The Nominees include a couple of the locals, who just happened to feature on opposite sides in the World Cup final: Lionel Messi, who lifted the trophy in Qatar last year as captain of Argentina and his Paris St Germain teammate Kylian Mbappé, who led the attack for France, both are nominated in the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year category.
Competing for that same statuette will be Rafael Nadal, who picked up an unprecedented 14th French Open title in Paris last May which took him top of the all-time list of men’s Grand Slam champions with 22 titles. Iga Świątek also triumphed at Roland Garros in 2022 and followed it up with a win at the US Open to earn a nomination in the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year category.
The French connection continues with the France Men’s Rugby Team, who have been nominated in the Laureus Team of the Year category – alongside Messi’s Argentina – for their heroics in winning the Six Nations and completing the Grand Slam in 2022.
The 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards will be followed this year by the Rugby World Cup, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Paris in 2024. The Laureus World Sports Awards will mark the start of the city’s sporting focus, following the presence of the Awards in London and Rio ahead of their own Olympic years.
Sebastian Coe, Laureus World Sports Academy Member and former chairman of the Organising Committee for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “I saw in 2012 the incredible impact the Olympic Games has on its host city. It’s about far more than elite competition, the change can be societal and it lasts long after the medals are handed out. In London, that cycle began in earnest with the Laureus World Sports Awards, the greatest celebration of sport we have. With the Rugby World Cup and then the Olympics, Paris is about to become the centre of the sporting world. There’s no better way to begin than with the Laureus Awards. As a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, I’m looking forward to celebrating the best of sport in Paris on May 8.”
Marcel Desailly, Laureus Academy Member and a key player in France’s men’s football team during their wins at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, said: “The year of 2022 was an incredible 12 months for sport, witnessing many world-class performances by some of the greatest athletes of all time. From the Women's European Football Championships to the FIFA World Cup, the tennis Grand Slams to the World Athletics Championships, it has been a thrill to watch records being broken and new levels of greatness being reached. For the Academy to choose the winners from across the achievements we've seen is no small task. The 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards will be a fantastic celebration of a memorable year in a city close to my heart."