ESPY Awards honor sexual assault survivors including Minnesota gymnast

Every year, the ESPY Awards honor the very best in sports.

Wednesday night in Los Angeles, however, there was a poignant moment acknowledging the pain of hundreds of young gymnasts assaulted at the hands of former USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar. 

141 survivors of sexual abuse appeared on stage together to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. 

Recipients included Maggie Nichols from Little Canada, Minnesota, who identified herself as “Athlete A” in the criminal investigation earlier this year.     

“It was so incredible. It was so powerful, even for us. We all had goosebumps. I think it just really showed how strong and courageous all of us are,” Nichols said by phone from Los Angeles after the ceremony.

The abuse started when Nichols was 15 years old, a rising gymnastics star. 

“I think it was such a powerful statement, having all of those girls on the stage at one time, it really put things into perspective,” Nichols said. “It was so cool to be able to experience that with all of them and to have that moment with them. It was really cool and I feel like we grew even closer through that.”

Nichols posted a picture with the award on Instagram with the caption: “The moment when everything was worth it."

“I hope there's definitely major change happening, but I really hope that people don't look poorly upon gymnastics throughout this whole thing. It is a horrible thing but it's not what gymnastics is,” Nichols said. 

Larry Nassar will spend the rest of his life in prison.