Paralympic champion Josh Sweeney receives Tillman Award at ESPYs

Josh Sweeney
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The Sochi star of the ESPYs was sledge hockey gold medalist Josh Sweeney, who took home the first Pat Tillman Award for Service on Wednesday night.

“I’m extremely honored to be up here and grateful just to be able to receive this award,” Sweeney said in his acceptance speech, after a feature about him narrated by Gary Sinise played inside the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. “I’ve had amazing support these last four years.”

Sweeney received his award from Jeff Bridges to a standing ovation from his sports peers.

The Tillman Award was created by ESPN and the Pat Tillman Foundation in honor of the former NFL safety and U.S. Army Ranger. It recognizes an individual with a strong connection to sports who served others in a way that echoes Tillman’s legacy.

A retired Marine Corps Sergeant, Sweeney, 26, became a bilateral amputee after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2009. The Purple Heart recipient scored the only goal in the Sochi Paralympic gold-medal game against Russia.

Photos: Lindsey Vonn, Roger Federer play tennis in the Alps