After glittering year for both athletes, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American gymnast Simone Biles respectively won the Sportsman and the Sportswoman of the Year titles at the 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Monte Carlo, Monaco on Tuesday.
Bolt won the 100, 200 and 4×100 meter relay gold medals at the Rio Olympics, beating out fellow contenders such as Lebron James, Andy Murray and Cristiano Ronaldo. This was the fourth time that Bolt has won the award after 2009, 2010 and 2013, leveling Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer’s record.
Biles won four gold medals and a bronze at the Rio Olympics, enabling her to top five other candidates including American track star Allyson Felix and German tennis player Angelique Kerber in the contest for Sportswoman of the Year.
The Team of the Year award went to Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, who won their first World Series in108 years, ending one of the longest droughts in the league.
F1 Driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won the Breakthrough of the Year award, after he won the world title for the first time in 2016 before retiring from motor racing. The Comeback of the Year award was given to swimming legend Michael Phelps, who claimed five gold medals and one silver at the Rio Olympics.
In other awards, the Sportsperson of the Year with a disability award was presented to Italian wheelchair fencing athlete Beatrice Vio, the Action Sportsperson of the Year award went to Rachel Atherton of Britain in Mountain Biking, and the Spirit of Sport award was taken by Premier League defending champions Leicester City.
The newly-founded Best Sporting Moment of the Year, voted on by sports fans worldwide in an online poll, was given to the Barcelona Under-12 team, who consoled their defeated opponents from Japan in the Junior World Soccer Challenge.
Yesterday, the refugee Olympic team at Rio 2016, the first ever in Olympic history, was awarded the Laureus Sports for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration.
The refugee team, made up of ten athletes from South Sudan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, captured the hearts of people around the world when they walked into the Maracana Stadium at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony, showing their resilience in the face of tremendous hardship.
The 18th awards ceremony returned home this year to Monaco, where the inaugural edition was held. The first event saw soon-to-be patron of the Laureus Awards Nelson Mandela deliver a speech on the contribution of sports to mankind. “Sport has the power to change the world,” said the former South African president. Enditem