• United States gains ten Nominations for Laureus World Sports Awards
• World’s media in 105 countries voted for Laureus Nominees
• Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Abu Dhabi on March 10
ABU DHABI, February 11, 2010 – Many of the legendary names of American sport have been nominated for the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards. In total, the United States has collected ten nominations following a ballot by the world’s media.
Lindsey Vonn, Sanya Richards and Serena Williams have been nominated for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, Lance Armstrong, Brett Favre and Tom Watson for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year, Chris Cole and Greg Long for the Laureus World Action Sports Award and the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Yankees are on the short-list for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognize sporting achievement during the period January 1 – December 31, 2009, are recognized as the premier honors on the international sporting calendar. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled during a televised Awards Ceremony staged in Abu Dhabi on March 10, 2010.
Sanya Richards has been the No 1 runner at 400 meters for five years, but she was not able to win an individual gold medal in Olympic or world competition until 2009 in the World Championships in Berlin, where she crossed the line in 49.00secs to win the individual 400 meters title.
Lindsey Vonn proved herself to be the dominant women’s skier of 2009 and one of the greatest of all time after a second brilliant season in a row in which she won her eighth World Cup title and captured two gold medals in the World Championships in Val d’Isere in Downhill and Super-G. She also won World Cup titles in Downhill and Super-G disciplines. Her record-breaking year made her the most successful American women skier in World Cup history.
Serena Williams won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009 and re-established herself at the peak of tennis by regaining the world No 1 ranking for the fifth time in her career. Along with the No 1 ranking, she broke the record set by Justine Henin for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in one season with a total of $6,545,586 during the year. She is two-time winner of a Laureus Award.
Also competing with Richards, Vonn and Williams for the Laureus Sportswoman Award are swimmers Federica Pellegrini from Italy and Britta Steffen from Germany, and Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser.
Record seven-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong made his comeback to the race in 2009, at the age of 37, after a four-year absence, finishing third behind the winner, his Astana teammate Alberto Contador. Armstrong is also a double Laureus Award winner.
Quarterback Brett Favre came out of retirement for the second time in 2009 when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings in August. One month later he created a NFL record with his 271st consecutive start as quarterback overtaking the mark of Jim Marshall.
Eight-time major golf championship winner Tom Watson came within a putt of winning the British Open at Turnberry in July at the age of 59. He needed a par on the final hole to take his sixth British Open, but could only manage a bogey five, and lost the resulting playoff to Stewart Cink. Watson became the oldest man to have the lead after any round of a major championship.
Also nominated with Armstrong, Favre and Watson for the Laureus Comeback Award are Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters and track & field athletes Jessica Ennis of Britain and Blanka Vlasic from Croatiia, who won gold medals in the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.
In the Laureus World Team of the Year category, the Los Angeles Lakers have been nominated after winning their 15th NBA title in 2009 in their record 30th play-off appearance. Only the Boston Celtics have a better record with 17 titles. After losing in the 2007/08 play-offs, the Lakers bounced back to win the championship, beating the Orlando Magic 4-1 in the final.
Thousands of fans came onto the streets of New York to celebrate the New York Yankees 27th – and record – World Series victory in November after beating the reigning champion Philadelphia Phillies. It was the Yankees’ first World Series title since 2000. The hero of the victory was Hideki Matsui, who became the first Japanese player to be named Most Valuable Player in the World Series.
Also nominated are European soccer Champions League winners FC Barcelona, the Germany Women’s Football Team, Brawn Formula One and the South Africa Rugby Team, who were winners in 2008.
In the Laureus Action Sports category skateboarder Chris Cole enjoyed a dominant 2009. He won the prestigious Skater of the Year award from Thrasher magazine and took the overall Dew Cup, thanks to several huge performances. Greg Long won the big wave event in Waimea Bay, Hawaii, which is only held when the surf is over 40 feet. Surfers stand by all season to see if they get the call from organizers to compete. Long committed himself to an unbelievable never-say-die attack to win the event in front of a crowd of 50,000. Other Nominees are Australian world surfing champions Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore, French windsurfer Antoine Albeau and British cyclist Danny MacAskill.
