The hundreds of athletes who came forward to speak out of the atrocities suffered at the hands of convicted serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 2018 ESPYS, it was announced Wednesday.
“We are honored to recognize the courage of these women at The 2018 ESPYS, to acknowledge the power of their voices, and to shine a very well-deserved spotlight on what speaking up, fighting back, and demanding accountability can accomplish,” Alison Overholt, vice president and editor of ESPN The Magazine, said in a statement.
“They have shown us all what it truly means to speak truth to power, and through their bravery, they are making change for future generations. By honoring this group who spoke out, we aim to honor all of those who are survivors of abuse.”
Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor, was sentenced in January to 40 to 175 years in prison after seven days of impact statements from more than 150 girls and women who said he sexually abused them.
The women who spoke out against Nassar will be honored during the ESPYS telecast on July 18 for their “strength and resolve” for bringing “the darkness of sexual abuse into the light.”
Said Maura Mandt, producer of The ESPYS: “For 25 years, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage has been given to those who change the world in important ways and the future will undoubtedly be different because of the actions of these heroic women. This tribute will reflect the awe and admiration these individuals deserve.”
Past winners of the award include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Pat Summitt and Billie Jean King. Last year, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died in 2009, was honored posthumously.