BOLT v HAMILTON, SERENA v LEDECKY ALL BLACKS v BARCELONA: EXCITING HEAD-TO-HEAD BATTLES ADD SPICE TO LAUREUS AWARDS

  • Laureus World Sports Awards are the most prestigious honours in sport
  • ‘This is a year when you can look at the potential Nominees and see so many possible winners’  - says Laureus Chairman Edwin Moses
  • World’s media voting for SIX Nominees in various categories
  • Who do you think deserves to be nominated for a Laureus Award? Join the debate and tweet us @LaureusSport using #LaureusWorthy

LONDON, December 9, 2015 – An exciting year of sport has thrown up some potentially classic head-to-head battles to win Laureus World Sports Awards.

Usain Bolt v Lewis Hamilton; Serena Williams v Katie Ledecky and All Blacks v FC Barcelona are among the contests that we could possibly see when the Laureus World Sports Academy cast their votes for the most prestigious honours in sport.

First, though, the leading sportsmen, sportswomen and teams of 2015 have to receive enough votes from the world’s media to reach the shortlist. The Laureus Nominations Panel, consisting of leading sportswriters, editors and broadcasters from more than 100 countries, is voting now to select six Nominees in a variety of categories.

The Laureus World Sportsman of the Year category promises to be one of the closest ever. The world’s greatest sprinter Usain Bolt will be looking for his fourth Laureus Award, while world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic will be hoping for his third. Among a list of strong contenders are three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, football greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, basketball giants LeBron James and Pau Gasol, athletes Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford, cyclists Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, world golf No.1 Jordan Spieth and unbeaten boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

American tennis star Serena Williams is also a three-time Laureus winner and will be hoping for another Nomination for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award. Among others, she could be up against 18-year-old US swim sensation Katie Ledecky, athletes Genzebe Dibaba, Allyson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Dafne Schippers, football World Cup stars Carli Lloyd and Marta and skiers Marit Bjorgen and Anna Fenninger.

Rugby World Cup winners the All Blacks, Champions League winners FC Barcelona and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team will be among the favourites for Nomination for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award. But they face a strong American challenge from the US Women’s World Cup Team, New England Patriots, Kansas City Royals and Golden State Warriors, plus the Spanish Men’s Basketball Team which won the European Championship.

The most open competition could be for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award, where a wide range of sports and countries could have Nominees. The Chile Men’s Football Team won their first ever Copa America, Belgium’s Max Verstappen became the youngest Formula One driver at 17, golf’s Jason Day and Brooke Henderson, British swimmer Adam Peaty and Australian jockey Michelle Payne all made personal breakthroughs, while Bahrain’s Alzain Tareq, at ten, became the youngest ever swimmer in the world championships.

Some of the biggest names in sport made noteworthy returns in 2015 and could be potential Nominees for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award, including Rugby World Cup winner Dan Carter, ski star Lindsey Vonn, swimmer Michael Phelps, and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill. Australian surfer Mick Fanning returned to action just six days after fighting off a shark attack in South Africa.

Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman and Olympic legend Edwin Moses said: “We have a group of sportsmen and women here who are simply la crème de la crème. Whoever is nominated, it’s going to be one of the closest contests ever in so many of the categories. I have never known a year when you can look at the potential Nominees and see so many possible winners. This year the vote of the Laureus Media Nominations Panel is so important. There is quality everywhere and we need their vast knowledge and experience to produce the best shortlist.”

The names of the Nominees for these five categories, plus those for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, which are chosen by specialist panels, will be announced in the New Year.

The eventual winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards will then be chosen from the lists of Nominees, in a secret ballot, by the 53 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy - the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today - and announced at the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony.

Among the sporting greats who have previously been named as winners of Laureus Awards since 2000 have been Usain Bolt, Sebastian Coe, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Yao Ming, Rafael Nadal, Pelé, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Kelly Slater, Shaun White, Serena Williams and Zinedine Zidane.

Who do you think deserves to be nominated for a Laureus Award? Join the debate and tweet us @LaureusSport using #LaureusWorthy.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 150 sports-based community projects in 35 countries around the world that have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people.

Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, backed up by a group of more than 150 Laureus Ambassadors, volunteer their time to support the work of 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.

These include juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, landmines awareness, education and health problems such as obesity. Since its inception Laureus has raised €85 million to support projects around the world.

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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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