March 26, 2014 –
American swimmer Missy Franklin, the first woman to win six gold medals at a single world championships, has made even more sporting history by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award – at just 18.
Missy, who won three individual and three relay gold medals in Barcelona last year, takes the record away from tennis star Serena Williams, who was 21 when she received the Award in 2003.
The 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards were announced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and after receiving the Laureus Statuette from Daniel Bruhl and Mark Spitz, Missy Said: “This is such a dream come true. I have to thank Laureus for even considering me for this. It is so incredible, being in the presence of so many unbelievable athletes.
“Being here is more than an honour, and thank you Malaysia for hosting this. It is my first time here in Kuala Lumpur and I don’t think I’ve ever been so sincerely welcomed into a country before. I see smiles wherever I go and everyone is so generous.”
Born in Pasadena, California, but brought up in Colorado, Missy Franklin’s success in Barcelona followed her performance in the London Olympics in 2012, where she won four gold medals. She is now a student at the University of California in Berkeley and continues to refuse prize money and endorsements so that she can maintain her amateur status in college.
Missy says of her amazing 2013: “In 2012, one of my biggest dreams came true [at the London Olympics]. It was great to create that experience and then create new dreams and set new limits and new goals for myself. What I loved about 2013 was that there really was no pressure. It was a year for me to get out there and see what else I could do after London.
“I definitely enjoyed the World Championships and accomplished new goals there. It was an awesome experience getting back on the world stage after the Olympic Games. I definitely wanted to be better in everything. I was really happy with where my freestyles were. I had said after London that I really wanted to work on my freestyles. My backstrokes weren’t where they were in London. I was happy with my swims overall, but I definitely think there’s still so much there,” added Missy.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Dawn Fraser, who won the blue riband 100 metres freestlye gold medal in three straight Olympic Games, said: “I congratulate Missy on a fantastic achievement. Not just in 2013, for which she has won the Laureus Award, but for London as well the year before. I was 19 when I won my first Olympic gold medal, so I know just how much pressure is on you and how hard you have to work to get into that final and then go out there and deliver. I am sure we are going to get to know the name Missy Franklin very well over the next few years.”
The Awards were announced in seven categories. The winners are:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Sebastian Vettel
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Missy Franklin
Laureus World Team of the Year: Bayern Munich
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Marc Márquez
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Marie Bochet
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jamie Bestwick