It was a night to be remembered after a year that some athletes in the gymnastics community might like to forget.
Since 2010, the Foundation for Global Sports Development Humanitarian Award has typically been presented to an Olympian during the Summer Games or Winter Games.
But this year was different.
“We decided, in this case, to honor the gymnasts [who came forward about abuse] because they’re the heroes,” says David Ulich, president of the foundation.
The award is given to individuals and organizations who have stepped up as leaders and champions for equality or social, economic, political, or environmental justice. It honors those who actively fight against indifference, injustice, and intolerance.
Past recipients of the award include Olympian and advocate Anita DeFrantz as well as champion swimmer and fellow International Olympic Committee member Richard Pound.
“These gymnasts have been fighting hard — for all of us,” said actress and advocate Kristen Bell when she hosted the event on April 28 at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. “Fighting the men that abused them, but also, and maybe more importantly, fighting the silence.”
Former athletes, Paralympians, and advocates of the cause all joined forces to support the courageous women of the gymnastics community who had come forward to speak out about the abuse they had suffered at the hands of former coach Doug Boger, and former gymnastics physician Larry Nassar.
Some of the 23 honorees — ranging in age from 15 to 58 — present to accept the 2018 Humanitarian Award on behalf of all of the survivors included Larissa Boyce, Alexis Alvarado, Alexis Moore, Makayla Thrush, and Sarah Klein.
The event also marked the launch of the foundation’s new abuse prevention program, which is set to begin in schools nationwide next year. FGSD has designated $1 million to develop the educational program, which will be launched in collaboration with Childhelp, an international leader in child abuse prevention and awareness.
Learn more about the Foundation for Global Sports Development by visiting www.globalsportsdevelopment.org.