The run-up to the Laureus World Sports Awards 2013 in Brazil is well and truly underway as we look toward the sportswomen category and the stars of sport who just might be in the running for the prestigious Sportswomen of the Year statuette.
There can be no argument that this summer’s unforgettable Olympic Games in London will give us some standout contenders.
Jessica Ennis truly carried the hopes of the British nation as the Games approached. And much to British sports lovers’ delight, she delivered.
‘Jess’ dominated the heptathlon and won the gold medal, beating Lilli Schwarzkopf by 306 pts. Her time in the 100 metres hurdles was a new British record and also the fastest in a heptathlon. She was subsequently voted European Women’s Athlete of the Year.
But there was also a particularly special moment for the equality between men and women’s sport at this year’s Games. The 2012 Olympics was the first to host women’s boxing category.
It was Ireland’s Katie Taylor who was to take gold at this first hosting of the event. She added the Olympic lightweight title to her European and world titles. It was Ireland’s only gold medal. A national hero in Ireland, she carried the flag for the Irish team at the Opening Ceremony.
But as incredible as the Olympics were for sport this year, fans were treated by a host of other outstanding performances that could very easily end up being rewarded with a Laureus Statuette.
Serena Williams truly did make it a year to remember. After recovering from a blood clot on her lung in 2011, the incredible American tennis star won both Olympic singles and doubles gold medals, with sister Venus. It made her the only player in history to have won the Career Golden Grand Slam - all four Grand Slam tournaments and an Olympic gold medal - in singles AND doubles. She also won Wimbledon for a fifth time and the US Open for a fourth time, giving her a career total of 15 Grand Slam singles titles.
But when it came to ladies’ golf, it was another American Stacy Lewis who almost single-handedly defied the Far East takeover of the Ladies PGA Tour, winning three tournaments – the Mobile Bay Classic, Shoprite Classic and Navistar Classic – and reaching second in the money list just behind Korea’s Inbee Park, who won just one tournament.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Nadia Comaneci, who achieved the perfect ten score in gymnastics in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, said: ‘It is always fascinating in an Olympic year to try to pick out which athletes have achieved the most. The London Olympics certainly produced some outstanding performances across the board - on the track, in the pool, in the sports hall and on the tennis court. You have to be amazed at the ability of Serena Williams to keep coming back after injuries to produce one of her best years, both inside and outside the Olympics, but there were some great gold medal winning displays in all sports. It is going to be difficult for the media to choose just six of these great athletes.”
Of course, these are just some of the names who might be in line for nomination for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award. So, who would get your vote?
Let us know in the comments below and be sure to join the debate on twitter @LaureusSport.