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More than 140 survivors of sexual abuse by a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University joined hands on stage to be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs.
The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night in a powerful and solemn closing to the show highlighting the past year's top athletes and moments in sports.
Gymnast Aly Raisman http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-russell-bodine-jersey , softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez and gymnast Sarah Klein, who said she was Nassar's first victim 30 years ago, took turns speaking. Klein chided the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State for placing "money and medals above the safety of child athletes."
Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim won a leading three ESPYs, including best female athlete, while Alex Ovechkin claimed best male athlete.
Kim had tears in her eyes as she listened to the Arthur Ashe recipients.
"We must start caring about children's safety more than we care about adults' reputations," Klein said. "If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it."
Raisman added: "For too long we were ignored. It could have been avoided. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar."
The audience gave the group a prolonged standing ovation and remained on its feet while the women spoke.
"What a powerful stage up here," host Danica Patrick said before signing off.
Ovechkin joined Roger Federer and Olympic snowboarder Shaun White as double winners. Ovechkin was in Russia with his wife, Nastya, who is 8陆 months pregnant.
Newly retired racecar driver Patrick became the first woman to host the show, held at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Her opening monologue mostly fell flat, with athletes sitting stone-faced or wincing at many of the jokes.
Kim took female athlete honors over Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin, WNBA player Sylvia Fowles and soccer player Julie Ertz.
"This year has been filled with so many incredible memories I will hold onto the rest of my life," Kim said as she held the silver trophy. "I really want to thank my family. They've sacrificed so much for me."
Kim also claimed trophies for best female Olympian and female action sports athlete. At the Pyeongchang Games in February, she became the youngest to win a snowboarding medal when the then-17-year-old claimed gold in halfpipe.
Ovechkin http://www.bearsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-joel-iyiegbuniwe-jersey , who led the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship, also won for best NHL player. He beat out Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and fellow first-time nominees Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and James Harden of the Houston Rockets for male athlete.
Federer's five-set victory at the Australian Open in January for his 20th Grand Slam singles title earned honors for record-breaking performance, and he also received best male tennis player.
White won best Olympic moment with his final-run performance in South Korea featuring back-to-back 1440s to take gold, and best male Olympian.
The Astros were honored as best team for winning the franchise's first World Series.
LeBron James, soon to be starring across the street at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers, won best NBA player for the third straight year on his 14th consecutive nomination in the category.
Brady claimed best NFL player, while Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels won MLB player.
On a big night for Olympians, the U.S. women's hockey team earned best game honors for its shootout victory over Canada in the gold-medal game in South Korea.
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz earned breakthrough athlete honors.
Quarterback Nick Foles received the championship performance trophy for leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.
The Minnesota Vikings earned best moment honors for beating the New Orleans Saints on the last play of the NFC divisional playoff game.
Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale won in the best play category for hitting a buzzer-beater in the NCAA women's title game.
The best coach award was given posthumously to Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon, all of whom died in the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Former quarterback Jim Kelly received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance for his struggle with jaw cancer. Fellow NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino and John Elway presented Kelly with the honor.
This story has been corrected to change the game in which the best moment award occurred to the NFC divisional playoff game instead of the NFC championship game.
Tired of pompous, entitled athletes who don't seem to realize how good they have it?
Fed up with all the scandals and cheats and scoundrels mucking things up for the rest of us?
Meet Ricardo Allen.
He'll give you a reason to cheer.
Allen plays for the Atlanta Falcons, a 26-year-old free safety who will readily admit he's not the fastest, not the strongest, not the biggest guy in the room.
"I won't be anybody's first pick," said Allen, who at 5-foot-9 comes up 3 inches shy of this aging sports scribe.
He's so much more than that.
This is a guy who hasn't forgotten what it's like to be told you're not good enough 鈥?on HBO's "Hard Knocks" no less Cheap Robert Griffin III Jersey , for the whole world to see.
This is a guy who remembers what it's like to spend a year on the practice squad, putting in as much work as the next guy but knowing he won't get a chance to shine on Sundays.
So, when word came that Allen had agreed to a contract extension with the Falcons, one that should set him up nicely for the rest of his life if he manages his money right, he didn't exactly celebrate.
That's not his style.
Instead, he watched that "Hard Knocks" episode all over again, the one where then-Atlanta coach Mike Smith doles out the pink slip .
"You can kind of see I smiled a little bit," Allen recalled. "I knew that wasn't going to be my last straw. I've been turned down plenty of times in life, man. That wasn't the first time I've been told I wasn't good enough."
Allen's new contract 鈥?$19.5 million for three more seasons 鈥?pales in comparison to, say, teammate Matt Ryan, who agreed to a massive deal that averages $30 million a year and guarantees the star quarterback at least $100 million.
But Allen is grateful for his $5.5 million signing bonus. He knows that's a massive amount of money to just about anyone else. He hopes it sends just the right message to anyone scuffling on the fringes of a roster.
"This wasn't just a deal for myself," Allen said. "This was a deal for everybody who has to struggle, who has to fight from the bottom. It's possible to make it to the top."
Even now, he has a soft spot for all those guys going through the same struggles.
"When I was in college, I used to work out with the walk-ons Jason Sanders Jersey Elite ," Allen said. "I was always attracted to hard workers. I was always attracted to the bottom feeders."
After Dan Quinn took over as Atlanta's coach in 2015, he was impressed by Allen's tackling skills but felt he was out of place at cornerback, his position at Purdue and what he started out playing with the Falcons.
Allen was moved to safety. Suddenly, he blossomed. One training camp after being waived, he surged to the top row of the depth chart, going on start 14 games as a de facto rookie in 2015.
But he never got comfortable.
Not even now, when he's so clearly a part of Atlanta's long-term plans.
"That ain't in my blood," Allen said, chuckling at the mere suggestion.
Zealously guarding against those thoughts ever creeping into his head, Allen is always looking for ways to make things harder on himself.
Right down to the smallest details.
If his eggs are too runny, he's not sending them back. If it gets cold in his room, he'll turn down the thermostat even more.
"This world is so used to being comfortable all the time," Allen said. "It's weird, man, I know. But it's just something I do so I don't get complacent, so I never feel like what I've done is enough."
Allen has always worn his emotions on his sleeve Youth Kalen Ballage Jersey , which was never more evident that when I talked with him less than an hour after the Falcons squandered a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl.
While most everyone else did their best to cover up the overwhelming pain, Allen made it clear exactly how he was feeling.
"I'm broken inside," he said that night in the bowels of Houston's NRG Stadium . "I'm not a guy that forgets very easy. I'll probably never forget this. It will always be haunting."
But, like every setback in Allen's life, pain served a purpose.
He put together another strong season in 2017, though the Falcons were knocked out of the playoffs in the divisional round. He's one of the leaders on a young, speedy defense, doling out and advice and mentoring anyone who wants to know how to do things the right way.
When the Falcons announced Allen's new contract, there wasn't a hint of jealousy from his teammates.
Quite the opposite.
That day, during a meeting with the entire team, Quinn asked, "If you've ever been supported or encouraged by Ricardo Allen, please stand up."
Everyone rose from their seats, from the biggest stars on the team to those who will likely be cut in a week or two.
"You see the impact that a guy like him has on a team," Quinn marveled.
It doesn't matter if you're a Falcons fan.
No. 37 is a guy we can all root for.
Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at s://apnews/search/paul%20newberry