Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and Serena Williams are among those nominated for the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards, the academy announced on Thursday.The awards recognise sporting achievements for the calendar year 2009. The winners will be named on March 10 at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi. The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognised as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar and the Awards Ceremony provides a high profile focus as stars of the sporting world come together to salute the finest sportsmen and sportswomen of the 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 greatest athletes of today. The 2010 Awards Ceremony, which will be broadcast to a worldwide TV audience, will be staged at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.
Two-time Laureus winner Serena Williams is nominated for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award after winning two Grand Slam titles in 2009. Also short-listed are swimmers Federica Pellegrini and Britta Steffen, athletes Shelly-Ann Fraser and Sanya Richards, and US ski racer Lindsey Vonn.
Several of sport’s biggest names – Tour de France cyclist and two-time Laureus winner Lance Armstrong, golfing legend Tom Watson and Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters – have been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award. Also nominated in this category are American Football quarter-back Brett Favre and athletes Jessica Ennis and Blanka Vlasic.
The Laureus World Team of the Year Award could be the most competitive battle with Los Angeles Lakers and New York Yankees pitched against FC Barcelona, the Germany Women’s Football Team, Brawn Formula One and the South Africa Rugby Team, who were winners in 2008.
The Nominees for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award include three Britons – Formula One World Champion Jenson Button, Tour de France cyclist Mark Cavendish and diver Tom Daley. Also nominated are Argentina’s winner of the US Open tennis star Juan Martin del Potro, South Korea’s talented young golfer Ji Yai Shin and German football team VFL Wolfsburg.
Wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley, who crawled the 96km Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea to raise awareness of men’s health issues, is nominated for the second time in four years for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award, along with fellow Australian Justin Eveson, Turkish archer Gizem Girismen, Japan’s Shingo Kunieda, German cyclist Michael Teuber and South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, who competes in both able-bodied and Paralympic events.
Surfing dominates the Laureus World Action Sports Award this year, with Australian world champions Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore nominated along with American Greg Long and French windsurfer Antoine Albeau. Also nominated are US skateboarder Chris Cole and British cyclist Danny MacAskill.
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses said: “This has been a great year for sport and 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