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Hollywood star Andy Garcia to host 2024 Laureus World Sports Awards

Published at :April 19, 2024 at 4:59 PM
Modified at :April 19, 2024 at 4:59 PM
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(Courtesy : Laureus)

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Andy Garcia used to play basketball and baseball in his younger days

The most prestigious honours event on the international sporting calendar takes place at the historic Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid on April 22, and Andy Garcia becomes the latest member of cinematic royalty to take on the role of host. In previous years, Bill Murray, Hugh Grant, and Benedict Cumberbatch have all presented the Awards show, which is broadcast around the world and attended by stars from the world of sports, entertainment, fashion, business, and beyond. 

Andy Garcia has starred in some of the most beloved movies of the past 30 years, but before he took to the stage, he had dreams of becoming a professional athlete – he played basketball and baseball, in which his Little League coach in Miami was another Oscar-nominated actor, Mickey Rourke.

As an unmistakable screen presence across four decades, Andy Garcia has starred in movies including The Godfather Part III (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), The Untouchables, and Ocean’s 11 and its sequels. But his love of sports has never diminished. He is a regular participant in pro-am golf events, has thrown the ceremonial first pitch before an LA Dodgers Major League Baseball game, and can often be found on the front row at the Staples Center, watching the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.

“Sport has always played an important part in my life,” said Andy Garcia. “Before I ever thought of becoming an actor, I wanted to be an athlete.  And today, I still love getting out onto the golf course or watching my team play. Sport has a special power, it’s a power that the Laureus World Sports Awards harness, and it’s my great pleasure and honour to present these very special awards this year, in the beautiful city of Madrid.

“The athletes who will be honoured on April 22 are true heroes – they amaze us with seemingly superhuman feats, unscripted and with no CGI involved! And at their best, this generation of athletes can also shape the world around them, whether that is by the work they do away from the spotlight, or by the issues the choose to speak up on when they know the world is listening.

“This was an unforgettable year of sport, and I can’t wait to celebrate it as part of the Laureus World Sports Awards. I hope you’ll join me.”

This is the 25th edition of the Laureus Awards – where the world’s greatest athletes are shortlisted for awards across seven elite categories, including Sportsman of the Year, Sportswoman of the Year, Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year. Nominees are selected after a vote by the world’s sports media, and only at Laureus are the winners selected by sporting legends – the 69 all-time greats of the Laureus World Sports Academy. That’s why the Laureus statuette has become as sought-after a prize as any that these superstars compete for in the sporting arena.

This year’s nominees include some of the greatest athletes in the world. Last year’s winner, Lionel Messi, is again nominated for Sportsman of the Year, alongside Erling Haaland, Mondo Duplantis, Noah Lyles, Max Verstappen, and Novak Djokovic; Olympic track stars Sha’Carri Richardson, Faith Kipyegon, and Shericka Jackson are shortlisted alongside Iga Świątek, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí in the category of Sportswoman of the Year. 

No fewer than 15 Olympic and Paralympic gold medal winners will attend this year’s Awards – a precursor to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games – alongside world champions and record breakers from across the world of sport. Sporting legends from the Laureus World Sports Academy already confirmed to attend include Raúl, a hero in Madrid as a former captain and record goalscorer for Real Madrid; fellow footballers Cafu and Ruud Gullit; Olympic champions Jessica Ennis-Hill, Michael Johnson, and Edwin Moses; Rugby World Cup winners Sean Fitzpatrick and Bryan Habana; and tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

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