LONDON, February 27, 2007 - A glittering collection of the world’s greatest sports stars has been nominated for the 2007 Laureus World Sports Awards. A record number of leading sports journalists from around the world have voted this year to select the nominees. When the ballot closed on January 31, a total of 1,068 members of the Laureus World Sports Awards Media Selection Panel from 128 countries had cast their votes.
World tennis No.1 Roger Federer, seven-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher and the top golfer in the world, Tiger Woods - all two-time winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award - have been nominated again, and there will be hot rivalry to see if one of them can be the first to make it three. In a very competitive category, up against them are Fernando Alonso, the current Formula One World Champion, Asafa Powell, the fastest man on Earth, and Fabio Cannavaro, captain of the Italian FIFA World Cup winning team. For Schumacher, who retired at the end of the 2006 Formula One season, it is a record seventh Laureus nomination.
French tennis star Amélie Mauresmo has been nominated for both Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year and Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Awards after finally breaking her hoodoo and winning two Grand Slam titles. In the Sportswoman category, Mauresmo is competing with two other Grand Slam winners Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova.
Dutch wheelchair tennis champion Esther Vergeer, winner of the Laureus Disability Award in 2002, has been nominated for the fourth time after an unbeaten 2006. While Spain’s kiteboarder Gisela Pulido, who is short-listed for the Laureus Action Sports Award, becomes the youngest ever nominee at 12.
The winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards, as voted for by the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be announced during a televised Awards Ceremony staged at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, on the evening of Monday, April 2.
At the Nominations unveiling in Barcelona, it was also announced that French football legend and World Cup winner Marcel Desailly and South African explorer Mike Horn, winner of the Laureus Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award in 2001, had been elected to the Laureus World Sports Academy.
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. But when you speak of winners, they don’t come bigger or better than Marcel and Mike. In their different worlds, they have been supreme and I know they are going to be tireless workers for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.”
photo Getty Images
photo Anton Vos
By Ian Chadband
By Alex Sharp