South African Olympics athletics sensation Wayde van Niekerk has been nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
A glittering collection of the world’s greatest Olympic and Paralympic stars from Rio de Janeiro have been nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards, following a ballot by the world’s media.
Van Niekerk shocked the world when he ran 43.03secs to break Michael Johnson’s 17-year 400m record at the Rio game to earn his nomination for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
Joining him is fellow Olympic world-record breaker Almaz Ayana, newly crowned Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg and three teams who performed heroically in 2016: English Premier League Champions Leicester City, European Championship quarter-finalists Iceland and Olympic Rugby Sevens gold medal winners Fiji.
“I woke up every day, motivated to inspire my family and friends, but ended up with a double blessing having also inspired a nation, which has been an honour and a privilege,” said van Niekerk.
“My greatest goal has always been to continuously better myself as an athlete and write my own story. All that hard work has paid off, winning the Olympic title in a world record time and earning a Laureus Award Nomination.”
LAUREUS WORLD BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR NOMINEES:
Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) Athletics – broke 10,000m world record by over 14 seconds to win Olympic gold
Fiji Men’s Rugby Sevens Team – victory in Rio gave Fiji its first ever Olympic medal
Iceland Men’s Football Team – greatest success, beating England 2-1 to reach quarter-finals of Euro 2016
Leicester City (UK) Football – 5,000-1 at start of season, won English Premier League for first time
Nico Rosberg (Germany) Motor Racing – won his first Formula One World Championship
Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa) Athletics – ran 43.03secs to break Michael Johnson’s 17-year 400m record
The contest for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award promises to be one of the most competitive ever. Nominees include Rio de Janeiro heroes Usain Bolt, already a three-time Laureus winner, 5k and 10k Olympic champion Mo Farah and tennis gold medal winner Andy Murray. Also shortlisted with Ronaldo are basketball duo Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
Olympians fill all six Nomination places for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, including Americans Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Allyson Felix, German world tennis No.1 Angelique Kerber, Jamaican sprint star Elaine Thompson and British cyclist Laura Kenny.
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian ever, heads the Nominees in the Laureus World Comeback of the Year category, after winning another five golds and a silver medal in Rio. Others selected by the media are Spain’s high jumper Ruth Beitia, Argentina’s Davis Cup winner Juan Martin del Potro, British show jumper Nick Skelton, Mauritius triathlete Fabienne St Louis and Norwegian skier Aksel Lund Svindal.
In another strong category, Mercedes AMG Petronas are nominated for the third straight year for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, along with three football teams; European Champions Portugal, Champions League winners Real Madrid and Neymar-inspired Olympic gold medal winners Brazil. American teams Chicago Cubs, winner of their first baseball World Series for 108 years, and NBA Champions Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, are also shortlisted.
The Rio Paralympic Games provide all six Nominees for the highly respected Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award; swimmers Ihar Boki from Belarus and New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe; visually impaired Cuban sprinter Omara Durand, Iran weightlifter Siamand Rahman, Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug and Italian fencer Beatrice Vio.
The men’s and women’s surfing world champions John John Florence and Tyler Wright are nominated for the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year Award, along with snowboarder Chloe Kim, skateboarder Pedro Barras, mountain biker Rachel Atherton and Estonia’s freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru who at 13 became the youngest ever winner of a gold medal at the Winter X-Games.
The eventual winners, as voted for by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be revealed in Monaco on February 14.
For the first time ever, sports fans will have the chance to make their voices heard in a brand new Best Sporting Moment of the Year Award, which will celebrate the power of sport. More information coming soon.
While celebrating the greatest sporting successes of the year, the Laureus Awards Ceremony also showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. Today Laureus supports more than 100 programmes, in around 40 countries. Our work to transform society is championed by the Laureus World Sports Academy of over 60 legends of sport. They are supported by more than 180 Laureus Ambassadors.