Passport to Adventure - Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year

2024 Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Nominees
The Nominees for the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award travelled the world to thrill us in ever more exciting ways. 
The adventurers. The risk-takers. The daredevils. The Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Nominees are a breed apart, even among the world’s elite athletes who compete as hard for a Laureus statuette as they do for a gold medal. 

For these six athletes, the journey is as important as the destination – and in 2023, their adventures took them to Japan, the United States, Chile, Brazil, Scotland and, for one of them, pretty much all points in between. Their fuel was adrenaline – and these six might just have an endless supply.
First stop, Glasgow, Scotland, where the 2022 winner of this award reclaimed her BMX world title at the UCI Cycling World Championships. After losing her rainbow jersey at the 2022 event in Nantes, France, Bethany Shriever dominated the women’s elite final from the gate to the finish line. The reigning Olympic champion now heads to Paris at the very top of her game – but will she start her quest to retain gold as a two-time Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year?

Or will our winner be one of two competitors who reached the pinnacle of their sport off the coast of San Clemente, California? That was the location of the World Surf League Finals, the culmination of an eight-month global tour that took in stops including Hawaii, South Africa and Australia. By its end, Filipe Toledo had retained his world title after a thrilling duel with surprise package Ethan Ewing of Australia. The Brazilian’s trademark speed was on display in a peerless performance, and he was carried ashore on the shoulders of his family and friends.  
Caroline Marks and Filipe Toledo
The women’s title went to the then 21-year-old, Caroline Marks. The American took time away from the sport in 2022, and before returning wrote down three goals: win the world title; qualify for the Olympics; and win gold. After defeating five-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist Carissa Moore in the final, Marks can tick off two of her three aims and look ahead to a potential rematch with Moore in Tahiti, the venue for the 2024 Olympic event.

Next stop, Brazil, by way of Japan and Chile. Rayssa Leal was shortlisted for this Award in 2023 and is a Nominee once more after winning three major titles in street skateboarding 2023. At the Summer X Games in Chiba, Japan, the then 15-year-old won gold with a stunning preliminary run, which stood when the final day was washed out by torrential rain. At Chile’s National Stadium in Santiago, she became Pan American champion, and in her native Brazil, she successfully defended the Street League Skateboarding world title she had won in 2022. Only the Street World title eluded her – Leal won silver in that one, the undisputed Queen of the Street.   
2024 Laureus World Sports Awards - All Nominees
In another skateboarding discipline, history was made by 13-year-old Arisa Trew of Australia – and in poetic fashion. When Trew became the first woman skater to land a 720 (two full rotations) in vert skateboarding, she did so at the Tony Hawk Vert Alert in Utah. The event’s host, Hawk, a Member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, was the first skateboarder to land the trick, back in 1985. Trew herself had never achieved the feat, until she launched into the skies above Salt Lake. She enjoyed it so much, she repeated the 720 a month later on her way to gold at the X Games in California. 

Our group of globetrotting adventurers is completed by Kirsten Neuschȁfer, who became the first woman to win a solo round-the-world race via the three Great Capes: the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and Cape Horn (South America). The Golden Globe Race is one-of-a-kind, restricting its participants to technology from no later than 1968. As if all that wasn’t challenging enough, Neuschȁfer diverted to rescue a fellow competitor, Tapio Lehtinen, whose boat had sunk, leaving him adrift on a life raft, 450 miles south-east of South Africa. On April 27, after more than 235 days at sea, Neuschȁfer crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne in France to complete an unforgettable adventure. 

Our action heroes travelled to all four corners of the globe in 2023. On land, sea and air they found new ways to thrill us, and new stories to tell. Together they are an inspirational and formidable group – but which of them will add the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award to the accolades they amassed during the past year?

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