The combination of Wambach and Jenner is significant for the LGBT movement. This will be Jenner’s first major public appearance since she announced last month that she would now be known as Caitlyn and Wambach supplied a memorable moment of her own earlier this month when she sprinted over to kiss her wife after the U.S. team’s victory over Japan
The awards show has come under fire for choosing Jenner to receive the courage award, but Jenner’s appearance and her acceptance speech are sure to be immediate viral sensations as the recipient typically uses the platform to send a message.
Last year, Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, received the award. “You know, on the night of my announcement — that week I had gotten so many emails, so many text messages from college and NFL players and other athletes in the sports industry about how courageous I was,” Sam said. “[They] themselves are closeted homosexuals. So yeah, I’m not the only one. There’s a lot of us.”
ESPN announced that Jenner would receive this year’s award the same day that she revealed her new name to Vanity Fair. At the time, ESPN said it had chosen Jenner because of the “strength of character” she showed in an ABC interview with Diana Sawyer.