UPDATE: Steve Wampler was honored by the Golden Rule Society, a Coronado charity that aids children. The group wants to encourage Wampler's supporters to vote for him in the ESPN ESPY Awards race, in which Wampler is contending in the category of best male athlete with a disability. The charity gave Wampler a personalized certificate signed by the Navy's prestigious Blue Angels. Time is short for voting: It continues online through Saturday.
Now being the first person with cerebral palsy to achieve the feat will take him to the ESPY Awards, ESPN’s annual gala for world-class athletes and a few accomplished people you’ve heard less about.
Wampler knows he’s one of those people, but not in Coronado, where his community embraced and cheered him last fall as he made his way up El Capitan in a specially designed chair after a year of intense upper-body workouts and preparation.
It’s a big-deal accomplishment and ESPN is paying heed – Wampler is one of five people nominated as best male athlete with a disability.
His company in the category: two champions in the International Paralympic Games, skier Chris Devlin-Young and sprinter Jerome Singleton; a para-triathlete with six world championships, Aaron Scheidies; and a collegiate wrestler who battled to a 36-0 record in his senior year, Anthony Robles.
“The competition is pretty fierce,” Wampler said. “I don't expect to win. At all.”
What does he expect? To have a blast.
He calls the spectacle around the show, to be held July 13 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, “a three-day whirlwind party.”
“It's pretty overwhelming,” said the married father of two. “I've never been invited to an awards ceremony. Nor did I expect to be.”
Daunting or not, Wampler is pleased about the extra exposure for his cause, inspiring kids and garnering support for his namesake foundation, which offers camps for disabled children.
“If I win, even if I don't win, around the country, being in front of people is a way of getting my message out more than ever now,” he said.