This week, ESPN announced its ESPY nominees in the “Best Outdoors Sports Athlete” category. They are:
J.R. Salzman, Lumberjack: Salzman swept gold in all three disciplines - Log Rolling, Boom Running and Mixed Doubles Boom Run - in the 2004 Great Outdoor Games. He had virtually no preparation before the Games as he had just completed basic training in the National Guard. He took second place in the Boom Run and third in Log Roll at the Lumberjack World Championships a few weeks after the Great Outdoor Games. Salzman is also tied as an all-time medal winner of the Games, earning a total of 12 medals in his six years as a Great Outdoor Games competitor.
Takahiro Omori, Bass Fishing: In search of large paydays and intense competition, Omori left the comfort of his homeland of Japan to compete in American bass fishing tournaments. With little money and no command of the English language, Omori took a job as a dishwasher in a Texas restaurant to afford continuing to bass fish. He won his first professional BASS tournament on the Lake of the Ozarks in Ozark, Mo., in 1996 and hasn’t looked back, winning a total of five BASS tournaments. The largest win came on Lake Wylie in Charlotte, N.C. in 2004. Omori won the Super Bowl of bass fishing, the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, in dramatic fashion. With just 10 minutes left in the tournament, Omori caught two bass, coming from behind to capture the most prestigious title in fishing.
Aaron Martens, Bass Fishing: Martens is a West Coast guy in a sport dominated mostly by East Coast anglers. His love of nature as a child earned him the nickname "Nature Boy." Martens honed his craft by fishing on the Western Open with his mother, Carol, and first won on Lake Oroville in California in 1999. Martens has finished second twice in the CITGO Bassmaster Classic and looks to build on this year's success with a win at the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic (Pittsburgh, Penn., July 29-31).
Sheree Taylor, Women’s Endurance : A titan of the Great Outdoor Games, New Zealand’s Taylor won the Games’ gold medal in Women’s Endurance, which includes competition in three wood-cutting categories: stock saw, chopping and single buck. She was nominated for an ESPY in 2003.
Past ESPY Award winners in the Outdoors Sports Athlete category include Great Outdoors Games competitor Tina Bosworth in 2004, angler Jay Yelas in 2003 and angler Kevin VanDam in 2002.
Fans can find more information and vote online for their favorite athlete at http://espn.go.com/espy2005/index.html or http://www.ESPNDeportes.com
The 2005 ESPY Awards will gather sports and entertainment celebrities to recognize top achievements, relive memorable moments and salute the best performers.
The 2005 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on July 13. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on July 17 at 9 p.m. ET, preceded by the ESPY Red Carpet Special on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET.
Since its inception in 2001, ESPN Outdoors has strived to inform and entertain anglers, hunters, campers and people of all ages who enjoy the outdoors. ESPN Outdoors is committed to increasing awareness of outdoor activities, a direction best exemplified by daily television programming totaling nearly 1,000 hours annually on ESPN and ESPN2.
For more information, contact ESPN Outdoors Communications at (407) 566-2208.