Some of the world’s greatest sportsmen, sportswomen and teams have been nominated for the 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards, following a ballot by global sports media.
Despite continuing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, football’s European Championship and other major tournaments and events in 2021 delivered some stand-out performances across the globe.
The battle for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year features the likes of Tom Brady, the NFL’s greatest-ever quarterback, Bayern Munich’s prolific goal scorer Robert Lewandowski, F1 world champion Max Verstappen, and tennis world No1 Novak Djokovic.
Several historic Olympic performances dominate the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year category: Elaine Thompson-Herah matched Usain Bolt with gold medals in the 100, 200 and 4×100 metres relay; Allyson Felix passed Carl Lewis as the most decorated track and field US Olympian; Australian swimmer Emma McKeon’s four gold and three bronze medals tied the record for the most won by a woman in a single Olympic Games; and American swimmer Katie Ledecky won two more gold and two silver medals.
Also short-listed are world No1 tennis player and Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, and Alexia Putellas, captain of FC Barcelona’s Women’s Team.
Briton Emma Raducanu is one of the nominees for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award, along with fellow US Open 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev.
Raducanu, who went on to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, is one of six British nominations for an award for their 2021 achievements. Also honoured is Olympic skateboarder Sky Brown, along with gold medallists from the Tokyo Games, Tom Daley and Bethany Shriever. Sarah Storey, whose three Paralympic golds increased her career tally to 17, is also recognised. Completing the UK list is Mark Cavendish, who made history with his 34th stage win at the Tour De France, equalling Eddie Merckx’s record: He appears in the Comeback category.
Six nominees have been shortlisted in each of seven categories, with the winners to be revealed in April, following a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury comprising 71 sporting legends such as Nadia Comaneci, Nicole David, Kapil Dev, Emerson Fittipaldi, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chris Hoy, Michael Johnson, Sebastian Coe, and Martina Navratilova.
Sportsman of the year
Tom Brady (USA) American Football, won a record seventh Super Bowl
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) Tennis, won three Majors in 2021 to reach a total of 20
Caeleb Dressel (USA) Swimming, won five Olympic gold medals
Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) Athletics, third person ever to win back-to-back Olympic marathons
Robert Lewandowski (Poland) Football, a record of 40 goals in a season for Bayern
Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Motor Racing, won his first Formula 1 World Championship
Sportswoman of the year
Ashleigh Barty (Australia) Tennis, world No1, won Wimbledon, her second Major
Allyson Felix (USA) Athletics, became most decorated track and field US Olympian
Katie Ledecky (USA) Swimming, won 800 and 1,500 metres freestyle Olympic golds, plus two silver medals
Emma McKeon (Australia) Swimming, won four gold and three bronze Olympic medals the most by an individual
Alexia Putellas (Spain) Football, Barcelona captain; won Ballon d’Or and UEFA Women’s Player of Year
Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jamaica) Athletics, won Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay
Team of the year
Argentina Men’s Football Team, won Copa America; Lionel Messi’s first international trophy, at age of 34
Barcelona Women’s Football Team (Spain), won first Champions League
China Olympic Diving Team, won gold medals in seven of the eight events staged
Italy Men’s Football Team, won European Championship for first time since 1968 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (Germany), won record eighth Constructors Championship
Milwaukee Bucks (USA) Basketball, won a second NBA championship
Breakthrough of the year
Neeraj Chopra (India) Athletics, won javelin to become India’s first winner of an Olympic athletics gold
Daniil Medvedev (Russia) Tennis, won his first Major at the US Open
Pedri (Spain) Football, played 53 times in 2020/21 for Barcelona, and every game for Spain in Euro 2020
Emma Raducanu (UK) Tennis, won the US Open at the age of 18
Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela) Athletics, broke world record to win triple jump Olympic gold
Ariarne Titmus (Australia) Swimming, beat champion Ledecky at 200 and 400m in Tokyo
Comeback of the year
Simone Biles (USA) Gymnastics, after withdrawing in Tokyo, came back to win bronze in the beam
Sky Brown (UK) Skateboarding, aged 13, recovered from fractured skull to win bronze medal in Tokyo
Mark Cavendish (UK) Cycling, fought back from depression to win second Tour de France sprint title
Tom Daley (UK) Diving, had knee surgery in June, but won 10 metres synchronised gold in Tokyo
Marc Márquez (Spain) Motor Cycling, first win after recovering from broken arm at start of 2020
Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) Cycling, won Olympic time trial days after missing gold in road race
Sportsperson with a disability
Diede De Groot (Netherlands) Wheelchair Tennis, first player to complete the calendar-year Golden Slam
Marcel Hug (Switz) Wheelchair Athletics, won Paralympic gold in 800, 1,500, 5,000m and marathon
Shingo Kunieda (Japan) Wheelchair Tennis, won fourth Paralympic gold of his career
Jetze Plat (Netherlands) Para Cycling/Triathlon, won three Paralympic golds in two sports
Susana Rodríguez (Spain) Para Triathlon, won first Paralympic gold medal
Sarah Storey (UK) Para Cycling, won three golds from three events to take career total to 17
World action sportsperson of year
Ítalo Ferreira (Brazil) Surfing, first-ever surfing Olympic gold medal winner
Alberto Ginés (Spain) Climbing, aged 18, won speed climbing gold
Yuto Horigome (Japan) Skateboarding, won first ever skateboarding Olympic gold
Carissa Moore (USA) Surfing, won first ever Olympic surfing gold, then added a fifth world title
Momiji Nishiya (Japan) Skateboarding, at 13, won first Olympic gold medal in women’s street event
Bethany Shriever (UK) BMX, first woman to win both Olympic and World gold in same year
Sport for Good award
Ich will da rauf! (Germany) Climbing, disabled and non-disabled share challenge of the climbing wall
Jucà Pe Cagnà (Italy) Multi-sport, provides safe places to play away from the influence of crime
Kick 4 Life (Lesotho) Football, supports young people through health education and HIV testing
Lost Boyz Inc (USA) Baseball, uses baseball to decrease violence and improve social conditions
Monkey Magic (Japan) Climbing, promotes free climbing for those with visual impairment
Source: Sport Review