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses said: “This has been a great year for sport and especially for American sport. We have a great range of Nominees from the US, from Tom Watson at 59 down to Chris Cole and Greg Long in their 20s, plus great champions like Lance Armstrong and Lindsey Vonn and two world-famous teams in the Lakers and the Yankees. The Academy are going to find it extremely difficult to decide who to vote for as winners. We have had some thrilling world championships this year and a host of terrific individual performances. I congratulate all the nominees and now we look forward to what should be a great Awards Ceremony.”
The full list of nominees for the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards is:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year
Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) Athletics – first 5,000 & 10,000m double in World Championships
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) Athletics – won 100m, 200m & 4x100m relay World Championship gold medals
Alberto Contador (Spain) Cycling – won his second Tour de France in three years
Roger Federer (Switzerland) Tennis – broke Pete Sampras record for most Grand Slam singles titles won
Lionel Messi (Argentina) Football – FIFA World Player of the Year, a star in Barcelona’s brilliant year
Valentinio Rossi (Italy) Motor Cycling – won his seventh senior MotoGP world title
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
Shelly-Ann Fraser (Jamaica) Athletics – added World Championship 100 metres gold to Olympic gold
Federica Pellegrini (Italy) Swimming – broke the four minute barrier in 400m freestyle
Sanya Richards (US) Athletics – won first individual 400m gold medal in a global championship
Britta Steffen (Germany) Swimming – won World Championship 50m & 100m gold in world record times
Lindsey Vonn (US) Skiing – won World Cup for second year and two gold medals at World Championships
Serena Williams (US) Tennis – won Australian Open and Wimbledon and regained world No 1 ranking
Laureus World Team of the Year
FC Barcelona (Spain) Football – won Champions League, Spanish League and Spanish Cup in 2008/09
Brawn Formula One Team (UK) – won Drivers and Constructors World Championships in debut year
Germany Women’s Football Team – won their fifth straight European Championship
Los Angeles Lakers (US) Basketball – won 15th NBA title in their record 30th play-off appearance
New York Yankees (US) Baseball – won their 27th – and record – World Series
South Africa Rugby Team – international rugby team of the year, won Lions and Tri-Nations series
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year
Jenson Button (UK) Motor Racing – won Formula One World Championship after 169 Grand Prix
Mark Cavendish (UK) Cycling – won six stages of the Tour de France, a record for a British cyclist
Tom Daley (UK) Diving – won 10m platform gold medal in World Championship, at age 15
Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) Tennis – beat Roger Federer in final to win US Open, at age 21
Ji Yai Shin (South Korea) Golf – rookie of the year on the US LPGA Tour, winning three events
VFL Wolfsburg (Germany) Football – small club from Lower Saxony, won their first Bundesliga title
Laureus World Comeback of the Year
Lance Armstrong (US) Cycling – returned to Tour de France at 37 after four year gap, finished third
Kim Clijsters (Belgium) Tennis – won US Open in her third tournament back after two year absence
Jessica Ennis (UK) Athletics – won World Championship heptathlon after missing Olympics with injury
Brett Favre (US) American Football – came out of retirement and created record for consecutive starts
Blanka Vlasic (Croatia) Athletics – won World Championship high jump after disappointment at Olympics
Tom Watson (US) Golf – came within a putt of winning the British Open at age 59
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
Justin Eveson (Australia) Wheelchair Basketball – winner of every tournament in which he took part
Kurt Fearnley (Australia) Wheelchair Racing – won all five marathons in which he competed in 2009
Gizen Girismen (Turkey) Para-Archery – No 1 archer in the world in her category since 2007
Shingo Kunieda (Japan) Wheelchair Tennis – unbeaten in 77 matches dating back to 2007
Michael Teuber (Germany) Cycling – won three gold and one silver medal in World Championships
Natalie du Toit (S.Africa) Swimming – continued to dominate able-bodied and disabled events in 2009
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year
Antoine Albeau (France) Windsurfing – won the 2009 PWA Slalom World Championship
Chris Cole (US) Skateboarding – won the Dew Cup and was named Skater of the Year
Mick Fanning (Australia) Surfing – won his second World Surfing Championship in three years
Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) Surfing – won her third straight World Surfing Championship, at just 21
Greg Long (US) Surfing – won big wave event at Waimea Bay, Hawaii, in front of 50,000 spectators
Danny MacAskill (UK) Trials Bikes – spectacular stunt video seen by 350,000 on You Tube in 40 hours
For more detailed biographies of Nominees go to www.laureus.com/awards/2010/nominees
The 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards will be supported by host partner Aabar Investments PJSC. The announcement of the Nominees was made at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi by Laureus Academy Chairman Edwin Moses and his fellow Academy Members Kapil Dev and Mika Hakkinen.
Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, offers a fascinating combination of the old and the new; a blend of Arabian hospitality and mystique where a mixture of culture and tradition come together against a backdrop of the most modern world-class infrastructure. Abu Dhabi is developing a reputation as a leading international sporting venue. The Laureus World Sports Awards is the latest high profile sports event to be staged in Abu Dhabi. Last year FIFA chose Abu Dhabi to stage football’s FIFA Club World Cup UAE Championship 2009/2010. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and Abu Dhabi International Triathlon are now highlights of the sporting calendar in the city.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
The Patron of Laureus is Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work.
Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements – the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus World Sports Awards and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation – which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Severiano Ballesteros, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, David Douillet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh and Katarina Witt.
The Laureus Academy members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. The Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception Laureus has raised €20 million for projects which have helped improve the lives of more than one million young people. The Foundation addresses issues in particular involving, but not limited to, young people impacted by social exclusion, gun and gang violence, discrimination, community integration, peace and reconciliation, and education.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury – the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 100 countries and territories.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports over 70 community sports projects around the world.
There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters have been voting to create a shortlist of six nominations in five categories – Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year. The nominations for two additional categories – the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year and the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability are produced by Specialist Panels. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners in all seven categories.
Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone.
Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest automaker, can look back on a unique tradition. It is the most valuable automotive premium brand which stands for quality, safety, comfort, fascinating design and sustainable mobility. Mercedes-Benz enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in the area of safety technology. Many pioneering technical innovations that are standard automotive features today were first seen in a Mercedes-Benz car. The Mercedes-Benz engineers will in future consistently reinvent the automobile – with the same enthusiasm and innovation like Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz in 1886. Mercedes-Benz is a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since the beginning of the Foundations’ operations in 2000, Mercedes-Benz has shared and supported the goals and values of this worldwide charity programme where sports play the core role in the fight against social issues – Laureus has become a vital element of the corporate social responsibility programme of Mercedes-Benz.
For more than 140 years, IWC Schaffhausen has been producing precision products of complex functionality and outstanding user-friendliness for watch connoisseurs who expect more from their watch than an accurate display. Since its foundation in 1868, the International Watch Company has built up a reputation as a long-established Swiss watchmaking firm with a passion for inventions, innovative solutions and technical refinements. Today the brand is more successful than at any time in its history. IWC uses this strength in a programme of corporate social responsibility initiatives at home and abroad. In 2005, IWC entered into a long-term commitment to become a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Vodafone, the world’s leading international mobile communications group, with over 323 million proportionate customers and equity interests in 31 countries across five continents and a further 40 partner networks worldwide, is supporting Laureus as a new Global Partner, with a five year agreement which began in 2008 and concludes in 2012. Vodafone is a long-standing supporter of sport sponsorship and is pleased to be part of an organisation that celebrates sporting excellence both at a grass roots level through the humanitarian work worldwide of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and at elite level through the annual Laureus World Sports Awards, which honours the achievements of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen.
Aabar Investments PJSC
Aabar is an investment company headquartered in Abu Dhabi. Its largest stakeholder is the International Petroleum Investment Company, which in turn is wholly owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Aabar is supporting Laureus as the host partner for the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards. Aabar is honoured to be given the chance to be part of the event and to bring it to Abu Dhabi. Aabar is looking forward to developing its relationship with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and introducing opportunities and projects to the region.