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BELMO, HANDS DOWN: Two-Handed Bowler Grabs ESPY

Any questions about Australian two-handed bowler Jason Belmonte’s impact on the sport of bowling were answered in July when the 27-year-old Professional Bowlers Association star earned the 2011 ESPY Award for Best Bowler.

The charismatic Aussie, who posted seven top-10 finishes on the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour but failed to win a title, outdistanced PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Barnes and Bill O’Neill for the honor. While the finalists in each sport and award category are selected by ESPN staff, the winners are chosen through fan voting on ESPN.com.

“An ESPY is so much more than just a trophy,” said Belmonte, who attended the award ceremony at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with his wife Kimberly. “To know that I have a strong and loyal fan base around the world makes this award so much more special. Without fans there would be no tour and there’d be no way to do what I love on such a grand scale. “This award is as much the bowling fans’ as it is mine,” Belmonte added. “ Thank you to everyone who voted, not just for me but for all of the nominees. Bowling has the best fans in the world.”

Belmonte became the youngest recipient of the ESPY for Best Bowler in the 18-year history of the award. He’s also the first foreign-born bowler to win the award. “Having my wife fly out to experience this with me was the best part about the ESPYs,” Belmonte said of the experience. “It’s not often that my family gets to share my experiences in person, so to share this with Kimberly was just awesome. “And rubbing shoulders with some of the high-profile athletes was a cool experience. I never appreciated just how tall an NBA basketball player really is until I stood next to one!”

Permission granted by USBC/Luby Publishing