Mallory Holtman wasn’t interested in re-enacting her now famous act of sportsmanship for just anybody.
Enter the singer known as «J.T.,» host of the ESPY’s, which aired Sunday.
«When Justin Timberlake asked, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll carry ya.'»
Timberlake may have promised to bring «sexy» back, but Holtman and Central Washington softball teammate Liz Wallace brought sportsmanship back when they lifted Western Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky and carried her around the basepaths during a softball game in April.
Central Washington softball players Liz Wallace (left) and Mallory Holtman carry Western Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky around the bases after she blew out her knee after hitting a home run Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash.
A torn knee ligament marred Tucholsky’s first career home run. After rounding first base she abruptly turned around to re-tag the bag after missing it, and the knee suddenly gave way.
To read The Oregonian’s original story, click here.
Holtman and Wallace then did the compassionate thing, assisting their opponent.
ESPYs host Timberlake got in on the players’ act during an awards program that saw the three softball players honored as the central figures in the Best Sports Moment of the Year, one of the show’s top prizes.
«It’s indescribable to be honored like that in a room full of amazing athletes like that,» said Tucholsky, who is five weeks down the road from a successful surgery to repair her anterior cruciate ligament.
Tucholsky, Holtman and Wallace are bound for life because of their moment together.
The three were special guests of Bud Selig during Major League Baseball’s All-Star weekend last week. They watched home run derby from the Yankees dugout and had front row seats 10 feet to the right of home plate for the game. They were whisked away the next morning to Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards show, which was taped July 16.
Timberlake came into the crowd where the three women were seated in the front row and briefly told their story before returning to the stage for a performance. At the end of his song, Timberlake faked an injury and Holtman and Wallace jumped up from their seats to carry him off the stage, along with Tucholsky.
«We were all very excited» to meet Timberlake,» Tucholsky said. «I think we all had his poster on our bedroom walls when we were teenagers.»
Tucholsky said she talks to Holtman or Wallace daily. The trio expect to invite one another to their weddings.
«Fortunately we get along so well,» said Tucholsky, who is at home this summer in Forest Grove.
«It’s very weird,» Tucholsky said of her newfound celebrity. «Especially when you come from Forest Grove and then go to a small little college.»
The compelling nature of the story led to widespread media attention and an appearance on the «Ellen» show.
«I think it’s awesome that (our story) touched so many people,» Holtman, who grew up in White Salmon, Wash., said. «As long as the message gets out there, that’s what’s important.»
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