There will be a star-studded display of sports achievement Wednesday evening.
ESPN’s 26th-annual ESPY Awards will make history this year, as Danica Patrick will become the first female host of the event.
Among many accolades being handed out to the best athletes, teams, achievements and performances, this year’s program will honor three coaches who were killed in the shooting at Marjory StonemanDouglas High School as Coach of the Year.
Though overall it is a lighthearted ceremony that recognizes the best in sports, many honorees have used the platform to give powerful acceptance speeches. Here are three inspiring addresses from past ESPY ceremonies.
At the inaugural ESPYS in 1993, Jim Valvano received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for his battle with cancer. The legendary college basketball coach gave a moving speech in which, among many other things, he urged those listening: “Don’t give up ... Don’t ever give up.”
Robin Roberts, a former ESPN anchor/reporter and current co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2013 ESPYS for her strength through bouts with both cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
During her powerful address, she borrowed the words of her mother, encouraging her audience: “Make your mess your message. Find the meaning behind whatever it is that you’re going through, because everybody’s got something.”
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2007, the former SportsCenter anchor received the 2014 Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
During his poignant acceptance speech, Scott made a powerful statement about the fight against cancer when he said: “When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live. So live, live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest, and let somebody else fight for you.”
This year’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage will honor the many athletes who spoke about their abuse from former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar. The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance will be presented to Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly for his ongoing battle with cancer.
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