• Gabriel Medina, at 20, wins Brazil’s first ever surfing world title
  • Anderson, Kotsenburg, Podladtchikov, Wild lead Winter Olympic challenge

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

LONDON, January 22, 2015 – A truly great women’s surfer and a young man destined for a big future are among the favourites for Nomination for the 2015 Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award.

Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore won her sixth World Surfing Championship in 2014, putting her just one behind the legendary Layne Beachley. At just 26, Stephanie must now have a good chance to overtake Layne’s record of seven titles.

Meanwhile in 2014 Gabriel Medina was making history in men’s surfing, winning Brazil's first ever world title. Medina was the dominant surfer throughout the year, winning the first event on the Gold Coast and also in Fiji and Tahiti. He is the first 20-year-old to win the world title since Kelly Slater won the first of his 11 successes in 1992.

The names of the Nominees for the Laureus World Sports Award will be announced on February 11 and Gilmore and Medina will be competing with many of the greats from a variety of Action Sports for a place on the shortlist.

Among those also hoping to be nominated will be four stars from the Winter Olympics. American-born Vic Wild became Russia’s most unlikely new hero, becoming the first athlete to win two snowboard gold medals in the same Olympic Games as he took the Parallel Slalom and Giant Slalom. Wild chose to compete for Russia after marrying snowboarder Alena Zavarzina.

Americans Jamie Anderson and Sage Kotsenburg won the inaugural women’s and men’s Olympic Slopestlye gold medals in Sochi. Anderson had previously won four X-Games gold medals in Slopestyle in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013, while Kotsenburg, 20, performed a trick never tried before which he called the ‘Holy Crail’, involving three-and-a-half rotations while flipping twice, reaching behind his back and pulling on his snowboard, while his other hand grabbed the nose of the board.

Russian-born Iouri Podladtchikov, who competes for Switzerland, won the Halfpipe Olympic gold medal, beating the great Shaun White, who was trying for his third consecutive gold.

The X-Games also produced possible Nominees. American Nyjah Huston, at 19, won the final event in Austin with a flourish, taking the men’s skateboard Street gold medal with 95.00 points, the highest score ever in an X Games Street final. It was his sixth career gold, making him the most successful X-Games Street skater ever.

After winning the Laureus World Action Sports Award in 2013, the unstoppable Jamie Bestwick, at 43, won a record ninth consecutive BMX Vert X-Games gold medal, while Poland’s Taddy Błażusiak showed his dominance in Enduro X, winning his fourth gold since it became an X-Games event in 2011.

Garrett Reynolds was the only winner in the history of BMX Street at the X Games until last year when he lost out unexpectedly to Chad Kerley. However he came roaring back in Austin in June with an array of brilliant tricks to return to winning ways and secure his sixth gold medal in seven years.

Britain’s Steph Bridge won the World Kite Racing Championship in Turkey, at the age of 42, for her fifth world title. As a result she was a nominee for the ISAF Sailor of the Year award.

American computer scientist Alan Eustace jumped from 135,889 feet (41.4km) in October to break Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 world record for the highest free fall jump. Following a balloon-powered ascent, Eustace’s jump to Earth lasted 15 minutes with speeds exceeding 821.45 mph (1,322 kmh).

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.

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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.