• Renaud Lavillenie in contention after breaking Sergey Bubka’s 21-year record
  • Chinese Grand Slam star Zhang Jike wins table tennis World Cup
  • Rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson ends career after Euro triumph with Toulon

  • World’s media to vote for SIX Nominees for Laureus Sportsman Award Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Shanghai from April 13-15

LONDON, January 21, 2015 – Can Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo become the first ever footballer to win the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award?

Ronaldo, unveiled as winner of the Ballon d’Or World Footballer of the Year Award last week, will now be hoping to be one of the six Nominees to be chosen by the world’s media for the prestigious Laureus Award, which has been won in the past by legends like Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Usain Bolt.

In addition to receiving the Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo was also named UEFA Player of Year at the end of last season as he scored a record 17 goals for Real Madrid when they won the Champions League/European Cup for the tenth time. In December, he scored his 23rd hat-trick and his 200th goal in Spain’s La Liga.

The names of the Nominees will be announced on February 11 and Ronaldo will be competing with stars from every other sport for a place on the shortlist. Among those also hoping to be on the list will be: Lewis Hamilton and Marc Márquez, the hottest racers in motor sport; Rory McIlroy, the world’s No.1 golfer; France’s brilliant pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie; China’s table tennis idol Zhang Jike; and Jonny Wilkinson after his final season in rugby.

The eventual winner will be chosen in a secret ballot by the 47 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy and revealed at the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony in Shanghai on April 15. Among the contenders:

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won his second Formula One World Championship in 2014, with 11 Grand Prix victories, in the dominant Mercedes AMG Petronas car. Behind for much of the season to team-mate Nico Rosberg, he won six of the final seven Grand Prix to clinch a memorable world title. Also on the track, Spain’s Marc Márquez won his second straight World MotoGP title, at the age of 21. He opened the year with ten straight Grand Prix wins, then added three more to reach a season total of 13, beating the previous record of 12 by Laureus Academy Member Mick Doohan.

Rory McIlroy, the No.1 golfer in the world, won two Major Championships in 2014 – the British Open and the USPGA – and also won the flagship BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour and the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone event. He is the first European to win three different Majors, which he has achieved by the age of 25. He led the prize money list on both European and US Tours in 2014.

The outstanding athletics performance of the year came from France’s Renaud Lavillenie who jumped 6.16 metres in Donetsk to break Sergey Bubka’s pole vault record of 6.15m, which had stood for almost 21 years. He won 21 out of 22 competitions during the year, including winning the gold medal in the European Championships and six Diamond League races and was named IAAF Men’s Athlete of the Year. Germany’s Robert Harting once again dominated the discus, winning the gold medal in the European Championships.

Although beaten by Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi will also be a strong contender after winning the Golden Ball as the best player in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, scoring four times as he led Argentina to the final.

Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura won his fifth straight All-Around world title in 2014, the only person ever to have achieved this - a run of dominance unprecedented in the sport. No other gymnast, male or female, has won more than three.

Zhang Jike won the World Cup in Dusseldorf and was a member of the Chinese table tennis team which won the World Championship in Tokyo. He is also the reigning world and Olympic champion in singles and only the fourth man to win a career Grand Slam, achieving this in the fastest time of 445 days.

In his final season, Jonny Wilkinson played a key role in establishing Toulon as the most successful rugby club in the Northern Hemisphere. He scored 13 points as Toulon beat Saracens 23-6 in the final to win the Heineken European Cup for the second straight year. A week later he ended his glittering career in style, kicking 15 points as Toulon won the French Top 14 title with an 18-10 victory against Castres.

In winter sport, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher became the first man in over 30 years to win the Alpine Overall World Cup three years in row, also winning a Winter Olympic silver medal in the Slalom in Sochi, while Norway’s Ole Einar Bjørndalen won the 10km sprint and mixed relay gold medals in Sochi to become the most decorated Winter Olympian ever, with 13 medals.

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was named ICC Cricketer of the Year for the second time and was also named the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. He was a key factor in Australia’s 5-0 Ashes win over England and 2-1 win in South Africa, taking a total of 59 Test wickets at an average of 15.23.

In the pool, 22-year-old South African Chad le Clos became the first ever to complete a clean sweep of all butterfly titles at the World Short Course Championships, winning gold medals in the 50, 100 and 200 metres. He also took a fourth gold medal in the 200m freestyle. China’s Ning Ze Tao, at 21, won four gold medals in the Asian Games, in 50m, 100m 4 x 100m freestyle relay and 4 x 100m medley relay.

Floyd Mayweather remained No.1 boxer in the world, beating Marcos Maidana twice in 2014 to take his career record to 47-0. Another two victories will take him to an identical 49-0 record with legendary heavyweight Rocky Marciano. Manny Pacquiao, now 36, completed a remarkable comeback after his shattering six-round knock-out defeat by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. He first beat Timothy Bradley in April to win the WBO Welterweight title, then in November defended it against Chris Algieri in Macao.

With final averages of 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game, Oklahoma Thunder star Kevin Durant led the NBA in scoring for a fourth time and was named the league's Most Valuable Player. Durant scored 25 points or more in 41 consecutive games, passing Michael Jordan’s total of 40. In baseball, Mike Trout was unanimously voted American League Most Valuable Player, after a sparkling year with the Los Angeles Angels with personal bests in runs batted in (111) and home runs (36).

In other sports: Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won his first Tour de France in 2014 by more than seven minutes, becoming the sixth man to win all three Grand Tours - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana; Adolfo Cambiaso, ranked No.1 in the world, captained star Argentine team La Dolfina to a third polo Triple Crown - Argentine Open, Tortuga Open and Hurlingham Open – for the second straight year, the first time this feat has been achieved for nearly 40 years; and Spain’s Javier Gomez secured his fourth ITU World Triathlon Championship to equal Simon Lessing’s record, then followed up with the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Quebec one week later.

The Nominees will be announced on February 11 and the Winners will be unveiled at the Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony at the Grand Theatre Shanghai on April 15.

To see the full release and read more on the most prestigious sports awards in the world, please CLICK HERE.


About Us

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.