Laureus World Sports Awards 2013
Olympic Teenage Stars Set The Pace For Laureus World Breakthrough Award
· Golden newcomers Gabby Douglas, Kirani James, Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte and Ye Shiwen among hopefuls for 2013 Laureus Award
· Britain’s Andy Murray in contention after winning Olympic gold and silver medals plus his first ever Grand Slam success
· Brazilians Sarah Menezes and Nabarette Zanetti hoping for Nomination after gold medal success in London
· Laureus Global Media Selection Panel to vote for SIX Nominees
· For more details on possible contenders go to http://www.laureus.com/a-list2013
· Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Rio de Janeiro
LONDON, November 15, 2012 – A group of brilliant young teenagers from the London Olympic Games are among the leading contenders for Nomination for the 2013 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
Gymnast Gabby Douglas, 400 metres runner Kirani James and swimmers Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte and Ye Shiwen all won gold medals in London and showed potential for amazing futures.
Also in the mix for Nomination could be Britain’s Andy Murray, aged 25, who won the Olympic singles tennis gold medal and mixed doubles silver and also his first ever Grand Slam at the US Open. And New Zealand’s phenomenal Lydia Ko, the youngest ever winner of a professional golf event at the age of 14 years 280 days.
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 will be unveiled during a globally televised Awards Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 100 community sports projects around the world that have helped to improve the lives of over one-and-a-half million young people.
Andy Murray made his own personal breakthrough in 2012, winning the US Open, his first ever Grand Slam event, and also a gold and silver medal at the London Olympic Games. His US Open victory, beating Novak Djokovic in a five-set final, made him the first British player since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Grand Slam tennis event. In the Olympic men’s final he had a straight sets win over Roger Federer and also won a silver medal with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles.
American Gabby Douglas, 16, became the first woman to win individual and team all-around gold medals – competing on four pieces of equipment – at the same Olympics. Before the Olympics she was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Time and after she won her gold medals a giant mural depicting her achievement was painted in her home town of Virginia Beach.
At 19, Kirani James won the Olympic 400 metres gold medal in a time of 43.94 secs to earn the Caribbean island of Grenada its first ever Olympic medal. Thousands lined the streets when he returned to Grenada and President Tillman Thomas said a commemorative stamp would be created in his honour, a new stadium named after him and he would be appointed a tourism ambassador.
Katie Ledecky, aged 15, won the Olympic 800 metres freestyle gold medal in her first major championships, beatingfavourite Lotte Friis and defending champion Rebecca Adlington. She won by four seconds in 8 mins 14.63 secs – the second fastest in history. Ledecky was the youngest Olympian on the 529-strong American team and is now second youngest swimming gold medalist in US history.
At just 15, Ruta Meilutyte won the 100 metres Olympic breaststroke gold medal, beating celebrated American swimmer Rebecca Soni. It made her the first Lithuanian swimmer since independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 to win an Olympic swimming medal. She is also the youngest Lithuanian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. She led from start to finish, beating Soni by 0.08 secs.
Ye Shiwen, aged 16, was one of the sensations of the Olympic Games, winning both 200 metres and 400 metres individual medley gold medals. In the third heat of the 400 metres, she swam 4 mins 31.73 secs, an improvement of two seconds over her previous best time at the 2010 Asian Games, then in the final she broke the world record, held by Stephanie Rice since the 2008 Olympics, with a time of 4:28.43, an improvement of a further three seconds.
Two Brazilian athletes made significant breakthroughs at the London Olympics. Sarah Menezes, 22, became the first Brazilian woman to win an individual judo gold at an Olympic Games with victory in the under-48kg final. The second-seeded Menezes dethroned reigning Olympic champion Alina Dumitru of Romania, producing the winning throw in the final minute. And Arthur Zanetti’s flawless routine in the men’s rings to win Brazil’s first ever gymnastic Olympic gold medal was celebrated in Brazil as if he had scored a winning goal in the World Cup. Going last, he beat favourite Chen Yibing, captain of the Chinese men’s team into the silver medal position.
There were many other noteworthy Olympic Games performances. France’s Yannick Agnel, aged 20, in his first ever Olympic Games, won three medals – two gold and a silver. He produced one of the outstanding swims of the London Games to win the 200 metres freestyle gold, 1.79 secs ahead at the finish. He also won gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and silver in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay.
