St. Lous Sports Commission announces 2021 Music Prize recipients



From the press release

Zaila Avant-garde, winner of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, will receive the 2021 Stan Musial Award for Outstanding Character. She will be honored at the Musial Awards in St. Louis on November 20 for the poise and grace she has shown through the pressure of competition and the accolades that have followed.

Avant-garde, 15, will join Wayne and Janet Gretzky as recipients of the two special honors awarded at the event. As announced last month, the Gretzkys are receiving the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for sportsmanship.

The Musial Awards presented by Maryville University celebrate the greatest sportsmanship moments of the year and athletes who embody class and character. The national event is named after St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial, a beloved baseball superstar and civic icon who was the ultimate sport par excellence. This year’s show returns to the Stifel Theater in downtown St. Louis and will be featured in a one-hour special that will air nationwide on CBS on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. CT.

The Stan Musial Award for Extraordinary Character is awarded each year to an individual who demonstrates remarkable balance, perseverance and sportsmanship. Recipients include NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, St. Louis Blues superfan Laila Anderson, sister of Loyola University basketball chaplain Jean Dolores Schmidt, Basketball Hall of Fame Tamika Catchings , Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis, and now Avant-garde.

In July, Avant-garde survived another 208 national qualifiers to be crowned the Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. She is the first black American to win the Bee. Making history and wielding the spotlight with benevolence and humility, she is a champion in every sense of the word. Avant-garde expressed hope that her success will inspire other black American and Hispanic girls to adopt a competitive spelling. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime young talent – and not just for his spelling prowess. She also holds three basketball-related marks in the Guinness Book of World Records, including the most bounces in one minute with four basketballs and the most basketball rebounds in 30 seconds with four. basketballs. She tied the record for most basketballs dribbled at one time.

At the Musial Awards, the Avant-Garde will be honored alongside good sportsmen from around the world who are celebrated for their extraordinary sportsmanship.

Here are the recipients of the 2021 Music Awards:

Wayne and Janet Gretzky: Embodying class and generosity, Wayne and Janet Gretzky receive the highest honor for sportsmanship: the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award. Wayne is undeniably one of the greatest hockey players of all time. His statistics have earned him the nickname “The Great One”. But his integrity, his grace and his authenticity too, which marked his life and his career. There’s even a sportsmanship statistic that attests to his greatness: He’s a five-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – awarded annually to the NHL player who demonstrates the best kind of sportsmanship and courteous conduct. combined with a high level of playing ability. No other living NHL player has won the award so many times. Janet, who grew up in St. Louis and married Wayne in 1988, has enjoyed a distinguished career as an actress and dancer. But although she is known for her on-screen work, behind the scenes she has had an impact on awareness and fundraising for several charities. Having lost two sisters to breast cancer, she is particularly active in efforts to fund research and support those fighting the disease.

Mutaz Barshim & Gianmarco Tamberi: The Olympic high jumpers were the source of one of the most memorable – and entertaining – sportsmanship moments of the Tokyo Games. In the men’s high jump final, Qatari Barshim and Italy’s Tamberi were tied for the top of the standings. This left the competition to be decided by a jump-off. But when an official approached them to explain the situation to them, Barshim asked, “Can we have two gold medals? The official nodded, triggering a wild celebration and a hug from the two athletes who decided it was much more meaningful to to share the title of Olympic champion.

Buffalo Bills fans (represented by William Burke and Dan Konopski): At the end of the third quarter of the AFC Baltimore-Buffalo playoff game in January, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was knocked down and forced out of the game. Although a good deal for Buffalo, Jackson’s exit did not please two Bills fans. Out of respect for their opponent and feeling bad about his injury, William Burke and Dan Konopski – two Bills fans who didn’t know each other – took to social media to encourage fans of the team to donate. $ 8 (Jackson’s uniform number) to Blessings. in a backpack, a Louisville-based charity that Jackson is associated with. The charity helps feed elementary school students across the country. A few days later, 18,450 individual donations in Jackson’s honor had been made and over $ 550,000 raised.

