Awarded to the sportsperson or team whose performance as a newcomer suggests the greatest potential for an outstanding career, or to an established sportsman or sportswoman who produces a significant step-up in class to a considerably higher level of sporting achievement.
Nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) Basketball
At 22, the Milwaukee Bucks playmaker became the first man in NBA history to finish in the top 20 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He was named ‘Most Improved Player’ at the 2017 NBA Awards, becoming the first Bucks player to achieve this.
Caeleb Dressel (USA) Swimming
At just 20, he became the first swimmer to win three World Championship gold medals in a day. He finished the meet in Budapest with seven gold medals, equalling Michael Phelps record from 2007. He won individual golds in the 50 and 100 metres freestyle and 100 metres butterfly, plus four golds in relays, two in world record times.
Sergio Garcia (Spain) Golf
Finally won a Major Championship, The Masters, at the age of 37. Over a career of 18 years, Garcia had won 31 tournaments, but in Majors had finished second four times and in the top ten on 22 occasions. However, in April, he beat Justin Rose in a play-off at Augusta to achieve his goal.
Anthony Joshua (UK) Boxing
Beat long-time champion Wladimir Klitschko in April to unify the WBA (Super), IBO and IBF world heavyweight titles. He followed this up with his first successful defence against Carlos Takam in October. The former 2012 Olympic gold medal winner has won all his 20 professional fights inside the distance, by KO (5) or TKO (15).
Kylian Mbappé (France) Football
Aged 18, scored 26 goals in 2016/17 in Champions League and French Ligue 1 for Monaco, which led to him joining Paris Saint-Germain on loan with an option to buy, which could make him one of the most expensive players in history. Scored for PSG on his European debut against Celtic, making him the first teenager to score for two different clubs in the Champions League.
Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) Tennis
Ranked 47 in the world at the time, she became the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933. At 20, she was the youngest Grand Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 US Open. She also won the Korea Open later in the year.