AMERICAN SKATEBOARD SENSATION NYJAH HUSTON IS ‘FRONTRUNNER’ FOR LAUREUS AWARD, SAYS NEW LAUREUS AMBASSADOR JAMIE BESTWICK

  • ‘Nyjah is an absolute powerhouse in the world of skateboarding, he’s just phenomenal and at such a young age’ – says Jamie Bestwick
  • Alan Eustace, Stephanie Gilmore, Sage Kotsenburg, Danny MacAskill and Gabriel Medina with Huston on Action Sports Nominations list
  • Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony in Shanghai on April 15
  • Laureus editorial content is available for Media use provided full credit is given.....’Jamie Bestwick speaking to Laureus.com’

NEW YORK, February 25, 2015 – Newly named Laureus Ambassador and X Games record-breaker Jamie Bestwick is tipping American skateboard sensation Nyjah Huston to succeed him as winner of this year’s Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award.

BMX star Bestwick won the prestigious Laureus Award last year, but has not been nominated this time. In an interview with Laureus.com, he says: “To win it once was a dream come true, so I didn’t have any expectations. The shortlist has been picked for a very good reason. It’s a very, very strong group.

You look at guys like Nyjah Huston, an absolute powerhouse in the world of skateboarding. He's somebody that I feel is the frontrunner in this group. He's just phenomenal, and at such a young age, he's doing things that are really progressing the sport of skateboarding. I just think he's had some phenomenal years underneath his belt and last year was definitely a standout for him.”

A glittering collection of the world’s greatest sports stars have been nominated for the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards, following a ballot by the world’s media. The winners will be revealed at a globally televised Awards Ceremony in Shanghai on April 15.

Bestwick feels the six Nominees, from a variety of different sports, will make it a fascinating contest. He says: “You can't turn out guys like Danny MacAskill. He has this incredible talent and he has an incredible consideration for how he wants to protect mountain bike riding. And then you have [from surfing] Stephanie Gilmore. I think she's always right there. To back that up, we've got Sage Kotsenburg [snowboarding] the Olympic champion.”

He also believes Alan Eustace, the computer scientist who broke Felix Baumgartner’s freefall record, certainly deserves his place in the line-up. “It should fit in, because you know Alan and Felix took Action Sports to another level. The world watched with baited breath while they went to work and defied the laws of physics and produced a historic moment.

Brazil’s world champion surfer Gabriel Medina makes up the group of six, all hoping to follow in Bestwick’s footsteps. The winners will be chosen in a secret ballot by the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 50 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.

Bestwick, who was named an Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in New York last week, claimed his ninth straight X Games Vert gold medal in 2014. In his extensive interview with Laureus.com, he reveals that, although 43, he will be fighting for his tenth straight gold medal next summer in Austin, Texas.

I'm still going to be in there and I'm still going to be fighting for it. You've got a lot of young guys coming through and they are working hard. I want the future of BMX to be thriving. At some point I would love to pass the torch on and watch what they can do with it, because I've had a fantastic run.”

He also admits to a personal dream to see freestyle BMX make it to the Olympics. “I would love it. I think it's worthy of being there. There are a few tired sports hanging around the Olympics that could do with either being refreshed or just making way for what the youth of today are doing. If you saw the crowds at the BMX racing in London, they were phenomenal.

Bestwick, originally a Rolls Royce jet engineer from Nottingham, England, but now living in the United States, says winning the 2014 Laureus Action Sports Award was a ‘defining moment’ in his career. “After three years of being nominated for the Laureus Award, to win it was a dream come true. It's one thing going to the X Games and Dew Tour and the various contests around the world, and riding against the most fantastically talented athletes in BMX, but to be recognised by my sporting heroes from outside my own sport, that was a great moment for me. I was very proud.”

Now Bestwick is a Laureus Ambassador, working to support the goals of the Laureus Sport for Good Founbdation, which uses the power of sport to address social problems through a global programme of sports related community development initiatives. Laureus currently supports more than 150 projects in 34 countries which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people.

He says: “It is a very special day for me to become a Laureus Ambassador. Kids are looking for inspiration, they are looking for ideas to challenge themselves, to be empowered, to be the next Jamie Bestwick or to be the next Danny MacAskill. I've been very fortunate to be asked by Laureus to be an Ambassador. The next few years, I'm looking to definitely jump in and lend my hand in order to inspire the youth of today.”

PRINT and ONLINE – to access the transcript of the full Jamie Bestwick interview go to: http://www.laureus.com/content/jamie-bestwick-interview

Editors using this material are requested to carry reference to Jamie Bestwick’s comments about the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in their stories.

The 16th Laureus World Sports Awards will be held in the Shanghai Grand Theatre on the evening of Wednesday, April 15. To apply for media accreditation go to www.laureus.com/accreditation

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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, Laureus Sport for Good and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change. The first Patron of Laureus was Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, he 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 create hope where once there was only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Cafu, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, David Douillet, Rahul Dravid, Luis Figo, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick (Chairman), Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Tegla Loroupe, Dan Marino, Yao Ming, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Li Na, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Brian O’Driscoll, Alessandro Del Piero, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Carles Puyol, Raúl, Steve Redgrave, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Sachin Tendulkar, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt, Li Xiaopeng and Yang Yang. The Laureus Academy Members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for Laureus Sport for Good, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. Laureus Sport for Good addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to combat some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence and crime, discrimination, unemployment, lack of education and health threats including HIV/AIDS and obesity. 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 – 60 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 160 countries and territories. The Awards continue to support Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does with athletes and partners to transform the lives of individuals and promoting to a global audience the power of sport as a development tool to combat challenging social issues. Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen. Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is the inventor of the automobile – and has been passionately shaping its future since 1886. As pioneers in automotive engineering, it is both our inspiration and responsibility to continue the tradition of the brand with trailblazing technologies and high-quality products. Like no other trademark in the automotive world, Mercedes-Benz appeals to both the hearts and minds of its customers. We give our very best for customers who expect the very best. Since the founding fathers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, our corporate history has been one of innovation and pioneering achievements. Many technical innovations that are nowadays standard in automobiles first entered the market in a Mercedes-Benz. This is the basis for our claim to leadership in automotive engineering. The brand stands for Modern Luxury, and enjoys an outstanding reputation for quality, safety, comfort, design and comprehensive, sustainable mobility. IWC SchaffhausenWith a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces 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 their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions around the globe in their work with children and young people and maintains partnerships with organisations dedicated to climate and environmental protection.

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