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January 9, 2013
The Nominees for the Laureus World Action Sports Award 2013 have been announced.
The Nominees in full are: Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, British BMX rider Jamie Bestwick, French Olympic mountain biker Julie Bresset, Australian surfers Stephanie Gilmore and Joel Parkinson and German windsurfer Philip Köster. The winner will be announced at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro on March 11.
Austria’s Felix Baumgartner became the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound when he jumped out of a balloon from a height of 128,100 ft (24 miles / 39 km) above New Mexico. He also broke the record for the highest ever freefall, beating the 102,800 ft achieved by Joe Kittinger in 1960. Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 833.9 mph (1,342 kmh) during his fall. It took him just under ten minutes to descend, only using a parachute for the last few thousand feet.
Nearly untouchable in the Halfpipe, Britain’s Jamie Bestwick has dominated BMX Vert competition for much of the last decade. At the X Games in Los Angeles, Bestwick won his sixth straight gold medal and ninth overall, pulling out previously unseen moves. He also won his eighth consecutive overall BMX Vert title on the Dew Tour - a 41-year-old still beating much younger competitors.
French mountain biking phenomenon Julie Bresset won the gold medal in the London Olympics, where she led from the starting gun and appeared unstoppable with her closest competitor 33 seconds adrift. During the year she won seven major races, including the French National Championships and mountain biking’s World Championships in September, a contest racers value every bit as much as the Olympics.
Australia’s amazing surfing queen Stephanie Gilmore became ASP World Tour champion for the fifth time in six years. At 24, the brightest star in women’s surfing kicked off the year with a victory at the prestigious Roxy Pro in Queensland, took second at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro a few weeks later and won the TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival in Taranaki, New Zealand just eight days after that. After a couple of respectable fifth place finishes, Gilmore went to Biarritz, France, and won the season’s second Roxy Pro.
After 12 years of trying, Australia’s Joel Parkinson, 31, finally beat reigning 11-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater with bold and consistent surfing to win his first ever world title. He clinched the title in the final round of the year, winning the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii. Over the course of the ten-month ASP World Tour, on four different continents, he racked up six second or third place finishes. In his career, Parkinson has been runner-up four times.
Germany’s Philip Köster won his second straight PWA Wave World Windsurfing Championship at the age of just 18. Climbing giant waves and producing colossal jumps, Köster achieved top spot after wins in Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Sylt in Germany, plus a second place in the Kia Cold Hawaii event. He was also PWA Wave Youth Champion.