Shawn Morelli of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has been nominated for the prestigious ESPY award in recognition of her breakthrough season in the run up to the 2016 Paralympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
You can vote for Shawn in the “Best Female Athlete with a Disability” category.
The ESPY Awards are presented by ESPN and recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance during the calendar year.
Shawn Morelli is an Army veteran and her first competition was at the 2010 Warrior Games. While deployed as an engineer officer in Afghanistan in 2007, Morelli was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device that resulted in neck nerve damage, brain trauma and blindness in her left eye. Morelli quickly took to cycling after finding the sport in 2010. Since then, she has racked up numerous international gold medals, and has just been selected to represent the United States at 2016 Summer Paralympic Games.
In addition to her athletic pursuits, Morelli has a Ph.D. in public and community service.
In March of this year, Shawn Morelli smashed the women’s C4 pursuit World Record at the Para-CyclingTrack World Championships in Italy, taking the Gold medal for Team USA and the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Morelli won in a time of 3:55.006, besting the previous record of 3:56.135 that had been set by Susan Powell of Australia in 2015. The gold medal was the first for Morelli on the track, coming on the back of two Road World Championship Golds in 2015.
Morelli was delighted with her win, “I never thought I would break the world record! It’s a big surprise, I rode faster than expected. I’m just happy that I could hold on until the end.”