Women’s sports has proud presence at 2014 ESPY Awards

One of the greatest forums to recognize female sports excellence, the 2014 edition of the ESPY Awards delivered again. With the red carpet filled with some of the biggest (and most beautiful) names in female sport, such as Danica Patrick and Hilary Knight, it had all the elegance and allure of the Academy Awards in an evening that celebrated some remarkable women.

Danica Patrick stuns in white at the ESPYs Red Carpet (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Danica Patrick stuns in white at the ESPYs Red Carpet (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Fan favorite Maria Sharapova may have been the most notable female athlete to gain an award, earning Best Female Tennis Player honors. Jamie Anderson, who also appears in the 2014 ESPN Body Issue took home the Female Action Sports Athlete Award. Of note, Anderson would emerge as the only female athlete to win two ESPY Awards. Beating out Maddie Bowman, Kelly Clark, Vicki Golden and Carissa Moore for the Best Female Action Sports Athlete award, she was also the winner of the Best Female US Olympic Athlete.

Maria Sharapova at the ESPYs Red Carpet (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova at the ESPYs Red Carpet (Photo credit: Getty Images)

After winning the 2014 US Women’s Open at Pinehurst, her first major, Michelle Wie built on the momentum by earning earned Best Female Golfer, beating out Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park (who was also nominated for Best International Athlete) and Suzann Petersen.

An aspect of sport that does not always gain recognition, athletes with disabilities were acknowledged. In the Best Female Athlete with a Disability category, Jamie Whitmore was named the recipient. Fellow nominees included the likes of Minda Dentler, Oksana Masters, Tatyana McFadden and Laurie Stephens.

After leading the Minnesota Lynx to their second straight WNBA title, Maya Moore added to her growing collection of awards and honors by earning the ESPY for Best WNBA Player. In a field that included Elena Delle Donne, Angel McCoughtry and Candace Parker, any of the nominees would have been a worthy selection.

Of note, Moore was also nominated for the Best Female Athlete award. She would not get the opportunity to join Anderson as a two-time award winner this evening. The award would go to Ronda Rousey, who has dominated the UFC female division, having gone undefeated in her last four appearances. Mikaela Shiffrin and Breanna Stewart were among the other nominees for the honor.

Stewart would not leave the 2014 ESPY Awards empty handed. Having emerged as the greatest female college basketball player in America, she would earn the nod for Best Female Collegiate Athlete. Having led the UConn Huskies to a second consecutive national title, she follows in the proud footsteps of Huskies alumnae such as Moore, Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi.

The field for Best Female Collegiate Athlete was nothing short of impressive. Morgan Brian, a soccer player at Virginia, Taylor Cummings, who competes in lacrosse with Maryland, Micah Hancock, who rewrote the record books at Penn State Volleyball and Hannah Rogers, a softball player from Florida were all in contention for the award.

Sugarpova venture an extension of tennis superstar’s sweet tooth

Having cultivated a love of candy at an early age, tennis superstar Maria Sharapova is putting her money where her mouth is. With an initial investment of $500,000, the 6’2” Russian beauty has seen her enterprise Sugarpova launch into success.

Image obtained from: http://www.sugarpova.com/

Image obtained from: http://www.sugarpova.com/

With the practice of a candy bar or lollipop as a reward for a good practice in childhood, a sweet tooth would follow her into a tennis career that saw her claim Wimbledon at the tender age of 17 years old. Dedicated she was in this venture as she would do final taste tests at the factory less than a day after winning the French Open. While Sugarpova is still in its infancy, the premium candy line features brightly colored gummies that have such tween-friendly names as Flirty, Splashy, Smitten Sour, Quirky and Sporty.

Of all the flavors, Sharapova’s favorite is actually Quirky. The candy is part of the licorice family but it has a marshmallow center and a sweet rainbow appearance on the outside. Manufactured in Murcia, Spain, the product was first launched in the United States. To coincide with the 2013 Australian Open, Sharapova launched the product in Melbourne to coincide with the grand slam event.

Photo credit: Mike Windle Getty Images

Photo credit: Mike Windle Getty Images

Ironically, she was not the one who came up with the name for the candy brand. Although she devoted 18 months of research and analysis into making the venture a reality, the genius behind the name was Jeff Rubin, co-founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar and the creator of FAO Schweetz (sold in FAO Schwartz stores).

Her agent at IMG Tennis, Max Eisenbud pulls double duty as Sugarpova’s Chief Executive Officer. Not only has he forecasted sales of one million bags of candy in the first year, but has mentioned profits on sales of each bag should reach $1.10. Of note, an undisclosed percentage of sales shall be donated to the Maria Sharapova Foundation.

Sharapova on the cover of the 2013 September edition of Shape Magazine

Sharapova on the cover of the 2013 September edition of Shape Magazine

As the tenth woman to capture the Grand Slam of Tennis, the sexy superstar may have a hit on her hands. With her appeal as a beautiful yet well-spoken and articulate athlete, her star status alone may help launch the Sugarpova brand into one of the most popular candies in the world.

While Sharapova has ambitions to launch into other passions such as cosmetics and fashion (there is no denying she looks like a fashion model), the motivation for Sugarpova stemmed from the fact that she had been involved with so many projects, collaborations and photo shoots, she wanted something that was completely her own.

Retailing at $5.99 per bag, the true test in determining the shelf life and viability of the product will be determined in its taste and quality. Being sold at upscale retailers such as Henri Bendel and famous department store Macy’s in the United States, Selfirdge’s in the United Kingdom and Colette in Paris.

Prior to the 2013 US Open, reports suggested that Sharapova made an application to the Supreme Court of Florida in order to temporarily change her name to Sugarpova. While it is debatable whether she would have actually gone through with the name change, her agent claimed it would have caused travel difficulties; it still generated a remarkable amount of publicity.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

Despite withdrawing from the event due to shoulder complications, the stir that the proposed name change caused in the news cycle made it a hot topic of debate among sports fans. Perhaps the biggest irony of the whole name change was the fact that Sharapova appeared on the cover of the September 2013 edition of Shape Magazine, which was on sale at newsstands. From promoting candy to being featured in a magazine discussing fitness and weight loss, it is a clash in societal values as obesity is one of the biggest problems among the young population.