With seven top-10 finishes in the past 12 months, reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Michael Iaconelli is among the nominees for "Best Outdoor Athlete" at the 2007 ESPYs co-presented by Hummer and Under Armour.Hosts Jimmy Kimmel and LeBron James will be joined on stage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre by the biggest stars in sports and entertainment at the 15th annual celebration of the top moments, most emotional stories and best performances from the past year in sports, televised at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, July 15, on ESPN.
Iaconelli, who is from Runnemede, N.J., discovered competitive bass fishing just after high school and set his sights on a career in his favorite sport. After just a few years as a pro, he reached the pinnacle of bass fishing, winning the 2003 Bassmaster Classic.Since June 2006, Iaconelli, 35, has finished among the top 20 in eight of 14 events. He has had Bassmaster Elite Series finishes of second (2007 Battle on the Border) fourth (2006 Capitol Clash), sixth ('06 Empire Chase) and 10th ('06 Sooner Run).Iaconelli, who is now 19th in this season's Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, has 29 top-10 finishes overall in BASS competition. He has made it to the Bassmaster Classic eight times in his career and has earned more than $1.29 million, weighing in more than 3,072 pounds of bass.
Iaconelli will be up against four other nominees: mountaineer Samantha Larson, at 18 years old believed to be the youngest person to have climbed the "seven summits" – the highest peaks on each continent; mountaineer Ian McKeever, who has climbed six of the highest mountains on each continent since January 2007 and was expected today to summit the seventh, Denali; musher Lance Mackey, the back-to-back winner of the Iditarod and Yukon Quest international dog race; and runner Dean Karnazes, who ran 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states from September through November 2006.For the fourth consecutive year, fans will determine the winners in all contested categories by voting, which starts today at www.espys.tv and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET July 7 (last year, more than 12 million votes were tabulated). The ESPYs include 19 "Best in Sport" categories, which pit athletes from different sports against each other, along with 17 individual sport categories and two sponsored awards. Additionally, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award will be presented to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, and the first Jimmy V Award for Perseverance will be presented to an individual whose performance has evoked emotion and provided inspiration to the sports world.
This year's nominees will be featured, discussed and debated during The ESPY Nomination Special on Tuesday, June 26, at 7 p.m. on ESPN, hosted by ESPN First Take's Jay Crawford and Dana Jacobson from ESPN's studios in Bristol, Conn. The first recipient of the new Jimmy V Award will be announced during the hour-long special presentation, which will also include commentary by Jim Rome as well as Pardon the Interruption's Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.Also today, LiveVideo.com has launched an official ESPYs channel at www.livevideo.com/espys that features entertaining new video clips from James and Kimmel along with highlights from past ESPYs. Live pre-show coverage from the ESPYs taping will be available exclusively on both LiveVideo.com and ESPN360.com (broadband) from 8 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, as well as to Verizon subscribers via ESPN Mobile Products. Other new media offerings will include special video vignettes remembering the best moments in ESPYs history and a variety of ESPYs content to be found at www.espys.tv.