Lance Mackey up for ESPY award again

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2008

FAIRBANKS - The number two has been good to champion musher Lance Mackey.

Twice he has won the two biggest races in mushing - back-to-back - the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Now Mackey hopes that voters will grant him an ESPY award this year, the second time he's been nominated for the honor.

"It would look great on the trophy shelf, but I'm not counting on it," Mackey said Friday from Las Vegas where he was preparing to travel to Los Angeles for the July 20 ceremony broadcast on ESPN.

Mackey, who has won the Yukon Quest for the past four years and won both the Quest and the Iditarod in 2007 and 2008, is one of five nominees for the Best Outdoor Athlete award.

He's up against Keet Reese, 2007 Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year; marathon swimmer Skip Storch; mountain climber Dave Hahn, who has scaled Mount Everest 10 times; and Scott Smiley, an Army captain who climbed Mount Rainier after losing his sight in Iraq.

Winners are chosen through online voting at Voting was to end Saturday night.

On his second trip to the ESPY awards, Mackey said he's going to take more time to relax and enjoy the trip, though he called it his "duty" to meet seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

Many people have compared the two Lances over the years. Both beat cancer and returned to their respective sports to become champions.

"I don't think there's much comparison," Mackey said. "He does all the work, while my team does most of the work in my sport."

Mackey also will meet with a "well-known" director next week to discuss the possibility of making a movie about his accomplishments.

"Warner Brothers and Disney both are interested in some sort of movie," he said.

The Fairbanks musher already has begun training for next year's races, and he believes his team is capable of three-peating back-to-back Yukon Quest and Iditarod titles. Still, he remained humble about his accomplishments.

"Vote for me if you think I deserve it," he said. "I just want to say thanks to the fans who follow the sport. Without them I'd still be sitting in a small town in Alaska instead of being in L.A. with the big dogs."

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