Caitlyn Jenner to receive ESPYs award

bruce jenner olympian

Caitlyn Jenner will receive ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the televised ESPYs ceremony next month.

A network spokesman confirmed the plan for the award on Monday, minutes after Jenner identified as a transgender woman for the first time on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

Jenner became a national hero when she won the decathalon gold medal with a record-setting performance at the 1976 Olympics. She identified as Bruce Jenner at the time.

In announcing the award, ESPN cited Jenner's "athletic prowess and determination" at the Olympics and the "strength of character" that Jenner displayed in her coming-out interview with Diane Sawyer.

The Sawyer interview was taped in early February and aired in late April. ESPN selected Jenner for the award in April.

Related: Why Caitlyn Jenner chose Vanity Fair for her debut

The Arthur Ashe award has been presented every year since the sports-related ESPYs were established in 1993. Recent recipients have included football player Michael Sam, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts, and longtime University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.

Sam, last year's recipient, became the first NFL prospect to announce he is gay. In his speech, he spoke about acceptance and respect.

ESPN says the award is intended to "reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost."

The Jenner award news was first reported by Jim Miller, the author of a book about ESPN.

The ESPYs will be held in Los Angeles on July 15.

Jenner's acceptance speech will be a prominent public appearance before her documentary series debuts on E! at the end of July.

"In the past few months, the overwhelming outpouring of support from all over the world for my journey has been incredible," Jenner said in a statement released by ESPN. "However, being honored with this award, which is named after one of my heroes, is truly special. For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers."

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