Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS on July 15 and cried as she told her children sitting in the audience that she never wanted to let them down and she hoped to make them proud.
Caitlyn Jenner, 65, was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs to and it was such a beautiful moment for the transgender community, the sports world and all of Caitlyn’s children and stepchildren [with the exception of Rob Kardashian] who were there in the audience, along with her mother, Esther Jenner.
Abby Wambach, 35, Olympic gold medalist, and member of the U.S. women’s soccer team, presented Caitlyn with the award by saying that this world is built on freedom and then cut to a video montage of Caitlyn’s accomplishments and road to the Olympics.
Caitlyn, who won the men’s decathlon as Bruce Jenner, at the 1976 Summer Olympics, accepted the award with tears in her eyes and said: “I’m so, so grateful to have all of you in my life,” and looked straight at her kids who were sitting in the audience. She then went on to thank her mother, Esther, and began to cry as she revealed that her mother had a recent surgery and thought she almost “wasn’t going to make it.” Caitlyn also said “it’s about what happens from here … it’s not just about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s about all of us accepting one another, we are all different, that’s not a bad thing … that’s a good thing.”
Caitlyn also went on to tell the audience: “The last few months have been a whirlwind … but to tell you the truth I feel like every time I turn around in life I’m putting myself in these high pressure situations but I’ve never felt more pressure than I have in my life picking out this outfit … okay girls I get it …” She also congratulated the US Women’s Soccer team and then said the past few months have been, “eye opening” and “frightening.”
She also thanked Diane Sawyer, who was there in the audience. The became close when she conducted her ABC 20/20 tell-all, where she told the world she was becoming a woman. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead,” Caitlyn said in her speech. “I can take it. But the reality is for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it. So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or publicity, it’s about what happens from here. It’s not just about one person. It’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us accepting one another.”
Caitlyn explained why she’s coming out and telling her story now and she says it’s to bring awareness to the transgender community in order to help people become more “accepting,” and “educating” the public on these issues. Although some scoffed at Caitlyn being awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, ESPYs co-executive producer Maura Mandt said this was not a publicity stunt.
I think Caitlyn’s decision to publicly come out as a transgender woman and live as Caitlyn Jenner displayed enormous courage and self-acceptance. Bruce Jenner could have easily gone off into the sunset as this American hero and never have dealt with this publicly. Doing so took enormous courage. He was one of the greatest athletes of our time. That is what the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is about, somebody from the athletic community who has done something that transcends sport.
Caitlyn’s E! docuseries, I Am Cait premieres July 26 at 8 p.m. on E!
— Chloe Melas