Bethany Hamilton Backs Out of ESPY Nomination for Best Female Athlete With a Disability

Pro surfer requested to be removed from her category

By Francesca Bacardi Jul 13, 2016 8:43 PMTags
Bethany HamiltonNoam Galai/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

Bethany Hamilton won't be gracing the ESPYs stage with her presence tonight.

The 26-year-old professional surfer has withdrawn her nomination for Best Female Athlete With a Disability, E! News has learned. She had been previously announced as a nominee along with marathon racer Tatyana McFadden, volleyball player Heather Erickson, cross-country skier Oksana Masters and cyclist Shawn Morelli, but Hamilton's name no longer appears on the voter page.

"Bethany expressed to ESPN that she was appreciative of the nomination but didn't feel it was a good fit for her, so ESPN removed her from the category upon her request," ESPN tells E! News in a statement.

E! News has reached out to the ESPYs and Hamilton for comment.

Hamilton previously won an ESPY in 2004 for the Best Comeback Athlete Award after surviving a shark attack when she was just 13 years old. On October 31, 2003, Hamilton went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, and was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her.

ESPY Awards Best Dressed Ever
Splash News

"I felt a lot of pressure and a couple of lightning fast tugs," Bethany wrote on her website. "Then I watched in shock as the water around me turned bright red. Somehow, I stayed calm. My left arm was gone almost to the armpit, along with a huge crescent-shaped chunk of my red, white and blue surfboard..."

The attack took her right arm, but that didn't stop her from surfing or telling her story in a professional way. She went on to write a memoir, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on The Board that was adapted into a feature film.

The pro surfer also took home the Favorite Comeback Athlete award at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in 2014. "Cause immmm HAPPY!!!!!" Hamilton tweeted after receiving the award. Hamilton has proven her athleticism time and time again. She and husband Adam Dirks competed on The Amazing Race together in 2014.

2015 ESPY Awards Red Carpet Arrivals