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ESPY Awards: It's show time for NH's Andrews, Arlen
Victoria Arlen, a gold medalist at this year's Paralympic Game, was a Union Leader athlete of the month. (UNION LEADER FILE)
She'll be there again tonight, when she attends the ESPY Awards show and roots for a fellow Granite Stater who's among the nominees recognized by sports network behemoth ESPN.
"I've never met her, but I have read so many amazing stories about her," Andrews said of Arlen. "She's an inspiration to me. She's motivated me to be a better person and athlete."
Andrews topped a list of 400,000 girls' soccer players nationwide. She was selected by a national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists.
The 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America High School Player of the Year and a three-time NSCAA All-America selection, Andrews concluded her high school career with 114 goals and 53 assists. She also maintained a 3.13 grade-point average in the classroom.
"Courageous" and "determined" best describe Arlen, 18, who lost the use of her legs due to a viral disease called transverse myelitis.
In the 2012 Paralympic Games at London, the Exeter High student won a gold medal and three silvers, setting a world record in the 100-meter freestyle (1 minute 13.33 seconds).
"It's just an incredible honor," she said.
Actually winning the award would be even more incredible. It also would fulfill a goal Arlen set for herself when she was in the early stages of her recovery.
"Just being there is enough for me, and being with my family is extra special," she said. "Through the good and bad times, my family and close friends have been with me. I wouldn't have it any other way."
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