St. Lous Sports Commission announces the recipients of the Musial Awards 2021
From the press release
Zaila Avantgarde, winner of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, receives the Stan Musial Award 2021 for exceptional character. She will be honored at the Musial Awards in St. Louis on November 20 for the serenity and grace that she has shown despite competitive pressures and subsequent awards.
Avantgarde, 15, will receive the event’s two special awards alongside Wayne and Janet Gretzky. As announced last month, the Gretzkys will receive the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 for sportiness.
The Musial Awards, presented by Maryville University, celebrate the greatest athletic moments of the year and those in sport that embody class and character. The national event is named after the St. Louis Cardinals legend, Stan Musial, a popular baseball superstar and civic icon who was the ultimate in good sport. This year’s show returns to the Stifel Theater in Downtown St. Louis and is wrapped in a one-hour special that will air across the country on CBS on Christmas Day at 5:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. CT.
The Stan Musial Award for Extraordinary Character each year recognizes a person who shows remarkable demeanor, perseverance, and general athleticism. Recipients include NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, St. Louis Blues superfan Laila Anderson, Loyola University basketball chaplain, Jean Dolores Schmidt, Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis, and now Avant-garde .
In July, Avantgarde outlasted 208 other national qualifiers to be crowned champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She is the first black American to win the bee. She makes history and walks into the limelight with grace and humility, she is a master in every way. Avant-garde has expressed hope that their success will inspire other black American and Hispanic girls to measure themselves against spelling. She is a unique up-and-coming talent – and not just because of her spelling skills. She also holds three basketball-related grades in the Guinness Book of Records, including most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs and most basketball bounces in 30 seconds with four basketballs. She set the record for most basketballs at one time.
At the Musial Awards, avant-garde is honored alongside good sports from all over the world, which are celebrated for their exceptional sportiness.
Here are the 2021 Musial Awards winners:
Wayne & Janet Gretzky: Wayne and Janet Gretzky embody class and generosity and receive the highest honor for athleticism: the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award. Wayne is arguably one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time. His statistics earned him the nickname “The Great One”. But also his integrity, grace and authenticity, which were the hallmarks of his life and his career. There’s even a sportsmanship statistic to show his greatness: he’s a five-time winner of the Lady-Byng Memorial Trophy – awarded annually to the NHL player who combines the best of sportsmanship and gentlemanly demeanor with a high standard of quality Shows game skills. No other living NHL player has won the award so many times. Janet, who grew up in St. Louis and married Wayne in 1988, enjoyed a successful acting and dancing career. But while she is known for her work on the silver screen, she has made an impact behind the scenes in raising awareness and donating to several charities. After losing two sisters to breast cancer, she is particularly active in efforts to fund research and support those battling the disease.
Mutaz Barshim & Gianmarco Tamberi: The Olympic high jumpers were responsible for one of the most memorable – and most entertaining – athletic moments at the Tokyo Games. In the men’s high jump final, Barshim from Qatar and Tamberi from Italy were tied at the top. The competition was decided by a jump-off. But when an officer approached them to explain the situation, Barshim asked, “Can we have two golds?” The officer nodded and sparked a wild celebration and hug from the two athletes, who thought it made much more sense to share the title of Olympic gold medalist.
Buffalo Bills fans (represented by William Burke and Dan Konopski): Late in the third quarter of the January Baltimore-Buffalo AFC playoff game, Raven’s QB Lamar Jackson was knocked down and forced out of the game. Despite being beneficial to Buffalo, Jackson’s departure didn’t go down well with two Bills fans. Out of respect for their opponent and a guilty conscience about his injury, William Burke and Dan Konopski – two Bills fans who didn’t know each other – used social media to encourage the team’s fan base to pay $ 8 (Jackson’s uniform number) to donate to Blessings at a Backpack, a Louisville charity that Jackson is associated with. The charity helps feed elementary school children across the country. A few days later, Jackson had received 18,450 individual donations and raised more than $ 550,000.
