ESPN on Wednesday honored hundreds of sexual abuse survivors of former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar with the ESPY Courage Award.
The 141 survivors spread across the stage as actress Jennifer Garner presented them with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Audience members cried as several Nassar survivors spoke about the abuse they suffered at Nassar's hands.
"For 30 years, USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, and Michigan State University placed money and medals over the safety of child athletes,” Sarah Klein, Nassar’s first known victim, said.
Nassar has been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of gymnasts during his time as a volunteer Olympic doctor. He pleaded guilty last year to sexually assaulting gymnasts and was sentenced to as many as 175 years in prison.
The victims held hands as two-time Olympian gymnast and Nassar survivor Aly Raisman promoted a message of empowerment.
“Survivors are often told their story doesn’t matter,” Raisman said. “To all the survivors out there: The truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”
“All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar,” she said.
“To all the survivors out there, don't let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”— ESPYS (@ESPYS) July 19, 2018
Tonight, Aly Raisman and her sister survivors brought the #ESPYS audience to their feet. pic.twitter.com/0sVTI0wLUH
ESPN also awarded ESPYs to the three Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School coaches who died in the Parkland, Fla., shooting in February.
The “coach of the year” award went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assistant football coach Aaron Felis, cross country coach Scott Beigel, and athletic director Chris Hixon.
“Scott, Aaron and Chris were heroes and they were coaches,” Stoneman Douglas coach Elliot Bonner said. “But they were also husbands, fathers and sons."
Each of the men was killed while trying to save children during the shooting, which left 17 dead and more than a dozen others injured.