Lavel Dumont: The University of Toledo offensive lineman is known for the special friendship he initiated with a teenager from Toledo and the impact he had. While driving from his apartment on campus, Dumont often noticed Wyntr Knisely throwing a soccer ball alone in his backyard. One day, Dumont decided to stop by, introduce himself and invite Knisely to a soccer match in Toledo. From there, a heartwarming bond developed between Dumont and the then 15-year-old football fan. Unbeknownst to Dumont when they first met, Knisely experienced several challenges in life. He suffers from heart disease which required numerous surgeries, leading to developmental delays. He also moved to Toledo just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. So meeting and making new friends was not easy. 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 in late April against the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Phillies star outfielder was hit in the face by a 97 mph fastball from Génesis Cabrera. Although a scary moment for all watching, Harper was thankfully doing well despite having to quit the game. The next day, after receiving a text from then-Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, Harper said reached out to check on Cabrera’s condition. Instead of being angry and upset, Harper was concerned for the opposing pitcher’s welfare and wanted Cabrera to be assured that he knew the pitch was unintentional. It was a tremendous display of empathy and sportsmanship, and broadcast what could have been a volatile situation between the two teams. Shildt told reporters, “Anyone who’s a Bryce Harper fan, anyone who has kids who are Bryce Harper fans, support this guy. Because what he sent in a message today was completely a class act.

Rebel Hays: A fifth grader from West Fork, Ark., Hays serves as a guide for Paul Scott, a visually impaired grade 10 student who is a member of the West Fork High School cross country team. In addition to competing in his own age group, Hays volunteers to run with Scott and help him in high school races. The duo use a rope and Hays’ instructions to navigate the cross-country ski courses. When racing with Scott, Hays cannot win any prizes and his name does not appear in any results. Yet he enthusiastically devotes his time and energy to giving Scott the chance to compete and excel.

Mario Hoefer: During an Iowa high school football game in early September, Hoefer, a high school student from Charles City High School, noticed an opposing player on the ground after a play. Carter Steinlage, a junior at New Hampton High School, suffered from a leg cramp. As no one came to help Steinlage immediately, Hoefer went to help his opponent and stretch his leg. Even though some members of his team were calling for him to step back on the sidelines, Hoefer did not want to leave Steinlage unattended. A parent took a photo of Hoefer’s sportsmanship act, and the image went viral.

LSU Gymnastics: In April, for the first time since 2006, the UCLA Bruins failed to qualify as a team for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships. This left first-year gymnast Chae Campbell, who qualified as an individual, without most of her team at the event in Fort Worth. She was assigned to rotation with the State of Louisiana. In a great display of class, respect and sportsmanship, the Tigers went above and beyond, welcoming and embracing Campbell as if she were a member of their team. They gathered around the Bruin, cheered her on, and even learned her floor routine so they could dance.


Tickets for the 2021 Musial Awards, ranging from $ 10 to $ 38, are on sale through Ticketmaster. More information and a link to purchase tickets are available at The Musial Awards also offer a special Honoree Circle ticket, which includes premium seating, access to the Musial Awards After Party, and reserved parking for $ 100. Honoree Circle tickets can be purchased at or by calling 314-345-5111.

Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of special group rates by calling 314-345-5121.

With the health and safety of guests being a priority, the Musial Awards will require that all guests with a ticket be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result: either a test PCR performed within 72 hours or antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival at the event.

The show time for the 2021 Music Awards is 7 p.m.


The Musial Awards presented by the University of Maryville are held each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving at 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 non-profit charitable organization. In addition to preserving the legacy of Stan The Man, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sport and society – and to inspire people through the country to be good sportsmen. The event has taken place in Saint-Louis since 2005.

National sponsors for the 2021 Musial Awards include Maryville University, Edward Jones, Enterprise, Lexus and World Wide Technology. Since 2011, Maryville University has been the presenting sponsor of the event. The school’s involvement, leadership and generosity have helped make the Musial Awards the most inspiring sports night®.



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