Jennifer Garner, front, embraces gymnast Aly Raisman after presenting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, at the ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. Holding hands in front left are former gymnast Sarah Klein and former Michigan State softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez. More than 140 survivors of sexual abuse by a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University joined hands on stage to be honored with the award. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision/AP)

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

More than 140 survivors of sexual abuse by a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University joined hands on stage to be honoured with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs.

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night in a powerful and solemn closing to the show highlighting the past year’s top athletes and moments in sports.

Gymnast Aly Raisman, softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez and gymnast Sarah Klein, who said she was Nassar’s first victim 30 years ago, took turns speaking. Klein chided the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State for placing “money and medals above the safety of child athletes.”

Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim won a leading three ESPYs, including best female athlete, while Alex Ovechkin claimed best male athlete.

Kim had tears in her eyes as she listened to the Arthur Ashe recipients.

“We must start caring about children’s safety more than we care about adults’ reputations,” Klein said. “If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it.”

Raisman added, “For too long we were ignored. It could have been avoided. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar.”

READ MORE: U.S. gymnastics doctor sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison

The audience gave the group a prolonged standing ovation and remained on its feet while the women spoke.

“What a powerful stage up here,” host Danica Patrick said before signing off.

Ovechkin joined Roger Federer and Olympic snowboarder Shaun White as double winners. Ovechkin was in Russia with his wife, Nastya, who is 8 1/2 months pregnant.

Newly retired racecar driver Patrick became the first woman to host the show at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Her opening monologue mostly fell flat, with athletes sitting stone-faced or wincing at many of the jokes.

Kim took female athlete honours over Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin, WNBA player Sylvia Fowles and soccer player Julie Ertz.

“This year has been filled with so many incredible memories I will hold onto the rest of my life,” Kim said as she held the silver trophy. “I really want to thank my family. They’ve sacrificed so much for me.”

Kim also claimed trophies for best female Olympian and female action sports athlete. At the Pyeongchang Games in February, she became the youngest to win a snowboarding medal when the then-17-year-old claimed gold in halfpipe.

Ovechkin, who led the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship, also won for best NHL player. He beat out Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and fellow first-time nominees Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and James Harden of the Houston Rockets for male athlete.

Federer’s five-set victory at the Australian Open in January for his 20th Grand Slam singles title earned honours for record-breaking performance and he also received best male tennis player.

White won best Olympic moment with his final-run performance in South Korea featuring back-to-back 1440s to take gold, and best male Olympian.

The Astros were honoured as best team for winning the franchise’s first World Series.

LeBron James, soon to be starring across the street at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers, won best NBA player for the third straight year on his 14th consecutive nomination in the category.

Brady claimed best NFL player, while Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels won MLB player.

On a big night for Olympians, the U.S. women’s hockey team earned best game honours for their shootout victory over Canada in the gold-medal game in South Korea.

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz earned breakthrough athlete honours.

Quarterback Nick Foles received the championship performance trophy for leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.

The Minnesota Vikings earned best moment honours for beating the New Orleans Saints on the last play of the NFL championship game.

Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale won in the best play category for hitting a buzzer-beater in the NCAA women’s title game.

The best coach award was given posthumously to Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon, all of whom died in the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Former quarterback Jim Kelly received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance for his struggle with jaw cancer. Fellow NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino and John Elway presented Kelly with the honour.

Beth Harris, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

County of Wetaskiwin changes speed curves project

Councilors vote in favour of case-by-case basis for gravel road curves

Remarkable Viking history shouldn’t be connected to anti-immigrant group

Soldiers of Odin should stop using Viking mythology in modern politics

Wetaskiwin-area small business is big business

Small business is really big business in rural Alberta communities

County of Wetaskiwin finds encroachment claim unfounded

Living quarters in garage had to be removed: County planner

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

UPDATE: Aurora Rafer has been found unharmed

RCMP have a man in custody and continue to investigate

Most Read