By Mary Cunningham
ESPN will posthumously honor Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 25th ESPYS Wednesday night.
Former first lady Michelle Obama will present the award to Timothy Shriver who is the chairman of Special Olympics, which his mother founded 50 years ago. She died in 2009.
“Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a passionate champion for those with developmental challenges, empowering them to fulfill their highest potential,” said Mrs. Obama. “Her work to promote inclusion and acceptance transformed the lives of countless young athletes and inspired us all. I am incredibly honored to present this award to her son to celebrate her life’s work.”
Eunice Kennedy Shriver is being honored for her dedication to using the power of sports to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to become acknowledged and celebrated members of society. Shriver was a resolute champion for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and her legacy lives on through Special Olympics, the global movement she founded in 1968.
Presented annually to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, the award recognizes those individuals who embody the spirit of the trophy’s namesake, tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who dedicated his life to human rights advocacy.
The 25th ESPYS, hosted by five-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, will air live on Wednesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented each year to individuals whose contributions transcend sports. Past honorees include: Jim Valvano (1993); Steve Palermo (1994); Howard Cosell (1995); Loretta Claiborne (1996); Muhammad Ali (1997); Dean Smith (1998); Billie Jean King (1999); Dave Sanders (2000); Olympian Cathy Freeman (2001); Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, four passengers who lost their lives September 11 on United Flight 93 (2002); Pat and Kevin Tillman (2003); Liberian-born soccer legend George Weah (2004); disabled athletes Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren (2005); Afghan female athletes (2006); and Trevor Ringland and Dave Cullen for their work with PeacePlayers (2007); U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos (2008); former president Nelson Mandela (2009); the Thomas family of Parkersburg, IA (2010); boxer Dewey Bozella (2011); women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt (2012); Robin Roberts (2013), Michael Sam (2014), Caitlyn Jenner (2015), Zaevion Dobson (2016).