Full list of athletes to win Laureus Sportsman of the Year award
Roger Federer has won the prestigious award a record five times.
Lionel Messi became the first footballer and only the seventh athlete to win the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award twice, after being awarded the 2023 Laureus Sportsman of the Year trophy. The Argentina talisman and a record seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, is also the first team-sport athlete to win the award. He had previously won the prestigious award in 2020.
The Laureus World Sports Award is awarded annually to honour the achievements of athletes who accomplished the most outstanding achievement in their sport during the preceding calendar year. It is divided into seven categories – sportsman, sportswoman, team, breakthrough, comeback, action sportsperson, and sportsperson with disability. The award is presented by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
A panel comprised of global sports journalists selects the candidates for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award, with the winner being ultimately determined by votes from members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an association of sporting icons who accomplished the highest level of excellence in their respective sports.
The foundation uses the power of sport to transform lives and currently supports more than 275 programs in 50 countries. It was started in response to Nelson Mandela’s challenge- “Sport has the power to change the world”. Their vision is to use sport as a powerful and cost-effective tool to help children and young people to overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantages in life.
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The inaugural edition of the Laureus World Sports Award was held on May 25, 2000 in South Africa. Tiger Woods won the first award for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year. Marion Jones won the inaugural best sportswomen of the year award which was later rescinded. Shaun Paulmer received the action sportsperson of the Year award. In the team category, Manchester United were declared the winner.
Apart from these regular seven awards, there are three more awards that were awarded which are discretionary awards. These include Lifetime, Sports for Good, Spirit of Sport, Exceptional Achievement, and Sporting Inspiration. Pele received the lifetime award while Eunice Kennedy Shriver received Sport for Good award in the inaugural season.
Roger Federer holds the record for winning the most awards. The Swiss tennis player has won six awards, five for Sportsman of the Year and one for Comeback of the Year.
Serena Williams holds the record for winning the most award by a female. The US tennis player has won five awards, four for Sportswoman of the Year and one for the Comeback of the Year.
In 2020, the Sportsman of the Year award was given to two athletes – Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton. This was the only year in which the award was shared by two sportsmen.
Tennis players dominated the list by winning 11 awards followed by Formula 1 with five awards.
List of athletes to win Laureus Sportsman of the Year award:
2023 – Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2022 – Max Verstappen (Netherlands)
2021 – Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2020 – Lionel Messi
2020 – Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain)
2019 – Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2018 – Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2017 – Usain Boult (Jamaica)
2016 – Novak Djokovic
2015 – Novak Djokovic
2014 – Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
2013 – Usain Boult
2012 – Novak Djokovic
2011 – Rafael Nadal
2010 – Usain Boult
2009 – Usain Boult
2008 – Roger Federer
2007 – Roger Federer
2006 – Roger Federer
2005 – Roger Federer
2004 – Michael Schumacher (Germany)
2003 – Lance Armstrong* (USA)
2002 – Michael Schumacher
2001 – Tiger Woods
2000 – Tiger Woods
Note – Lance Armstrong’s award was later rescinded as he was banned for life after being found of using performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions.
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