Orlando, Florida (July 16, 2004)- Dallas Friday has done what no wakeboarder in the history of the sport has accomplished, winning an ESPY in the category of Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
The ESPY Awards were created by ESPN in 1993 and are given for Excellence in Sports Performance. No other award brings together all of sport, honoring the best performances, most memorable moments and, with the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, those whose courage and conviction transcend sport.
Dallas Friday is the first wakeboarder, male or female, to even been nominated for an ESPY. But, the 17-year old professional women's wakeboarder from Orlando, Florida took home the award at the 12th annual ESPY Awards at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre in a ceremony on Wednesday, July 14.
"I can't believe it! When my category came up and after 10.5 million votes had been submitted, I simply could not believe they called out my
name," said Friday. "No doubt it was one of the happiest and most thrilling moments of my life. This is such a huge milestone for the great sport of wakeboarding, and especially for us women!"
Friday has been one of the most dominant athletes in any sport over the past two years, winning 12 of 14 professional women's titles in 2003 and 2004. Her major victories over that span include two Indmar Performance Awards as the top female wakeboarder on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, an X Games title, the National and World Championships, two Malibu Open Championships, two U.S. Masters Championships and the Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding Championship.
"I am extremely happy for Dallas, and think that she really deserved the ESPY," said Matt Hickman, Editor of Wake Boarding magazine. "Dallas is the best woman wakeboarder in the world, and to be honored by fans of all sports it is a great accomplishment. I can't emphasize enough how much the ESPY award does to elevate the sport of wakeboarding in general."
Friday will remain in Los Angeles through the weekend where true to form she will try to take her abilities to the next level by challenging the pro men in an attempt to qualify for the Pro Wakeboard Tour stop at Irvine Lake in Irvine, California on Saturday, July 17.
This event does not feature a pro women's competition, so Friday will have to match her skills against those of the top wakeboarders in the world, including three-time X Games Champion Danny Harf and defending Pro Wakeboard Tour Season Champion Parks Bonifay.
The competition for the ESPY award was very tight, with each woman selected for domination of her particular sport. Other athletes nominated in the Best Female Action Sports Athlete category were: Layne Beachley, an Australian surfer who has won six consecutive ASP world titles; skier Aleisha Cline, who has won five gold medals in six years at the Winter X Games and Skier X; and Hannah Teter, who has been on the podium for eight of the eleven halfpipe competitions between 2002 and 2003.
The ESPY winners were announced during a gala ceremony at ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 14. The tape-delayed telecast will air on ESPN July 18 at 9 p.m. ET. With a Red Carpet show preceding the ESPYs at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
For the first time, fans determined the winners in all 36 ESPY Awards categories, including the 19 cross-cutter honors that pit athletes from different sports against each other. More than 10.5 million votes were cast online at www.espn.com from June 21 through July 9.