The winners of the 22nd Laureus Awards are to be announced in Seville on May 6.
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, captures the essence of Spanish culture, art and passion. Its striking beauty and fascinating history make it a unique city and a World Heritage Site.
The Awards Show will be a ‘virtual’ ceremony, honouring the most memorable sporting performances of 2020 and recognising the wider impact on society made by athletes during the year.
In line with Laureus’ focus on Sport for Good, there will be additional Awards which tell the inspirational stories of those who have worked tirelessly to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and highlight the advocacy of sportsmen and sportswomen who have used their positions of influence to fight for social justice and humanitarian causes.
Since its inception Laureus has helped to improve the lives of more than six million children and young adults, and now supports more than 250 sports-based community programmes around the world, fulfilling the visionary words of its First Patron Nelson Mandela - ‘Sport has the power to change the world’.
The Laureus Family spreads across every continent and is an inspirational purpose focused network of Laureus World Sports Academy Members, ambassadors, sportsmen and women, teams, sports governing bodies, federations and followers from the public, all committed to support Sport for Good and spread the movement’s influence to a wider global audience.
Laureus Academy Members welcomed the news. US track giant Michael Johnson said: “Seville has so many memories for me. I ran one of my most memorable races there in 1999 when I set a world record for the 400 metres which stood for 17 years, so it’s a special place. I remember saying at the time that it was the perfect setting. I wanted the gold but I also knew that I would not have many more occasions to break the world record. In Seville I was really at peace with myself. I’m delighted that I can now reconnect with Seville again, this time through the Laureus Awards.”
Olympic gymnastic legend Nadia Comaneci added: “As a Laureus Academy Member for more than 20 years, I would like to say how pleased I am that we are able to link up with Seville to create what I know will be a wonderful Awards Show. Spain is one of my favourite countries and I know there is a big passion for Laureus there among sports fans who really appreciate all the work we do to help children through our Sport for Good work around the world. Seville is a very special city and I am very excited that we are teaming up with them.”
And footballer Luis Figo, who played for both leading Spanish teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, said: “As a Laureus Academy Member who lives in Spain, I am really happy that the 2021 Awards will be hosted in the country again. The last was in 2007, which is a long time ago. A big thank you to everyone in Seville who is making this possible at a difficult time.”
Juan Espadas, the Mayor of Seville, said: “It is a great pleasure for us to join with Laureus for the 2021 World Sports Awards, especially at such a moment as this for the City of Seville, which is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano. The expedition left Seville in 1519 and returned three years later. From that moment all the oceans and continents of the planet were connected.
“Now, with our desire to create a new purpose for our future, a new awareness of the challenges which we face in the modern world, we can use the same spirit of the explorers to change the world for the better. Like Laureus, the City of Seville supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and once again we can be an engine of change for the world.
“We recognise humanity’s ability to constantly move forward in exploration, in science, in the arts and in sport. Which is why we are so happy to become partners with Laureus at this eventful moment,” added Snr Espadas.
Among the many big names who have had a year to remember and who will be in contention for Laureus Awards are Rafael Nadal, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James, Robert Lewandowski (Sportsman), Naomi Osaka, Federica Brignone (Sportswoman), Bayern Munich, Liverpool FC, Los Angeles Lakers, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One (Team), Ansu Fati, Joan Mir, Tadej Pogacar, Dominic Thiem (Breakthrough) and Kento Momota, Alex Smith, Mikaela Shiffrin (Comeback).
The winners of Laureus World Sports Awards are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 69 Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today.
The Awards Show, featuring presentations and related news stories will be available to the world’s media, and broadcast extensively on Laureus social media platforms.