Arthur Ashe Courage Award
|Arthur Ashe Courage Award|
|Awarded for||individuals whose bravery "transcends sports"|
|Location||Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles (2017)|
|Currently held by||Eunice Kennedy Shriver (USA)|
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award (sometimes called the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage or Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award) is presented as part of the ESPY Awards. It is named for the American tennis player Arthur Ashe. Although it is a sport-oriented award, it is not limited to sports-related people or actions, as it is presented annually to individuals whose contributions "transcend sports". According to ESPN, the organisation responsible for giving out the award, "recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing 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".
The inaugural award, made at the 1993 ESPY Awards, was presented to the American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster Jim Valvano. In 1993, ESPN partnered with Valvano to create the V Foundation which presents the annual Jimmy V Award to "a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination." Suffering from cancer, Valvano gave an acceptance speech which "brought a howling, teary-eyed Madison Square Garden to its feet". Valvano died two months after receiving the award. Although the award is usually given to individuals, it has been presented to multiple recipients on six occasions: former athletes on United Airlines Flight 93 (2002), Pat and Kevin Tillman (2003), Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren (2005), Roia Ahmad and Shamila Kohestani (2006), Trevor Ringland and David Cullen (2007), and Tommie Smith and John Carlos (2008). The accolade has been presented posthumously on five occasions.
The award has not been without controversy: in June 2015, ESPN's announcement of Caitlyn Jenner as the recipient of that year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award led to significant criticism among online commenters and some members of the media, with Bob Costas calling the decision to give Jenner the award a "crass exploitation play". Most of the critics of the Jenner award considered Lauren Hill, who played college basketball despite suffering from a brain tumor that would claim her life only a few months later, a more worthy recipient. Others cited Noah Galloway, an Iraq War double amputee who competes in extreme sports and was also a finalist in the spring 2015 season of Dancing with the Stars, as a worthy candidate. The 2017 recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics; the award was accepted by her son Tim.
|Indicates posthumous award|
|1993||Valvano, JimJim Valvano||American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster, died from adenocarcinoma|||
|Palermo, SteveSteve Palermo||Major League Baseball umpire paralysed from the waist down after attempting to prevent a mugging|||
|1995||Cosell, HowardHoward Cosell||Journalism, creator of ABC SportsBeat, the first serious investigative sports journalist program|||
|Claiborne, LorettaLoretta Claiborne||Multi-sports Special Olympics athlete|||
|1997||Ali, MuhammadMuhammad Ali||Boxer, an example of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the civil rights movement.|||
|1998||Smith, DeanDean Smith||College basketball coach for 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|||
|1999||King, Billie JeanBillie Jean King||Tennis player, campaigned for equal prize money in the men's and women's game|||
|Sanders, William DavidWilliam David Sanders||High school sports coach killed defending students during the Columbine High School massacre|||
|2001||Freeman, CathyCathy Freeman||Athlete, first Australian Indigenous person to become a Commonwealth Games gold medallist|||
|2002||Flight 93 Todd Beamer
|Athletes onboard United Airlines Flight 93 (National Memorial pictured) who tried to reclaim control from the hijackers|||
|2003||Tillman Pat Tillman (pictured)
|Pat was an American footballer who was killed in action by friendly fire in Afghanistan. His brother Kevin was a Minor League Baseball player before enlisting, subsequently becoming an anti–Iraq War activist.|||
|2004||Weah, GeorgeGeorge Weah||Association footballer who became a UN Goodwill Ambassador|||
|Yeboah, Emmanuel OfosuEmmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
|Yeboah brough attention to disabled people in Ghana, himself with a deformed leg, by cycling across the country. McLaren became a successful triathlete after having his leg amputated.|||
|Ahmad, RoiaRoia Ahmad
|Afghan women's association football team|||
|2007||Ringland, TrevorTrevor Ringland
David Cullen (pictured)
|Members of Peace Players International which uses basketball to unite and educate children|||
|2008||Smith, TommieTommie Smith
|Olympic track athletes, medalists at the 1968 Summer Olympics, with Black Power salute on the podium|||
|2009||Mandela, NelsonNelson Mandela||South African President|||
|Thomas, EdEd Thomas||High school American football coach, shot and killed by a former student|||
|Bozella, DeweyDewey Bozella||Boxer, wrongly imprisoned for 26 years|||
|2012||Summitt, PatPat Summitt||College basketball coach with the most wins in NCAA basketball history, retired with early-onset Alzheimer's disease|||
|2013||Roberts, RobinRobin Roberts||Broadcaster, increased awareness in bone marrow donation through public coverage of her own illness|||
|2014||Sam, MichaelMichael Sam||American football player, first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL|||
|2015||Jenner, CaitlynCaitlyn Jenner||Former Olympic track and field athlete and transgender television personality|||
|Dobson, ZaevionZaevion Dobson||American football player who used his body to shield two women from a drive-by shooting|||
|2017||Shriver, Eunice KennedyEunice Kennedy Shriver||Founder of the Special Olympics|||
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