In this file photo, Kyle Maynard, left, and Dan Adams, take a break and eat a snack once making it to the top of Stone Mountain during a training exercise.
Help Maynard win an ESPY
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Kyle Maynard was in an airplane at 30,000 feet when he caught wind of his newest honor, one earned by climbing to 19,000 feet all by himself.
Maynard -- the Collins Hill graduate and congenital quadruple amputee -- has been nominated for another ESPY, awards given out annually by ESPN for sports excellence. Maynard, who won the same award in 2004, has been nominated in the "best male athlete with a disability" category.
"I couldn't believe it," Maynard said this week. "It was a pretty big surprise."
Maynard, now 26, was en route to a speech in New Jersey when he got word via email. His nomination is likely due to his crawling up Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro in January with a team of wounded veterans, friends and professional climbers.
His summit at Kilimanjaro's 19,341-foot peak was the first by anyone crawling up the mountain, and likely the first period by a quadruple amputee.
The ESPYs will be aired July 11 on ESPN. Online voting will end July 9, and can be found at espn.com/espys.
"I'm hoping that Gwinnett rallies to get some votes," Maynard said. "Last time everybody exploded in Gwinnett."
A second ESPY would be impressive for Maynard but he's got some big shoes to fill, not only in Gwinnett but at his alma mater. Collins Hill grad Maya Moore won the ESPY for "best female college athlete" three times during her basketball career at the University of Connecticut.
He'll also face some stiff competition in the voting. The four additional nominees are: Baxter Humby (an arm amputee, mixed martial arts fighter and black belt), Raymond Martin (a four-time medal winner at the 2011 Parapan American Games), Oz Sanchez (a medal-winning paralympic cyclist) and Tyler Walker (the 2012 U.S. Paralympics alpine skiing national champion).
Regardless if he wins or not, Maynard will make the trip to Los Angeles with fond memories of his venture in 2004.
"It was unbelievable. For a sports fan, it's like being at DisneyLand," he said. "I remember last time getting a massage right next to Peyton and Eli Manning. I was walking around, high-fiving Lebron (James) in the hallway."