The Laureus Awards promote the Laureus organization’s mission to create social change through sport and sporting excellence, and from what I hear, receiving an award is a big deal. I just love Laureus for giving Sportsman of the Year to Roger Federer for 4 years in a row (’05 – ’08) and for not giving a crap about Michael Phelps and his stupid bong hit.
And given that Laureus is European, it’s always kind to our sport. Four tennis stars have been nominated for their achievements last year:
Rafael Nadal – Nominee for Sportsman of the Year (like, duh!)
I’d say he’s a shoe-in, but competition is tough since 2008 was an Olympic year. Fellow supermen like Phelps (swimming) and Usain Bolt (track) are on the list, along with Lewis Hamilton (motor racing), Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer), and Valentino Rossi (motor cycling). But I still think Rafa’s winning it.
Venus Williams – Nominee for Sportswoman of the Year
Venus won Wimbledon for the fifth time and an Olympic gold medal in doubles – is this “enough” against Tirunesh Dibaba (track), Yelena Isinbayeva (pole vaulting), Lorena Ochoa (golf), Lindsey Vonn (skiing), and Stephanie Rice (swimming)? Honestly, I have no idea.
Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic – Nominees for Breakthrough of the Year
Doesn’t it already feel like these two have been around forever? Besides each other, the Serbs are competing against Rebecca Adlington (swimming), Anthony Kim (golf), Sebastian Vettel (motor racing) and Zou Kai (gymnastics).
Nominees are selected by a selection panel of top sport’s media from 120 countries. Then members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, made up of 46 GOAT-tastic sportspeople, vote by secret ballot. Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles are in this elite group of sportspeople.
There won’t be any glitzy ceremony this year because of the global economic flame-out. Awards will be presented to winners individually throughout May and June. Here’s footage from the May, 2006 awards ceremony, showing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal winning awards. Ah, those were the days. . .
Click here to visit the Laureus website.
Photo of Nadal winning 2005 Newcomer of the Year via rafaelnadal.com