 8 of the 14 winners with Gasser notching the fourth in a row for snowboarding. On the other hand, Gasser became the first Austrian, male or female, to win an ESPY in its 25 years of existence. She looks to continue the good fortune for her homeland in 2018, where she will be representing Austria in big air and slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Road To Recovery
After rehabbing from a broken femur suffered in 2016, McMorris stormed back, winning three X Games medals, two World Cup titles, and a gold at the Burton US Open on the way to his first ESPY. It was the fourth ESPY nomination for the Canadian snowboarder, who joins Shaun White (6) as the only snowboarders to win best male action sports athlete.
Despite winning the award, McMorris has a long way to go if he wants to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics. While filming in the Canadian backcountry, he suffered horrific injuries in an accident that nearly took his life. McMorris is currently recovering from a ruptured spleen, collapsed lung, and fractures in his jaw, pelvis, arm, and ribs. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old superstar plans to be ready for the trip to South Korea come February.