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ESPN to honor Caitlyn Jenner with Arthur Ashe Courage Award



ESPN will honor Caitlyn Jenner with the  Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYS Presented by Capital One, to be aired at 8 p.m. July 15  on ABC from Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Jenner, formerly known as Kardashian patriarch and Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, broke the Internet on Monday, racking up nearly 2 million followers on a brand-new Twitter account, after the release of a Vanity Fair cover story.

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Photo: Vanity Fair

Photo: Vanity Fair

“Almost 40 years ago, Bruce Jenner’s Olympic success came as a result of strengthening both his mind and body leading to his status as one of the world’s greatest athletes, but the decision to publicly come out as a transgender woman took a different kind of courage and acceptance of one’s self,” ESPN said.

In a statement about the award, ESPN executive producer Maura Mandt said, “Bruce has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time but The ESPYS are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming Caitlyn. She has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces.”

America's Bruce Jenner is seen here with his gold medal following his win at the Olympic Games, July 30, 1976 in Montreal. Credit: dpa /Landov

Bruce Jenner at the Olympic Games, July 30, 1976 in Montreal. Credit: dpa /Landov

 

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented each year to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, ESPN said. The 2014 honoree was Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL. Sam just signed a two-year contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football league.

Jenner, who fathered six children and has been married three times, recently discussed the transition process with ABC’s Diane Sawyer.

In a statement about the award, Jenner said, “In the past few months, the overwhelming outpouring of support from all over the world for my journey has been incredible. However, being honored with this award, which is named after one of my heroes, is truly special. For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers.”