July 12, 2017
By Steve Helm
Special Olympics Texas athletes Ian Rawn (Plano) and Brendan “Beebo” West (Deer Park) have been presented with honorary ESPYS. This year, ESPN will posthumously honor Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for her work with Special Olympics. The award will be presented by former First Lady Michelle Obama to Special Olympics Chairmain Timothy Shriver, who will accept the award on his mother’s behalf. In anticipation of this inspiring moment of recognition, ESPN and The Disney Corporation have chosen to honor 27 Special Olympics athletes from 24 U.S. markets by presenting them with honorary ESPYS, including Texas’ Rawn and West. The 25th ESPYS Presented by Capital One, hosted by five-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, will air live on Wednesday, July 12, at 7 p.m. CT on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is sponsored by Cadillac.
Rawn, 34, was the only Texan selected to compete in Austria at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games last March. He made his state and country proud, as he finished 4th in the world in Level 3 Male Figure Skating (age 22-34).
West, 21, is the reigning SOTX Male Athlete of the Year. He was born with Roberts syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes delayed development of facial features and limbs. Because of this, West does not have arms and uses a wheelchair Despite all of that, he has been involved with SOTX since 2006 and has been a very active participant. Through the years, he has become very competitive in a variety of sports by using his feet, including: bocce, basketball, bowling, soccer, tennis and volleyball.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver is being honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for her dedication to using the power of sports to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to become acknowledged and celebrated members of society. Shriver was a resolute champion for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and her legacy lives on through Special Olympics, the global movement she founded in 1968.
“Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a passionate champion for those with developmental challenges, empowering them to fulfill their highest potential,” said Mrs. Obama. “Her work to promote inclusion and acceptance transformed the lives of countless young athletes and inspired us all. I am incredibly honored to present this award to her son to celebrate her life’s work.”
Presented annually to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, the award recognizes those individuals who embody the spirit of the trophy's namesake, tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who dedicated his life to human rights advocacy.