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Eli Tomac is voted top Action Sports athlete at ESPY awards

Eli Tomac celebrates his runner-up finish Saturday at Washougal MX Park in Washington. (Yamaha Motor USA)
Motocross rider from Cortez joins top world athletes. But will he return in 2023?

Eli Tomac of Cortez on Wednesday was named best athlete in the category of Men’s Action Sports during the 29th annual ESPY Awards in Los Angeles as some of the top pro athletes in the world were honored for achievements in 2022.

The Star Racing Yamaha rider, who has won seven combined titles in Motocross and Supercross since 2012, is the current leader in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series and defending champion of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. Another Motocross title this year would be his fifth, counting his two wins in the 250cc class.

In the 2010 season, he became the first Pro Motocross rider to win his debut, accomplished at the Hangtown season opener.

He is the son of former professional road cycling, BMX and mountain bike legend John Tomac, also of Cortez.

“Winning an ESPY was such an unbelievable feeling, it still doesn’t feel real,” Tomac said in a news release. “I remember watching the ESPYs as a kid and seeing the greats like Shaun White and Travis Pastrana win, I wanted to be just like them. Now to be mentioned in the same category as those guys it really is a dream come true.”

Race sponsor Monster Energy congratulated Tomac on the award.

“The Monster Energy Family is proud to support Eli Tomac as he continues to dominate the sport,” said Dan McHugh, CMO at Monster Energy.

Tomac is the third motocross athlete to win the award, along with Ryan Dungey and Travis Pastrana. Skateboarder Nyjah Huston has won three ESPYs.

The Action Sports category included three Olympic gold medal winners: freestyle skier Alexander Hall of the U.S., skateboarder Yuto Horigome of Japan and snowboarder Ayumu Hirano of Japan.

Freestyle skier Eileen Gu accepts an ESPY Awards on July 20 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Mark Terrill/The Associated Press)

American-born skier Eileen Gu won the women’s award. She has compered for China in halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air events since 2019.

“What’s cool about this award is that it’s the fan’s choice,” Tomac said, according to Fullnoise.com.au. “I think our sport’s in a really healthy position right now, and everyone’s loving supercross, and I’m glad that I was able to represent the sport.”

Tomac also credited his family and team for his success this year.

“Having two kids now it’s a total blessing, and the way my family life is has also been a huge part of my success,” he said according to Fullnoise. “It’s about having everything go smoothly and being in the right environment surrounded by people that have the same mindset as you.”

After the motocross season, Tomac plans a wildcard appearance at the debut of the World Supercross British Grand Prix in Wales this fall.

Last month, the World Supercross Championship and SX Global of Australia announced the first round of the inaugural five-race season, to be held at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Oct. 8 and will be called the British Grand Prix.

And what about next year?

Tomac has said that the 2022 Motocross season could be his last, according to an interview with Vital MX, because he has not signed a new contract.

“It is looking more likely, probably, my last motocross ... unless a lot of things change,” Tomac said. “What I signed was Supercross only for next year so that’s what I have on paper. I think it’s the last one.”