How these Richmond sports figures will be honored this weekend

How these Richmond sports figures will be honored this weekend
Posted at 11:37 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 23:37:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you were to tell someone the history of Richmond area sports, you'd have no choice but to include the names Bobby Ukrop and Michael Robinson.

The two will again be linked as the inaugural winners of the RVA Sports Awards honors for lifetime achievement.

Ukrop is the first recipient of the Community Champion Award for leaving an indelible mark on Richmond's sports landscape.

"I think for my dad, the number of sports complexes and teams and facilities that he's supported around the region and helped grow has been this incredible number," Rob Ukrop said.

Ukrop was one of the central figures behind events and facilities that are now institutional in Richmond.

He led the effort to build The Diamond back in 1984 and was the driving force behind the creation of the Richmond Sportsbackers who in their own right, have built the Monument Avenue 10K and other events into national prominence.

He helped create the Swim RVA Aquatic Center, the First Tee Golf Program, and through sponsorship from Ukrops' Supermarkets, has been a benefactor for teams and events across the region.

"He's very philanthropic. He loves the community, he loves Richmond, but most importantly, he loves the people of Richmond," Rob said. "I think for my dad, sports has been that vehicle to bring fathers and sons and daughters and just pulling people together. There's certainly things that he doesn't want people to know behind the scenes which, I think, is part of the greatness of Bobby Ukrop. It makes me proud. I've been on the inside of some of those things, sitting in meetings and watching dad just say, hey, I want to help out."

Helping out is exactly what Michael Robinson is also doing for his community.

After his college and NFL career, which included a Super Bowl title, Robinson is still sharing his knowledge and experiences. Not just on the NFL Network, but through the Excel to Excellence Foundation which he created in 2010.

Through E2E, Robinson has found a way to help those most at risk of being left behind in society and is redefining success one person at a time.

Hundreds of kids and adults alike have benefitted through E2E's programs, most famously, his annual youth football camp and community day.

They have also transformed the old Varina library into a learning center with educational programs and workforce development initiatives.

"It's amazing to be a part of it and see his dreams come to reality. He knew it before anyone else knew. We were involved and following him and we're pretty sure this is going to work. We're going to help you execute, to really see it come to be the organization it is today is amazing," Cara Pressley, E2E's social media director, said. said.

Despite an incredibly demanding work schedule, Robinson and his family still live in Richmond and are on hand every day to see the benefits and improvements that stem from E2E.

"I know it's the same word over and over, but it really is amazing. It's a vision that no one could have put in place but Michael Robinson," Pressley said.

Both Ukrop and Robinson will be formally honored on Saturday night during the RVA Sports Awards which begin at 7:30 p.m.

The awards can be watched on CBS6 and online.