Declan Farmer and Josh Sweeney, members of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, have been presented with ESPN Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) awards to commemorate their achievement in athletics. The ESPYs are determined by fan vote and were awarded to 12 U.S. Olympians and Paralympians in Los Angeles, California, on July 17.
Farmer was awarded Best Male Athlete with a Disability for his two goals and one assist in Team USA’s 3-0 win against Canada, securing the U.S. spot in the match against Russia in which the United States took home the gold medal. Farmer also made one goal and one assist in Team USA’s 5-1 win over Italy.
Sweeney, who scored the gold-medal-winning goal in Team USA’s 1-0 victory over Russia, received the inaugural Pat Tillman Award for Service. The award was created by ESPN and the Pat Tillman Foundation in honor of former National Football League player and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman to recognize an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others. An able-bodied ice hockey player in high school, Sweeney was drawn to sled hockey while he was in rehabilitation following an injury he received from an improvised explosive device in October 2009 while serving as a sniper in the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. He received a Purple Heart for his service.
Earning the title of best female athlete with a disability is Jamie Whitmore, who won gold medals in the time trial and pursuit events with world-record times at the April 2014 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Para-cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Whitmore is a cancer survivor; during surgery to remove a tumor she also had her entire left gluteus muscle removed, resulting in drop foot, for which she wears an AFO.