British rower Katherine Grainger at last won a double sculls gold medal in London at the fourth attempt, after taking silver medals at the three previous Olympiads – Sydney, Athens and Beijing. She finally won the gold medal she had dreamed about, at the age of 36, with partner Anna Watkins. It left Grainger and Watkins unbeaten in 23 races. Another Briton, Laura Trott, aged 20, one of the youngest members of the highly successful British cycling team, won two gold medals, in theomnium and team pursuit. She is now reigning double European, world and Olympic champion in both events.
And no one can forget the efforts of Niger’s Hamadou Djibo Issaka, called ‘Issaka the Otter’ by the enthusiastic spectators at the rowing course in London who cheered him on, despite him finishing his two Olympic single sculls races more than a minute behind his competitors. Because of his positive and determined approach, he became one of the unsung heroes of the Olympic Games. A few months before the start of the Games, Issaka, aged 35, was a gardener and swimming pool attendant in his country’s capital Niamey, then he took up rowing and trained in an old fishing boat. He now plans to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Golf provided two of the outstanding individual performances away from the Olympic Games in 2012. New Zealand’s Lydia Kobecame the youngest ever winner of a professional golf event in January when she won the New South Wales Open at the age of 14 years 280 days, breaking the record of Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years 8 months when he won his first tournament. In August, she became the youngest winner of an LPGA Tour event at the CN Canadian Women’s Open at 15 years 4 months.
China’s Feng Shanshan won the LPGA Championship in June, at the age of 22, to become the first golfer from the mainland of China to win a Major Championship. She was also the first woman player from the Chinese mainland on the LPGA Tour, which she joined in 2008. Feng was born in Guangzhou and started playing golf at the age of ten.
The Laureus World Sports Awards recognise sporting achievement during 2012. The names of the six Nominees for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award, as voted by the Laureus Media Selection Panel, comprising leading sports editors, sports writers, broadcasters and online journalists from around the world, will be announced in Rio de Janeiro on December 13. The eventual winner will then be chosen from this shortlist by the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member and swimming legend Mark Spitz, who famously won seven gold medals in one Olympiad in Munich in 1972, said: “The London Olympic Games really came alive in the pool with so many great performances and so many great new faces. I don’t recall so many young swimmers making such an impact before. Katie Ledecky, Ruta Meilutyte and Ye Shiwen were the best of the bunch, but I think they will have a fight on their hands in what looks an extremely competitive category. It will be fascinating to see which six names the world’s media vote for as Nominees.”
Among the winners who have received Awards at previous Awards Ceremonies have been Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Rafael Nadal, Pele, Oscar Pistorius, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Kelly Slater, Serena Williams and Zinedine Zidane. Guests attending the Awards Ceremony have included His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, David and Victoria Beckham, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey,
Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, whose mission is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/Aids, discrimination, social exclusion, landmines awareness, education and health problems such as obesity. Since its inception Laureus has raised over €55 million to support projects around the world.
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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 Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards – which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, 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, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Steve Redgrave, 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 over €55 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people. The mission of the Laureus Foundation is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, landmines awareness and health problems like obesity. The Academy is supported in its work by the members of the Laureus Ambassadors programme, a select group of current and retired sportsmen and sportswomen who have achieved sporting greatness, plus non-sporting personalities who have made significant contributions to the sporting community during their careers.
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 120 countries and territories.
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 from over 120 countries votes to create a shortlist of six Nominations in various categories, including 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. Then the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners from the shortlist. The Laureus Academy Members also vote for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disabilityand the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, the Nominations for which are made by specialist panels.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports over 100 community sports projects around the world. The 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards were held in London on February 6.
Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen.
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, design and sustainable mobility. Mercedes-Benz enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in the field of safety. Many pioneering technical innovations that are standard automotive features today were first seen in a Mercedes-Benz car. The Mercedes-Benz engineers will in the future consistently reinvent the automobile – with the same enthusiasm and innovation as Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz in 1886. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz has been actively supporting professional and amateur sport for decades and has become established as a dependable partner in the fields of motor sport, football, golf, horse riding and tennis. Mercedes-Benz is a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since the beginning of the Foundation’s 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.
With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing watches of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of Haute Horlogerie at its finest, combining supremeprecision with exclusive design.