Bolt, Ennis cop Laureus Sports awards
The winners of the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards have been unveiled at a globally televised awards ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
Among the highlights were a third Laureus Award for Jamaican sprint giant Usain Bolt, a triple success for British sport with honours for Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and Sebastian Coe, and a special new Award for Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.
Bolt was acclaimed Laureus World Sportsman of the Year after his remarkable performance at the Olympics when he repeated his success in Beijing by winning gold medals in all three sprint events in London — 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay.
The Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award went to Jessica Ennis, who carried the hopes of the British nation in London. Despite the enormous pressure of being one of the first on the track, she dominated the heptathlon and won the gold medal with a British record score of 6,955 points.
British tennis star Andy Murray's first ever Grand Slam victory, at the US Open, plus an Olympic gold and silver medal in the singles and mixed doubles in London, made him the winner of the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
Another outstanding Olympic champion, the Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez, received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after winning the Olympic 400 metres hurdles gold medal in London, eight years after he won it for the first time in Athens in 2004.
Brazil's Daniel Dias, aged 24, was once again the outstanding swimmer of the Paralympic Games, winning six individual gold medals in London, all in world record times. It was an achievement which won him the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award for the second time.
There was a warm welcome from the audience in the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro for two outstanding Olympians who received special Laureus Awards.
Legendary swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with a career total of 22 medals, including 18 gold medals, eight of which he won in one Olympiad in Beijing, was presented with a new award — the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award.
And Laureus World Sports Academy member Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the Organising Committee of the highly successful London Olympic and Paralympic Games, received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Laureus World Team of the Year Award was presented to the European Ryder Cup Team after their thrilling golf victory against the United States at Medinah.
Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who became the first human to go through the sound barrier when he made the highest ever freefall from 39km (24 miles) over New Mexico in October, received the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during 2012, were announced at the awards ceremony at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, which was hosted by Hollywood stars Morgan Freeman and Eva Longoria.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 140 community sports projects in 34 countries around the world, including three in Rio de Janeiro. Since its inception, Laureus has raised ¤60 million for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
The awards were announced in seven categories. The winners were:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Usain Bolt
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Jessica Ennis
Laureus World Team of the Year: European Ryder Cup Team
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Andy Murray
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Felix Sanchez
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Daniel Dias
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Felix Baumgartner
There were two additional awards: The Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sebastian Coe, chairman of the Organising Committee of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the newly created Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award was presented to Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time.