Michelle Obama will present the ESPYS Arthur Ashe Courage award Wednesday honoring the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Obama will present the award to Timothy Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics, who will accept it on her behalf.
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,” according to an ESPN news release.
Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968, with the first games being held at Soldier Field. One thousand athletes from more than 26 states and Canada participated in the first games. Today, the games are year-round, and include 5.3 million athletes in more than 170 countries. Shriver, who died in 2009, was a longtime advocate for disability issues.
“Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a passionate champion for those with developmental challenges, empowering them to fulfill their highest potential,” said Obama in a news release. “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.”
The Arthur Ashe 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.” Past honorees include Muhammad Ali in 1997 and Nelson Mandela in 2012
The 25th ESPYS will air 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 12.