On ESPN tonight the Excellent Sports Performance Yearly Awards or the ESPYs are on giving awards to outstanding athletes! Three of the athletes that we have gifted our ‘Celebrate the USA’ bracelets to are nominated for awards!
Jessica Long is an inspiration to athletes and her fans everywhere. Her legs were amputated when she was just 18 months old. While some would feel negatively about this happening to them, Jessica made sure that it would never hold her back.
She began swimming in her grandparents’ pool before joining her first competitive team in 2002. The next year, Long was selected as Maryland Swimming’s 2003 Female Swimmer of the Year with a Disability.
At the 2004 Paralympic Games, Long was the youngest athlete on the U.S. Paralympic Team, and at 12 years of age won three gold medals. In 2008, Long six medals at the Paralympics, including four gold. In addition to her four gold medals, Long set three new world records. She will be in London for the Paralympics this year.
Christian Taylor is a track and field super star who competes in the triple jump. He set state high school records in the long jump, triple jump and the 400 meters, later going on to score a hat-trick of titles in those events at the 2008 National Scholastic Indoor Championships. He made his first international appearances while he was a high school student: he won the triple jump gold medal at the 2007 World Youth Championships in Athletics.
He closed his freshman year of college at the University of Florida with a third place finish in the triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Taylor established himself as the one of his country’s best with a clearance of 17.18 m in March 2010, which made him the best American triple jumper that year.
At the 2011 World Championships in South Korea, Taylor won the triple jump title with a distance of 17.96 m, a personal best for him. On Taylor’s fourth attempt, he leaped a distance of 17.96 m, a huge improvement from his previous personal best of 17.68 m, and was good enough for the gold medal. The jump was also the tenth best jump in history.
Carmelita Jeter is a Nike sponsored sprinter athlete who specializes in the 100 meters. Jeter’s basketball coach suggested that she try out track, and a 11.7 second run confirmed her natural talent for sprinting. Jeter set the record for most NCAA medals by a Cal State Dominguez Hills track athlete and became the University’s first U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier.
She entered the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Final having won her last three races by a significant margin. Even taking this into account, Jeter surprised with one of the highlights of the final edition of the IAFF World Athletics Finals.
She won the 100 m race in Greece with a time of 10.67, to become the third fastest woman in history and set a championship record.This was the fastest run in twelve years. She will be competing in London this year for the Olympics.