Everyone's a winner.
The 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards were presented.
A great night celebrating elite sport.
It was the most unusual sporting match-up of the year. And also one of the most intriguing: Usain Bolt versus Sebastian Vettel. A six-time Olympic gold medallist and world-record holder up against the three-time Formula 1 world champion. Or would it be the footballing genius Lionel Messi clinching victory with his mesmerising dribbling ability and stunning goals?
Or maybe Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer of all time? But in the end it was Usain Bolt. He pulled ahead in the final stretch and was the deserving winner of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award presented by another sporting great, Boris Becker.
Folk heroes and sporting superstars.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the Oscars of sport. For individuals and teams, they are among the most coveted accolades that record holders, world champions, Olympic medallists and newcomers are able to win outside their respective sporting fields. And this year, on the evening of 11 March, the excitement reached fever pitch: a whole host of famous names – and not just from the world of sport – had come to the famous Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro either in the hope of collecting one of the seven awards or to present them to the winners. From Franz Beckenbauer, Björn Borg, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe and Emerson Fittipaldi to Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Vitali Klitschko and Edwin Moses, not to mention Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova and Mark Spitz. Almost 1,000 guests of honour took part in the gala. The ceremony was broadcast in 180 countries. Laureus is sending out a positive signal.
British heptathlete Jessica Ennis joined Usain Bolt on the roll call as the winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award. The Scottish tennis player Andy Murray was presented with the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award in recognition of his landmark year in 2012 when he won his first Grand Slam on top of medals at the Olympic Games. The Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, whose 39-kilometre jump set the record for the highest free fall in history, took home the award in the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year category and was visibly impressed by what he called one of the world's greatest trophies.
Finally, the Laureus World Team of the Year Award went to the European Ryder Cup team for their spectacular victory over the United States.
A richly deserved award.
The Laureus World Comeback of the Year award went to Olympic 400-metre hurdles champion Felix Sanchez, who collected gold eight years on from his first Olympic triumph. Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias was named Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for the second time.
The 24-year-old won six gold medals at the Paralympics in London. Michael Phelps, whose 22 medals make him the most successful Olympian of all time, was presented with the inaugural Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award.
A gold medal for good causes.
The Laureus World Sports Awards attract the attention of the world by recognising sporting achievements as part of a glittering gala evening. But there is more to it than that. The proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards go towards the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 140 community sports-based projects, helping to improve the lives of over 1.5 million disadvantaged children and young people around the world. For example, Laureus is currently supporting the Pela Luta Paz project in the Complexo da Maré favelas of Rio de Janeiro. This uses boxing as a means of keeping young people off the streets and therefore out of trouble.
Mercedes-Benz global partner.
Under the patronage of Nelson Mandela, Laureus has become a global movement representing sport and its ability to unite. Its three core elements – Laureus World Sports Academy, Laureus World Sports Awards and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation – honour outstanding sporting achievements and harness the power of sport to bring about social change.
Laureus was founded by Daimler AG and Richemont and is supported by its global partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen.