It's a big year for Stephanie Gilmore. Not only is she chasing her seventh WSL World Title and winning events like the just-finished Corona Open J-Bay, but she's also in the running for an ESPY award for Best Female Action Sport Athlete.
The ESPYs are ESPN's annual sports-excellence awards ceremony honoring major achievements, performers and performances -- Vote for Gilmore here.
"The ESPYs are the academy awards for sports -- it's a huge honor," said Gilmore. "There are so many incredible athletes out there achieving their dreams and etching their names in history books of sport. This means that although surfing is quite small-scale, female surfers are right there in the mix with the mainstream sporting heroes."
With her 2018 nomination, Gilmore now has as many nominations as World Titles: Six. She's won in 2013 and 2011, and if she wins again this year, she'll tie snowboarder Jamie Anderson for the most wins of any female athlete.
In terms of competition, Gilmore is in good company. She's up against American snowboarders Chloe Kim and Jamie Anderson, who's gunning for her record-breaking fourth win, as well as American skateboarder Brighton Zeuner.
Surfers have long been in the ESPYs mix, with pros including Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Maya Gabeira, Sofia Mulanovich, Tyler Wright and John John Florence all earning nominations over the past decade-plus. Along with Gilmore, Gabeira and Mulanovich have both taken home trophies.
This year, Gilmore's the only surfer to be nominated. The winners are decided by fans, who can vote for their favorites in each category, which range from Best Championship Performance to Best Male and Female Athlete. Some of the other 2018 nominees include American football player Tom Brady, Brazilian soccer player Neymar Jr., and American skier Mikaela Shiffrin.
While Gilmore fits easily among the pantheon of sports greats, she's also quick to note the role of those who paved the way. "I have such great respect for all the women that came before me that pursued the betterment of women's performance surfing first and foremost -- those that had no real support from the industry along the way," she said. "I'm not so sure there's such a thing as just one GOAT but many who excelled in all kinds of different aspects of the sport, both in records of titles (Layne Beachley) and the legacy they left through the character they displayed throughout their career (Lisa Andersen, Rell Sunn)."
Americans can watch the ESPYs live on ABC Wednesday, July 18, at 8 p.m. ET. Fan voting is now open, and closes as soon as the show begins.