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TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

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Rulon Gardner nominated for three ESPY Awards



Olympic gold-medalist Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner (Afton, Wyo./Sunkist Kids) was nominated for three ESPY awards, announced ESPN on Thursday, January 11. The ninth annual ESPY Awards will be presented on Feb. 12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. The awards honor excellence in sports performance yearly. This year's awards (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) will be hosted by Samuel L. Jackson and feature 34 categories including the performer of the year in 20 professional and college sports categories. The winners will be chosen by the ESPY Awards Academy, which includes Hall of Fame athletes representing each of the sports as well as voting members of the media. The award categories (with nominees) that include Gardner, according to ESPN.com, are Most Memorable Moment of the Year ESPY nominees Cathy Freeman (Credentials: With Olympic torch/winning gold in 400 meters) Rulon Gardner (Credentials: Wins wrestling gold by upsetting Alexander Karelin.) Keith Primeau (Credentials: Goal in 5th overtime to beat Pens.) Tiger Woods (Credentials: Putt on 18th at PGA Championship to send tourney into sudden death.) Breakthrough Athlete of the Year ESPY nominees Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota Vikings (Credentials: After playing in one game in '99, he led Vikings to 11-2 start in 2000) Rulon Gardner, U.S. Olympic wrestler (Credentials: Won gold medal in greco-roman wrestling-130 KG when he beat three-time Olympic champion Alexander Karelin of Russia) Josh Heupel, U. of Oklahoma QB (Credentials: Threw for over 3,000 yards in leading Oklahoma to its first undefeated regular season since '87. Is the All-time Oklahoma leader in passing yards and total offense) Marat Safin, men's tennis (Credentials: Was 25th in world at end of 1999. Won U.S. Open for first Grand Slam singles title) Male US Olympic Athlete of the Year ESPY nominees Rulon Gardner (Credentials: Won gold medal in greco-roman wrestling -130 KG) Maurice Greene (Credentials: Won gold medals in 100 and 4 X 100 relay) Michael Johnson (Credentials: Won gold medals in 400 and 4 X 400 relay) Lenny Krayzelburg (Credentials: Won three gold medals - 100 and 200 meter backstroke, 400 medley relay) Golfer Tiger Woods received the most ESPY nominations with six. No wrestler has ever received an ESPY award. Gardner has received a number of major honors since his shocking victory over previously unbeaten Alexander Kareline in Sydney on September 27. He was chosen by his peers to carry the U.S. flag in the Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Games. Gardner was elected as the 2000 USOC SportsMan of the Year, only the second wrestler so honored. He placed sixth in the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year balloting, and was selected to The Sporting News' 100 Most Powerful list in sports. He was also selected for one of USA Today's 2000 Sports Awards, winning the "Best Original Score" award.
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