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This is one honor for which former heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko wishes he didn’t qualify.
ESPN has announced that the mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2022 ESPYS on July 20 (ABC) in the wake of Russia’s invasion of his country – including Kyiv — in February.
The award, as described by ESPN, “is given to a deserving member of the sporting world who makes a difference far beyond the field of play, impacting the world in indelible ways.”
Klitschko certainly has done that, risking his life by serving as a key figure in Ukraine’s resistance against one of the strongest militaries in the world. His brother, Wladimir Klitschko, has stayed by his side.
Vitali Klitschko has been mayor Kyiv since 2014.
“Vitali’s poise and strength as his city and country faces unfathomable tests have far surpassed the incredible resolve he demonstrated as one of boxing’s top heavyweight champions,” said Executive Editor-At-Large ESPN Content Rob King.
“His commitment to the people of Ukraine has been a global inspiration, and his bravery is a prime example of the resilience of the human spirit. It is our privilege to bestow him with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.”
Klitschko said the award should extend to all of his countrymen.
“It is a great honor for me to receive this award,” he said. “I am convinced that this is a recognition of the courage and inviolability of the Ukrainian people, who have been bravely resisting the Russian aggressor for more than three months. This is an award for everyone who defends the independence and freedom of Ukraine.”