Bowling News USA - July 15, 2011 Belmonte Travels "Victory Road" ... Rides High with ESPY
Storm International star Jason Belmonte's popularity among bowling fans became apparent Wednesday when the Australian two-handed player was selected as the fans' choice for the 2011 "Best Bowler" ESPY Award at the annual ESPY Awards ceremony at Nokia Theater.
With seven top 10 finishes during the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season and a win with New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul (below right) as his doubles partner in the Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational, Belmonte won the fan voting contest on ESPN.com over fellow PBA Tour competitors Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Barnes and Bill O'Neill.
"I'm so excited to win the ESPY," said Belmonte, who was on hand in Los Angeles to accept his award. "I'd like to thank my family and friends and to everyone who voted. I will remember this for a very long time."
"This ESPY is a tribute to Jason's popularity and the respect he has garnered with his two-handed bowling style," said Storm President Dave Symes. "Jason is an outstanding ambassador to the bowling world and a great asset to our team."
Belmonte, the 2008-09 PBA Rookie of the Year, was the first player to win a PBA Tour event with a two-handed delivery.
Belmonte has taken the high road concerning highly publicized events on the PBA Tour telecasts labeled 'bottlegate."
"I respect the sport that has given me so much," said Belmonte. "I respect the sport I love. I would never do anything to put bowling and it’s fragile image at any more risk than what it is at right now. Further more, I’m not one of the depressed, negative bowlers who believe bowling is ruined for all eternity, I believe in the words of Thomas Fuller, “The Darkest hour is just before the dawn”. This is bowling’s darkest hour and we as a bowling community need to do what we can to make sure we see the dawn rise. I don’t believe that cursing, abusing or trying to imply, that a professional bowler on the PBA tour is out there cheating his way to victories by putting people off popping a water bottle, is the best way to promote bowling."
ESPY Award candidates are selected by ESPN staff for a variety of sports and special moments in athletic competition, and winners are determined by fan voting.
The first ESPYs were awarded in 1993. Because of the ceremony's rescheduling prior to the 2002 iteration thereof, awards presented in 2002 were for achievement and performances during the seventeen-plus months previous. As the similarly-styled Grammy (for music), Emmy (for television), and Academy Award (for film), the ESPYs are hosted by a contemporary celebrity; the style, though, is more relaxed, light, and self-referential than that of many other awards shows, with comedic sketches usually included. The host for the 2011 ESPYS was Seth Meyers and the head writer is Jonathan Drubner.
BEST BOWLER ESPY AWARD WINNERS
2011 – Jason Belmonte
2010 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2009 – Norm Duke
2008 – Norm Duke
2007 – Norm Duke
2006 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2005 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2004 – Pete Weber
2003 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2002 – Pete Weber
2001 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2000 – Parker Bohn III
1999 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
1998 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
1997 – Bob Learn Jr.
1996 – Mike Aulby
1995 – Norm Duke
1994 – Norm Duke
(segments courtesy: bowlingdigital.com, pba.com)
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