At the 51st presentation of the John Wanamaker Athletic Award, Jamaica’s national team captain, Andre Blake, was awarded the annual honour as the City of Philadelphia celebrated a night of athletic excellence.
On Wednesday, the 2022 John Wanamaker Athletic Award Luncheon brought together a diverse group of honourees at the Crystal Tea Room in The Wanamaker Building. The honourees were rewarded with the Sports Volunteer of the Year award, the Robert P. Levy Community Service Award, the David P. Montgomery Lifetime Achievement Award, and the John Wanamaker Athletic Award.
Presented by PHL Sports, The Wanamaker Building, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and CBS3, the John Wanamaker Athletic Award was rewarded to the athlete, team, or organisation that has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which they excel. Blake, goalkeeper for the American football club the Philadelphia Union, received the night’s final honour and on Tuesday expressed his overwhelming gratitude in a message shared on his Instagram page.
“Eight years ago I heard my name being called in a convention centre in Philadelphia as I got drafted number one in the MLS Draft. Eight years later I heard my name being called again but this time in the Wanamaker Building as I was presented with the John Wanamaker Award…Who would have thought?” Blake wrote, “I got off to a rough start and it was very tough but those times were preparing me for what was to come. It was in those tough times that I had to quickly learn to GET BETTER NOT BITTER . I guess it’s safe to say I needed those tough times.”
Blake thanked God for his wife and two sons, who he described as being his constant support system. The 31-year-old went on to say that he has now realized, having seen all those that gathered to celebrate him and the other honourees, that his support system has extended beyond his family. Blake thanked his family and extended his appreciation to friends, teammates, coaches, and his PR team.
He concluded with a shout-out to the City of Philadelphia, “Lastly, thank you Philadelphia. It is an absolute honor. This is truly the best sports city in the world.”
View photos of Blake attending the 2022 John Wanamaker Athletic Award Luncheon below: