After much talk surrounding the 2015 ESPY Awards, the annual event honoring outstanding athletic performances throughout the calendar year kicked off on Wednesday, July 15, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Calif. While there were several coveted awards up for grabs, it was all about Caitlyn Jenner, who was set to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award despite criticism from fellow athletes, critics and fans.
Once Jenner finally accepted her award and gave her speech, advocating for acceptance and tolerance while expressing her desire to shine the spotlight brighter on transgender rights, she received a standing ovation.
Following Jenner’s emotional acceptance, several athletes in attendance expressed their admiration for the former Olympic athlete and reality TV star formerly known as Bruce Jenner:
“She’s really brave to have the courage to get through a lot of those things,” 14-year-old Little League star Mo’ne Davis, who won Best Breakthrough Athlete, told The Associated Press. “I know a lot of people give her a hard time about it but just for her family to give her that support is amazing.”
As expected, in addition to words of encouragement and support from family and friends, by the time Jenner’s 15-minute segment had wrapped, social media was on fire. For more reactions to Jenner accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, hit the flip!