Dr. Christine Blasey Ford appeared in a video statement at Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year Awards on Tuesday to present this year's Inspiration of the Year award to former gymnast Rachael Denhollander.
In her first public statement since testifying against then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in September, Ford praised Denhollander's courage to become the first woman to publicly accuse former Michican State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for sexual assault.
"I am honored to speak with you from afar about a woman I admire so much, a woman who suffered abuse as a vulnerable teenage athlete, who found the courage to talk publicly to stop the abuse of others," Ford said in the video. "Her courage inspired others survivors to end their silence, and we all know the result."
Denhollander filed a federal lawsuit against Nassar at the U.S. District Court for the Western District fo Michigan. Two-hundered and fifty-one other former gymnasts, along with 23 husbands of gymnasts, also brought up claims consolidated into her suit.
Following Denhollander's lead, more than 300 women in total have said they were sexually assaulted by Nassar.
Nassar was sentenced up to 175 years on Michigan state charges of sexual assault, in addition to a sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault. He also was given a 60-year sentence on federal child-pornography charges.
Ford herself is known for publicly coming forward about sexual assault, accusing Kavanaugh in September of assaulting her when she was 15 years old. Ford testified about her allegations during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination later that month.
"Rachael Denhollander, I am in awe of you, and I will always be inspired by you," Ford said. "In stepping forward, you took a huge risk and you galvanized future generations to come forward, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them. The lasting lesson is that we all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others."
SI's Sportsperson of the Year award ceremony will be telecast on NBCSN on Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET. Comedian and actor Joel McHale will host this year’s event.