Fri, Jul 18, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Serena gets double honor at ESPYs

ESPN'S ESPY AWARDS Serena Williams was named female athlete of the year and female tennis player of the year, while cyclist Lance Armstrong was awarded as male athlete of the year

AP , LOS ANGELES

Tennis star Serena Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year at the 2003 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Serena Williams was honored as female athlete of the year and female tennis player of the year at sports broadcaster ESPN's 11th annual ESPY Awards on Wednesday, a year after she accepted the same trophies on behalf of older sister Venus.

Tiger Woods was named male golfer of the year for the fourth consecutive year, giving him a total of 15 awards. He didn't attend the show hosted by comedian Jamie Foxx at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. He is in England for the British Open, which begins Thursday.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong was chosen male athlete of the year over baseball slugger Barry Bonds, NBA star Tim Duncan and Woods, who had won the last three years. Armstrong is attempting his record fifth Tour de France this month. Three years ago, he was chosen comeback athlete after beating testicular cancer.

Serena Williams recently defeated Venus to win her second straight Wimbledon title and is 40-1 at major tournaments dating to the 2001 French Open. She defeated Venus for the female tennis player award, one of 17 categories decided for the first time by fan votes on the Internet.

Williams was the only double winner during the two-hour show. She beat out Lisa Leslie, Sweden's Annika Sorenstam and Connecticut basketball player Diana Taurasi for the female athlete award, which pits athletes from different sports against each other.

Williams thanked her divorced parents, who didn't attend.

"They really broke their backs and their wallets and everything else for me and my sister to have this opportunity," she said.

Bonds was chosen major league baseball player for the second consecutive year. Leslie, hobbled by a knee injury, repeated as WNBA player. Sorenstam won her second consecutive award for female golfer.

Gail Devers ended Marion Jones' five-year domination of the female track and field athlete award. Jones' boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, won the men's track award.

The World Series champion Anaheim Angels were chosen best team. Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks became the second goaltender to win NHL player, joining two-time winner Dominik Hasek of the Czech Republic.

Jon Gruden was named coach of the year for guiding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl title. Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons won NFL player honors. Quarterback Tommy Maddox of the Pittsburgh Steelers was chosen comeback athlete. Duncan, who helped the San Antonio Spurs win a championship, was named NBA player, beating out Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers, among others.

Bryant skipped the media gauntlet on the red carpet before the show, but sat in the audience smiling and laughing with his wife, Vanessa. Prosecutors in Colorado have yet to decide whether to file criminal charges against Bryant, who's been accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman.

He was nominated for NBA player and best play, but didn't win. He did not come backstage to talk to reporters.

"It's one mistake," said Gary Payton, Bryant's new teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers. "When he came here, that told me he's very comfortable."

Carmelo Anthony, who helped Syracuse win the NCAA championship before leaving for the NBA, was named male college athlete. The female award went to Taurasi.

"I want to thank myself," Anthony said, drawing laughter. "I put in all the hard work, day in and day out."

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