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WHITE WINS TWO, TETER TAKES HOME FIRST ESPY AWARD

Elena Hight Wins Burton Snow Jam

LOS ANGELES (July 16) – You never know if Olympic gold medalist Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) is smiling or not behind his trademark “masked-bandit” black bandana he wears while competing, but there’s no covering up that toothy grin when White suits up in chocolate pinstripes for he 2006 ESPYS Co-presented by GMC and Under Armour. Tune in Sunday night, July 16, at 9 p.m. ET to watch White win two awards during the annual awards show on ESPN.

White, who was especially happy to accept a hug from Carmen Electra, collected his ESPYs for Best Olympian as well as Best Male Action Sport Athlete, while women's Olympic halfpipe champion Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), who has made several trip to the ESPYs, finally took home her career-first ESPY for Best Female Action Sport Athlete. A record seven Olympians and Paralympians from the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding were nominated for ESPY awards.

In capturing his Best Olympian award, White knocked off Teter and two U.S. Ski Team champions – women’s giant slalom gold medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) and men's alpine combined winner Ted Ligety (Park City, UT). Teter outpolled teammate and Olympic halfpipe silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Snowmass, CO), among others in her category. White and Teter were up for three awards apiece, and White now has three ESPYs in his career. White, nicknamed "The Flying Tomato" for his eye-catching shock of red hair, was one of only three double winners.

The sports world’s annual “Academy Awards” night came complete with a red carpet, star sightings and fancy threads for all in attendance. Besides Electra, other Hollywood hotties in attendance were Mariah Carey, Ashley Judd and Matthew McConaughey. "It was pretty cool. ESPN really did it first class all the way," said Ligety, noting he and a friend had flown in the day before and bought dress-up suits – Ligety in powder blue, his pal John Martz (who raced with Ligety as a kid in Park City) in a purple suit. "It was pretty sweet," according to Ligety.

He made his way through the traditional red carpet entrance without too much interruption because, Ligety said, "there were some other athletes right behind us. Kobe [NBA star Kobe Bryant] was a couple of guys behind us and we just hung out on the red carpet for a bit, watching all the big famous athletes coming in, getting the full-on royal treatment. Julia was already there, she was sitting behind us when we got inside..."

Nominated in the disabled male and female categories were cross country skier Steve Cook (Salt Lake City) and alpine sit-skier Laurie Stephens (Wenham, MA), who have Ski Racing magazine's Outstanding Disabled Skier of the Year for back-to-back seasons. Cook lost his right leg below the knee in a 1988 farming accident – and went on to win two gold medals and a bronze at the 2006 Paralympics while Stephens, who was born with spinal bifida, won two Paralympics gold medals and a silver plus three more World Cup titles this past season.

"They had all the skiers and snowboarders in the same area," Cook said. "It was pretty cool, especially that ESPN recognized both male and female disabled athletes. We didn't win, but it was a great experience. And at 38 years old, I finally bought my first suit...I'm sure I'll wear it again sometime," he said laughing.


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