Laureus Awards 2014: Vettel, Nadal, Bayern Munich, Franklin win honours
Laureus Awards 2014: Sebastian Vettel wins sportsman of the year, while Rafael Nadal scoops comeback prize
In a glittering ceremony, hosted by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch at the Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, three of the most exciting young sports stars of their generation, world-beaters despite their age, were among the winners of the ‘sporting Oscars’ at this year’s Laureus World Sports Awards.
Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, the youngest ever four-time Formula 1 world champion at 26, was named world sportsman of the year, US swimmer Missy Franklin, at 18, became the youngest ever winner of sportswoman of the year, while Spain’s Marc Márquez received the breakthrough of the year award, after winning the World MotoGP Championship aged just 20.
There was double delight for both Germany and Spain. Bayern Munich joined Vettel as winners, taking the world team of the year award, while tennis super-star Rafael Nadal received the comeback award alongside compatriot Márquez.
Vettel’s success was particularly satisfying for the young German racer, who had been nominated five times for a Laureus Award before finally winning. His fourth straight world championship in 2013 saw him join motor racing legends Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost, who all won at least four times, but he did it at a younger age than any of them.
Franklin was the sensation of the world championships in Barcelona, becoming the first woman swimmer in history to win six gold medals. She continues to refuse prize money and endorsements so that she can maintain her amateur status in college.
Bayern Munich was presented with the Team Award after becoming the first football club to complete the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup. Six of their players were nominated for the Fifa player of the year award: Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Márquez was presented with the Breakthrough gong after becoming not just the youngest MotoGP world champion but also the youngest winner of a Grand Prix, in Austin in April.
For Nadal, this was his third Laureus statuette: He also won the sportsman of the year award in 2011 and the newcomer of the year in 2006. He was awarded this time for returning from a seven-month absence because of injury to win the French and US Open titles and reclaim his number one world ranking.
France’s Marie Bochet, aged 19, won the world sportsperson of the year with a disability award after becoming the first athlete to complete a Grand Slam of all five events at one alpine skiing world championships.
Britain’s BMX star Jamie Bestwick, now based in the United States, won the action sportsperson of the year award after becoming the only athlete in X Games history to win eight straight gold medals, two more than legends such as Tony Hawk and Shaun White.
The Laureus World Sports Academy presented two additional discretionary awards. The Laureus spirit of sport award was won by the Afghanistan cricket team, who qualified for the Cricket World Cup for the first time in their history, and the Laureus Sport for Good Award was presented to Magic Bus, the sports-based community project in India.
Sportsman of the year: Sebastian Vettel
Sportswoman of the year: Missy Franklin
Team of the year: Bayern Munich
Breakthrough of the year: Marc Márquez
Comeback of the year: Rafael Nadal
Sportsperson of the year with a disability: Marie Bochet
Action sportsperson of the year: Jamie Bestwick
Spirit of sport award: Afghanistan cricket team
Sport for good award: Magic Bus, the sports-based community project in India