Back when we were joking about possible names for Baby Federer – Roland, Wimby, Rafalito – we forgot an obvious contender: Laureus. Like many Major titles, Roger Federer has won the prestigious Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award multiple times. If history holds, he’ll win it for a record 5th time next month.
The 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards nominees were determined through a “ballot by the world’s media” and the final selections will be chosen by the “Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time”. The Awards Ceremony will be held in Abu Dhabi on March 10, 2010.
The awards recognize achievement from the period of January 1 – December 31, 2009. In addition to Roger, who is nominated for Sportsman of the Year, two-time Laureus recipient Serena Williams is nominated for Sportswoman, Kim Clijsters in the coed Comeback of the Year category and Juan Martin del Potro for World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
Here are the full lists of nominees in these categories. Check out the Laureus website for the complete list of all nominees in all categories.
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 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
A brief and recent history of the Laureus awards for tennis: Rafael Nadal was nominated last year in the Sportsman category but lost in part due to the stiff competition of an Olympic Year (the award recognized achievements in 2008). Roger won in 2008, along with Justine Henin as Sportswoman and wheelchair player Esther Vergeer as Sportsperson with a Disability. He won in 2007 with Amelie Mauresmo for Sportswoman and Serena Williams for Comeback. In 2006, it was Roger Federer winning as Sportsman, Rafael Nadal as Newcomer and Martina Hingis as Comeback. 2005 was Roger’s first year on the Laureus awards stage.
Some video of Roger (awkwardly) accepting his first Sportsman of the Year award in 2005:
From 2006, more of Roger (who tidied up his acceptance speech a little, but still seemed to be really nervous – an indication of what a big deal the award is) and Rafael Nadal, who won Newcomer of the Year: