LOS ANGELES >> Multiple stars from last summer’s Rio Olympics highlight this year’s nominees for best male and female athletes for The ESPYS.
Swimmer Michael Phelps, who won five gold medals in Rio, joins National League MVP Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook as the four nominees for best male athlete.
Gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky, who each won four gold medals in Rio, are two of the four female finalists. The other two are tennis great Serena Williams and Candace Parker of the WNBA champion LA Sparks.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant are two of the nominees for best championship performance. Brady helped the Patriots overcome a 25-point deficit for the largest comeback in Super Bowl history and earn his fifth ring.
Durant was the NBA Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the Warriors’ five-game series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Westbrook and Phelps are also finalists for best record-breaking performance. Phelps extended his records to 23 gold medals and 28 total medals after his dominance in Rio.
Westbrook had 42 triple-doubles last season, breaking Oscar Robertson’s 55-year old record, and became just the second player to average a triple-double for a full season.
Mississippi State’s stunning win over UConn in women’s basketball in the NCAA Tournament Final Four is among the finalists for best upset. Morgan William’s jumper at the buzzer ended UConn’s 111-game winning streak that included four national championships.
Finalists for best international athlete include sprinter Usain Bolt, MMA fighter Conor McGregor and soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Cubs, who won the World Series for the first time since 1908, are a nominee for best team. U.S. soccer midfielder Christian Pulisic, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge are finalists for best breakthrough athlete.
The 25th ESPYS will be hosted by five-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning on July 12 on ABC.