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Sorenstam chosen best female athlete  

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Cyclist Lance Armstrong won male athlete of the year for the third consecutive time, and golfer Annika Sorenstam earned female athlete honors Wednesday night at the 13th annual ESPY Awards.

"I do set some lofty goals and I'm very happy with what I've done," said Sorenstam, who has won two of the year's first three LPGA majors.

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Tiger Woods returned to his winning ways after being shut out last year for the first time since 1999. He won best golfer, his record 16th honor at the made-for-TV awards.

Sorenstam's victory gave her seven career ESPYs, breaking a tie with Barry Bonds for second on the all-time list. She beat out former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and LSU basketball star Seimone Augustus.

"I had my fingers crossed. I knew it was going to be tough," said Sorenstam, dressed in a V-neck long black dress. "Good looks does not hurt the sport."

Actor Matthew Perry, once a nationally ranked Canadian junior tennis player, hosted the show from the Kodak Theatre.

Armstrong is currently in France attempting to win a record seventh consecutive Tour de France before retiring. He won over Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, golfer Vijay Singh, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and Olympic skier Bode Miller.

Armstrong, pitcher Curt Schilling and Manning were the only double winners among 36 categories.

Armstrong also received the professional grade play award.

Schilling won championship performance honors for his 3-1 record in postseason play on an injured ankle that later required surgery, and shared best team honors with his World Series champion Boston Red Sox teammates.

Schilling and Red Sox president Larry Lucchino accepted the team award, with Schilling intently watching a large screen on stage showing Boston fans celebrating Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Lucchino saluted the fans, saying, "We owe them a great deal and we are very proud and we want to say thank you for their enduring loyalty."

The Red Sox defeated the New England Patriots and three other teams in their category.

Manning won as the best NFL player and record-breaking performance for throwing 49 touchdown passes last season.

Bill Belichick of the Patriots was chosen best coach-manager.

Two athletes who recently retired were honored. Mia Hamm was named best soccer player, and Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers won best moment for his final NBA game.

Fans voting on the Internet chose Game 5 of the American League championship series between the Red Sox and New York Yankees as best game.

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award, announced earlier, went to disabled athletes Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren.

The awards will air Sunday night on ESPN.

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