Teter edges Bleiler for ESPY | AspenTimes.com

Teter edges Bleiler for ESPY

Gretchen Bleiler talks with fans at the Silver Queen Gondola plaza earlier this month. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

Local snowboarding queen Gretchen Bleiler left the red carpet empty-handed Wednesday night in Los Angeles.Bleiler, an ESPY nominee in the Best Female Action Sport Athlete, lost to rival and friend Hannah Teter at ESPN’s 14th annual awards ceremony for sports excellence. Bleiler won the silver medal in the women’s halfpipe at the Turin Winter Olympics in February, while Teter took home the gold.Bleiler did not return phone calls Thursday.Before the Olympics, Bleiler edged Teter in five of the six Grand Prix Olympic qualifiers.

Teter and Bleiler are also former Winter X Games superpipe champions, although both pulled out of this year’s competition to focus on the Olympics.The other nominees in the category were snowboarder Janna Meyen, wakeboarder Dallas Friday and skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside.ESPN tabulated more than 12 million votes to produce the winners of this year’s awards. Teter was also a nominee for Female Athlete of the Year, but lost to golfer Annika Sorenstam, who grabbed her eighth career ESPY. Host Lance Armstrong cracked risqu jokes as the first athlete to host the ESPY Awards, then picked up his fourth consecutive male athlete of the year trophy on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t rigged, I promise,” he told the Kodak Theatre audience after receiving his silver trophy from singer Mariah Carey.Armstrong beat out fellow nominees Albert Pujols, LeBron James, Shaun Alexander and Texas quarterback Vince Young.It was the cyclist’s first appearance at the ESPN show honoring the year’s best sports moments and athletes. Armstrong singled out some of the superstar athletes in the audience during his monologue, including Olympic skier Bode Miller, who was criticized for partying hearty during the Turin Games.

“Bode Miller is here, totally sober,” Armstrong cracked. “He only drinks when he races.”Comedian Will Ferrell interrupted Armstrong’s acceptance speech to sing the 1970s song “Times of Your Life” with lyrics rewritten for Armstrong. “You’ve beat the best, let’s not forget every urine test,” Ferrell crooned after introducing a white-suited astronaut the comic insisted was Armstrong’s long-lost father, Neil Armstrong. “Neil Armstrong is not my dad and I don’t even think that’s Neil Armstrong,” the cyclist said. The awards ceremony will be shown on Sunday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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