Lavel Dumont: The University of Toledo Offensive Lineman is recognized for the special friendship he made with a Toledo teenager and the impact he has made. On the drive from his apartment to campus, Dumont often noticed Wyntr Knisely throwing a soccer ball alone in his yard. One day Dumont decided to stop, introduce himself and invite Knisely to a soccer game in Toledo. This created a heartwarming bond between Dumont and the then 15-year-old football fan. Dumont was not aware when they met, and Knisely has faced several challenges in life. He has a heart condition that has required numerous surgeries, which has resulted in some developmental delays. He also moved to Toledo just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. So it wasn’t easy to meet and make new friends. All of this made Dumont’s spontaneous decision to say hello and befriend a child he didn’t know even more meaningful.
Bryce Harper: In a series against the Cardinals in St. Louis in late April, the Phillies star outfielder was hit in the face by a 97-mph fastball from Génesis Cabrera. Fortunately, while it was a scary moment for all viewers, Harper was fine despite having to leave the game. The next day, after Harper got a text message from then Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, he called back to check on Cabrera. Rather than being angry and upset, Harper was concerned for the welfare of the opposing pitcher and wanted Cabrera to be reassured that he knew the pitch was unintentional. It was a tremendous display of empathy and athleticism and dispelled a potentially unstable situation between the two teams. Shildt told reporters, “Whoever is a fan of Bryce Harper, whoever has kids who are fans of Bryce Harper, supports this guy. Because what he sent over in a message today was an absolute class. “
Rebel Hays: Hays, a fifth grader from West Fork, Ark., Serves as the lead runner for Paul Scott, a visually impaired 10th grader who is on the West Fork High School cross country team. In addition to competing in his own age group, Hays selflessly volunteers to run and help Scott in high school races. The duo use a rope and Hays’ instructions to navigate the cross-country trails. When he runs with Scott, Hays can’t win awards and his name doesn’t appear in any results. Nonetheless, he diligently devotes his time and energy to giving Scott the chance to compete and outdo himself.
Mario Höfer: At a high school football game in Iowa in early September, Hoefer, a senior at Charles City High School, noticed an opposing player after a game on the ground. Carter Steinlage, a junior at New Hampton High School, suffered from a leg cramp. Since no one came immediately to help Steinlage, Hoefer went over to help his opponent and stretched his leg. Even if part of his team asked him to come back to the sidelines, Hoefer didn’t want to leave Steinlage unattended. A parent snapped a photo of Hoefer’s athletic deed and the picture went viral.
LSU gymnastics: In April, the UCLA Bruins failed to reach the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships as a team for the first time since 2006. This left freshman gymnast Chae Campbell, who had qualified as an individual, at the Fort Worth event without most of her team. She was assigned to rotate with Louisiana State. In a great show of class, respect and athleticism, the Tigers went way beyond that, greeting and hugging Campbell as if she were a member of their team. They gathered around the Bruin, cheered them on, and even learned their dance routine so they could dance along.
MUSIAL AWARDS TICKETS:
Tickets for the 2021 Musial Awards, valued at $ 10 to $ 38, are available through Ticketmaster. For more information and a link to purchase tickets, visit MusialAwards.com/tickets. The Musial Awards also offer a special Honoree Circle ticket that includes prime seating, access to the Musial Awards After Party, and reserved parking for $ 100. Honoree Circle tickets can be purchased at MusialAwards.com/tickets or by calling 314-345-5111.
Groups of 10 or more can benefit from special group prices by calling 314-345-5121.
As guest health and safety is a priority, all guests with a ticket must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test result: either a PCR test performed within 72 hours or an antigen test within 24 hours recorded upon arrival at the event.
Showtime for the Musial Awards 2021 is 7:00 p.m.
MORE ABOUT THE MUSIALS:
The Musial Awards, presented by Maryville University, take place annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in the historic 3,000-seat Stifel Theater in downtown St. Louis. The show is produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping Stan The Man’s legacy alive, the Musial Awards are designed to promote kindness, selflessness, integrity and courtesy in sport and in society – and to inspire people across the country to enjoy good sports. The event has been held in St. Louis since 2005.
National sponsors of the Musial Awards 2021 include Maryville University, Edward Jones, Enterprise, Lexus, and World Wide Technology. Maryville University has been the presenting sponsor of the event since 2011. The school’s dedication, leadership and generosity helped make the Musial Awards the most inspiring Night in Sport®.