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2022 ESPY Awards: Shohei Ohtani, Katie Ledecky take home prizes

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Swimmer Katie Ledecky, seen here at the 30th annual ESPY Awards Wednesday, and Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani were big winners at the 2022 awards show. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/dc102d9586042a4735e12069fe7f8d52/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Swimmer Katie Ledecky, seen here at the 30th annual ESPY Awards Wednesday, and Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani were big winners at the 2022 awards show. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

July 21 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Angels slugger Shohei Ohtani and Olympic swimming phenom Katie Ledecky were among the big winners at the 2022 ESPY Awards.

The ESPYS, short for the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards, serve to recognize the year's greatest achievements in sports, similar to the Grammys for music or the Academy Awards for film.

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The 2022 edition was hosted by Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry on Wednesday, and marked the ceremony's 30th anniversary.

Curry, known for his comedic chops, began his monologue with a flurry of jabs, including taking aim at Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. He noted that James "hosted this show back in 2007 after losing the NBA Finals."

"So yes, this feels better," said Curry, whose Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA championship.

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Once the awards got underway, Ohtani took home one of the top two prizes of the night, winning Best Athlete, Men's Sports.

The 28-year-old Angels phenom was one of the most highly anticipated talents in years when he transferred to Major League Baseball from Japan in 2017.

Since his breakthrough, he has become one of the sport's elite two-way players, being able to dominate both in the batter's box and on the mound.

Through 2022, Ohtani has knocked in 112 home runs with a .263 batting average, in addition to striking out 345 batters.

Ohtani also took home the award for Best MLB Player.

The other big star of the night was Katie Ledecky, who won the award for Best Athlete, Women's Sports.

A native of Bethesda, Md., Ledecky, 25, is the world record holder in various women's swimming events. This includes the 400, 800 and 1500-meter freestyle.

Ledecky is also the holder of the fastest-ever recorded times in three different freestyle events. She burst onto the international stage in 2012 at the Olympic Games in London, winning her first Olympic gold medal.

Four years later, she became the most decorated female athlete of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, taking home four gold medals to go along with one silver.

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She is often considered the greatest female swimmer. In 2016, one fitness expert told Insider that Ledecky was "among the greatest endurance athletes ever, full stop."

Beyond these two, a number of other well-known athletes won major prizes as well.

Olympic skier Eileen Gu, who won three medals at the 2022 Games in Beijing, took home the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete.

Fresh off of their fourth NBA championship in seven years, the Golden State Warriors were crowned Best Team.

An additional category, Best NFL Player, was won by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers star won the award despite generating controversy during this past season after making statements about his COVID-19 vaccination status that many found to be misleading.

Another notable prize was the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given out annually to the athlete who transcends the world of sports.

This year's award was won by Vitali Klitschko, a heavyweight boxer and the current mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine.

Klitschko has been one of the most outspoken resistance fighters in Ukraine's war against Russia, and personally helped to defend his city following the invasion.

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"It is a great honor for me to receive this award," said Klitschko. "I am convinced that this is a recognition of the courage and inviolability of the Ukrainian people, who have been bravely resisting the Russian aggressor for more than 3 months. This is an award for everyone who defends the independence and freedom of Ukraine."

The full list of ESPY winners can be found here.

Moments from the ESPY awards red carpet

Ayesha Curry, host Stephen Curry and their daughters Ryan Curry (L) and Riley Curry attend the ESPY Awards at the Dolby Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on July 20, 2022. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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