Hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan, the 2019 ESPYs awarded standout achievements such as the recent World Cup win by the United States women’s national soccer team. It was also a good night for Monster Energy athletes, as the team swept up five awards across key categories:
The ESPY for Best Male Action Sports Athlete went to 24-year-old pro street skateboarder Huston from Laguna Beach, California. Huston’s 2018 season was a comeback story: Sidelined by a knee injury for the first half of the year, Huston returned to winning form to claim gold in Skateboard Street at X Games Minneapolis 2018 and win the 2018 Street League Skateboarding World Championship. In March 2019, Huston was announced as part of the official U.S. Skateboarding Olympics team to represent the United States at the Tokyo games in 2020. He now holds three ESPY Awards and ten X Games gold medals in Skateboard Street – the most medals earned in the discipline – and 15 medals total (ten gold, three silver, two bronze).
Taking home the ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete, 19-year-old snowboard phenom Kim from Torrance, California, continues her dominance in halfpipe snowboarding: She now officially holds all of snowboarding’s major titles after claiming gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics as well as X Games Aspen 2019 and the 2019 FIS Snowboarding World Championships. Kim was listed among the ‘Most Influential People of 2018’ by TIME Magazine. At the 2018 edition of the ESPYs, she received awards for Best Female Athlete, Best Female Olympian, and Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Kim made history by becoming the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal at the age of 17 at the 2018 winter games.
Also making history, Monster Energy mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete Cormier was the recipient of the first-ever ESPY for Best MMA Fighter. Before the 40-year old from Lafayette, Louisiana, received this year’s award, MMA athletes ranged in the Best Fighter category next to professional boxers.
A driving force behind the rise of professional MMA fighting, Cormier is a former Olympic wrestler and two-division titleholder in professional MMA leagues. He currently holds the heavyweight title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which he will defend against Stipe Miocic at the upcoming UFC 241 event on August 18 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Previously, only three UFC fighters had won an ESPY award for Best Fighter, including Cormier’s Monster Energy teammate Conor McGregor.
Claiming the second ESPY trophy of his career, NASCAR icon Busch received the award for Best Driver. The 34-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada, won the vote in a stacked field of competitors including pro racers such as Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1), Steve Torrence (Hot Rod Racing) and Scott Dixon (IndyCar). Busch is the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and wrapped up a history-making season last year: ‘Rowdy’ won eight races in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, tying racer Kevin Harvick for most in the series. In March 2019, Busch brought home his 200th career NASCAR national series victory and has already notched four wins, ten top-five finishes and 15 top-ten finishes in 18 starts this season.
Closing out an eventful night in Los Angeles, New England Patriots tight end and Monster Energy athlete Gronkowski accepted the Best Moment Award in honor of his recent retirement. Taking the stage next to fellow award recipients Dwayne Wade and Lindsey Vonn, Gronkowski thanked his parents, former teammates, and fans during his acceptance speech. The 30-year-old from Amherst, New York, endorsed a signature ‘Gronk’ Monster Energy drink after winning his third Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and looks back upon a milestone-heavy career. He scored 80 career touchdowns and, in his last big outing as a pro, caught six passes for 87 yards in the Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl LIII.
Looking for an upcoming chance to see Monster Energy athletes in action? Make sure to tune in from August 1–4 for X Games Minneapolis 2019 when award-winning skateboard, motocross, and BMX riders will be battling for X Games medals at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.