Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner gives tearful speech at ESPYs

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A tearful Caitlyn Jenner was honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs, speaking to a room full of fellow accomplished athletes.

Jenner won the 1976 Olympic decathlon title as Bruce Jenner and publicly announced she was “for all intents and purposes … a woman” on April 24.

Jenner’s Olympic triumph was remembered as part of a 14-minute video feature that played before two-time Olympic champion soccer player Abby Wambach introduced Jenner at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Here’s video of Jenner’s speech.

“I know the people in this room have respect for hard work, for training, for going through something difficult to achieve the outcome that you desire,” said Jenner, with long brown hair and wearing a white dress. “I trained hard. I competed hard, and for that people respected me, but this transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine.”

Jenner teared up when thanking family members as part of an 11-minute speech and closed with this:

“It is an honor to have the word courage associated with my life. But on this night another word comes to mind, and that is fortunate. I owe a lot to sports. It showed me the world. It’s given me an identity. If someone wanted to bully me, well, you know what, I was the MVP of the football team. That just wasn’t going to be a problem. And the same thing goes tonight. If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it. So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity, well, I’ll tell you what it’s all about. It’s about what happens from here. It’s not just about one person. It’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another. We’re all different. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing, and while it may not be easy to get past the things you always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.”

UFC champion and 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey won Best Female Athlete (over Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Serena Williams) and Best Fighter (over another Olympic bronze medalist, Floyd Mayweather Jr.).

“Wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once,” Rousey said in an ESPN red carpet interview. “Like to see him pretend to not know who I am now.”

Vonn was also nominated for Best Comeback Athlete, an award won by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Video: Bruce Jenner’s NBC News interview from 1976

 

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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