Murray’s superlative season began with a final run at the Australian Open and the French Open—becoming a father in between the two events—and he was unbeaten on grass through a record fifth Queen’s title and second Wimbledon victory, followed by a second Olympic gold. Only this week, he saw a 28-match-winning streak end in the Doha final, having won the World Tour Finals to seal the end-of-year No1 ranking.
Angelique Kerber also bookended an outstanding year with victory at the Australian and US Opens, and in between reached the final of Wimbledon and picked up Olympic silver. She then made the final of the WTA Championships and also ended 2016 as No1.
Not surprisingly, the 2016 Rio Olympics are strongly represented among the nominees, with gold-medal-winning Murray up against the likes of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. In the women’s category, Simone Biles, Allyson Felix and Briton Laura Kenny are strong contenders. Meanwhile the silver-medal-winning del Potro, who climbed back from wrist surgery and a ranking outside 1,000 to end 2016 at No38 and the star of Argentina’s first Davis Cup victory, is in perhaps the toughest category of all.
The Comeback Award is headlined by Michael Phelps, who became the most successful Olympian ever after winning another five golds and a silver medal in Rio, to bring his tally to 28—23 of them gold.
Football is also well represented with Cristiano Ronaldo involved in three nominations, both individually and through his teams Portugal and Real Madrid.
In another strong category, Mercedes AMG Petronas are nominated for the third straight year in the Laureus Team category, along with three football teams; European Champions Portugal, Champions League winners Real Madrid and Olympic gold medal winners Brazil.
After finishing second in 2014 and 2015, Nico Rosberg finally won the Formula One World Championship, and features in the Laureus Breakthrough category. Joining him are Olympic world-record breakers Almaz Ayana and Wayde van Niekerk, and three teams: Premier League Champions Leicester City, European Championship quarter-finalists Iceland and Olympic Rugby Sevens gold medal winners Fiji.
Altogether, there are six British nominations. Along with Murray, Farah, Kenny and Leicester are Nick Skelton, who won Olympic gold in show jumping at the age of 58 despite having broken his neck and having a replacement hip, along with Rachel Atherton, who became the first rider to win all seven rounds of the UCI Downhill World Cup.
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.
The shortlists, which comprise six nominations in each of seven categories, are compiled from a ballot of the world’s sporting media and the winners are voted for by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 50 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time headed by Chairman Edwin Moses.
The winners will be revealed in Monaco on 14 February.
Laureus Sportsman of Year
Laureus Sportswoman of Year
Laureus Team of Year
Brazil Men’s Olympic Football Team
Mercedes AMG Petronas
Portugal Men’s Football Team
Laureus Breakthrough of Year
Fiji Men’s Rugby Sevens Team
Iceland Men’s Football Team
Wayde van Niekerk
Laureus Comeback of Year
Juan Martin del Potro
Fabienne St Louis
Aksel Lund Svindal
Laureus Sportsperson of Year with a Disability
Laureus Action Sportsperson of Year
John John Florence
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