The nominees for the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards have been revealed, following a ballot by the world’s media.
World No 2 Adam Scott is nominated for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after he became the first Australian winner in the 77-year history of the US Masters, while Gold Coast surfer Mick Fanning is short-listed for the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award after winning his third world title in Hawaii in December.
The 15th Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2013, is the premier honours event on the international sporting calendar. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a globally televised Awards Ceremony staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, March 26.
Among the giants of sport who have been nominated are three-time Laureus winners Usain Bolt and Serena Williams, brilliant young Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, short-listed for the fifth time, and Tiger Woods, who won in 2000, the inaugural year of Laureus, who is selected again after returning to the summit of world golf. Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, both two-time Laureus winners, are nominated in two categories.
One of the most intriguing questions in this year’s contest is whether charismatic Real Madrid and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo or Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, both nominated, can become the first team player to win the individual Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
Adam Scott made the breakthrough for his first Major Championship victory at the US Masters in April, beating Angel Cabrera in a sudden death play-off. The victory was seen by many as redemption for his failure to win the previous year's Open Championship, despite taking a four-shot lead into the final day. Scott, who has won a total of 23 golf tournaments around the world, reached No 2 ranking in the world after victory at The Barclays in August.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Gary Player, one of only five men to win golf’s Grand Slam of four Major Championships, said: “Adam is one of the best golfers playing the game today. I was thrilled to see him win his first Major Championship last year at The Masters. It was a fantastic victory for him to show the world he can breakthrough and win a Major, but I truly believe he will add many more Major Championships to his name. I look forward to his Champions Dinner this April and to his continued success on the golf course.”
Also nominated with Scott for the Laureus Breakthrough Award are English golfer Justin Rose, who won the US Open, Spain’s Marc Márquez, youngest ever MotoGP world champion, the Afghanistan Cricket Team, who reached their first ever World Cup finals, Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, the first Tour de France rookie to finish on the podium since 1996, and Raphael Holzdeppe, who won Germany’s first ever World Championship pole vault gold medal.
Australia’s Mick Fanning joined the surfing greats in 2013, winning his third world title and denying legendary Kelly Slater a 12th crown. Fanning, the 32-year-old from the Gold Coast, also won in 2007 and 2009. He performed heroics at the season-ending event in Hawaii to reach the semi-finals and earn enough points to clinch the world title. Slater won three events during the year to Fanning’s one, but the Australian’s consistency was remarkable, finishing in the top ten in all ten rounds.
Also nominated with Fanning for the Laureus Action Sports Award are former winners Bob Burnquist, who secured a record 25th X-Games skateboard gold medal, and snowboarder Shaun White, who won a sixth consecutive X Games SuperPipe gold medal, BMX star Jamie Bestwick, the only athlete in X Games history to win eight straight gold medals, American surfer John John Florence, who scored a perfect 10 for completing the Alley Oop trick, and Brazil’s Maya Gabeira, who nearly drowned attempting to surf a 70ft wave in Portugal.