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ESPY Awards Held Today at Microsoft Theater Will be Caitlyn Jenners’ First Major Public Appearance

ESPY_Award_(The_Espys)_logo.svgOn one of the only days on the calendar that features no major sporting events, ESPN will present a gala event of its own in downtown Los Angeles today when it hosts the ESPY Awards, which will make headlines primarily for being the first major public appearance of Caitlyn Jenner.

Jenner, formerly known as 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the ceremony at the Microsoft Theater to recognize “the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years.”

Bruce Jenner, who said he has long suffered from gender confusion and told ABC earlier this year that he identifies as a woman, was re-introduced to the world as Caitlyn Jenner on June 1 with a flashy photo spread and feature story in Vanity Fair magazine.

Later that day, ESPN announced plans to give Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which is presented “to individuals whose contributions transcend sports.”

“Bruce has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time but the ESPYs are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming Caitlyn,” ESPYs executive producer Maura Mandt said. “She has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces.”

Jenner said the honor is “truly special.”

“For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers,” she said.

Previous recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award include Muhammad Ali, Jim Valvano, Pat Tillman, Robin Roberts and Nelson Mandela. Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, received the honor last year.

The ESPY Awards honor celebrities from sports and entertainment to recognize major sports achievements and salute “leading performers and performances.”

Nominated for top male athlete are Stephen Curry of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Aaron Rodgers of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans.

Best female athlete nominees are MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, University of Connecticut basketball guard/forward Breanna Stewart, skiing star Lindsey Vonn and tennis champion Serena Williams.

The ESPYs ceremony will be hosted by comedian/actor Joel McHale and televised on ABC.

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