Emotional Caitlyn Jenner accepts Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPYs

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Caitlyn Jenner gives tearful speech at ESPYs.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night while urging acceptance for others who are transgender. Jenner’s Olympic triumph was remembered as part of a 14-minute video feature that played before two-time Olympic champion soccer player Abby Wambach introduced Jenner at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. “I know the people in this room have respect for hard work, for training, for going through something difficult to achieve the outcome that you desire,” said Jenner, with long brown hair and wearing a white dress. “I trained hard. She received a standing ovation from some of the sporting world’s biggest stars after her 10-minute speech during the annual awards honoring the year’s top athletes and moments. “This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine,” said Jenner, who revealed she was in the process of becoming a woman in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer in April on ABC. Recipients of the prestigious award, named after the late champion tennis player who died in 1993 after contracting AIDs from a blood transfusion, are represented as having “strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost,” according to ESPN. She will be presented the award by Abby Wambach, who recently made a splash for her onscreen, post-game kiss to wife Sarah Huffman after the U.S. beat Japan in the Women’s World Cup.

The cable sports network has been giving the honor since 1993 to people whose contributions “transcend sports” and has bestowed it on luminaries like Howard Cosell, Mohammad Ali, Pat Tillman and Billie Jean King. Jenner urged the crowd that included football, basketball, baseball and hockey players to remember what they say and do is “absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people.” A video traced Jenner’s life from the time when she was known as Bruce Jenner to her current transition. In defending the decision to honor the former athlete with the award ESPY Co-Executive Producer Maura Mandt told Sports Illustrated that Jenner’s decision to come out as a transgender woman took “enormous courage and self-acceptance.” “Bruce Jenner could have easily gone off into the sunset as this American hero and never have dealt with this publicly,” Mandt said.

She was shown applying makeup, buttoning her blouse in her closet and fastening the strap on her heeled shoes. “OK, girls, I get it,” she said, as the audience laughed. “You to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, it was exhausting. Sportscaster Bob Costas said that while he wished Jenner peace and happiness the award struck him as “a crass exploitation play” and a way to “pump up the audience.” “In the broad world of sports—and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner—I am pretty sure they could have found someone who was much closer to actively [being] involved in sports who would have been deserving of what that award represents,” Costas said according to Sports Illustrated. Well-known writer and sports commentator Frank Deford, who co-wrote a book about Ashe, told the L.A Times that while Jenner was being forthright and honest, she did something she wanted to do with the full support of her family. “I can understand and sympathize with the torment Bruce Jenner has endured all these years, but I don’t think it rises to the level of courage,” Deford said. I’m new at this.” Jenner didn’t walk the red carpet outside the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, and she didn’t appear backstage to talk with reporters, as most of the previous Ashe award recipients have done. Former NFL star Terrell Owens told the New York Daily News that Jenner has been courageous but “being that this is a sports event, one can argue is this really a part of what we do?

So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity, well, I’ll tell you what it’s all about. Further adding to the controversy was Wednesday’s announcement that the show will pay tribute to the late Lauren Hill, the college student who won hearts across the country as she continued to play basketball while suffering from terminal cancer. That’s a good thing, and while it may not be easy to get past the things you always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.” UFC champion and 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey won Best Female Athlete (over Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Serena Williams) and Best Fighter (over another Olympic bronze medalist, Floyd Mayweather Jr.). “Wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once,” Rousey said in an ESPN red carpet interview. “Like to see him pretend to not know who I am now.”

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