Quadruple Formula 1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel and American swimming sensation Missy Franklin were crowned Laureus Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, attended by some of the world's most iconic sporting greats and celebrities.
The Laureus Awards, now in its 15th year, have become recognised as the Oscars for sports, celebrating supreme athletic achievement by the world's greatest sports stars, with the ceremony being hosted in some of the world's most glamorous locations.
The ceremony also provides the ideal platform for Laureus to showcase their sport for good foundation that uses the power of sport to provide coaching and education to some of the most challenging and deprived environments around the world, improving social infrastructure and lives within these impoverished areas.
On a night of glitz and glamour in the Malaysian capital, Sebastian Vettel and Missy Franklin were recognised for their magnificent sporting achievements during 2013, cementing their places in Laureus sporting history alongside elite winners from the past like Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Cathy Freeman and Serena Williams.
In the hotly contested Sportsman of the Year category, Vettel was up against some of the greatest sporting talent ever to be nominated in the form of Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Mo Farah and Rafael Nadal.
Bolt was looking to scoop the award for the third time following another phenomenal year. Bolt won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, a feat he achieved at the Beijing and London Olympics. He was also awarded the IAAF male athlete of the year for a 5th time.
Farah continued his incredible performance by winning the 5000m and 10000m, also at the world championships, repeating his Olympic performance which has only ever been achieved by one other athlete, Kenenisa Bekele.
Miami Heat’s James is the big superstar stateside in the NBA. James led the Heat to the NBA championship over San Antonio with 37 points in game 7 and was voted the MVP during both the regular season and the final. It was the 4th time in five years James was awarded the regular season MVP.
Nadal, a Laureus winner in 2011, stormed back to the top of the world tennis rankings following a seven-month injury layoff. Many had written the Spaniard off however his return in 2013 proved to be one of the most spectacular years in the mens game. Nadal won 10 events including the French Open for a record 8th time and the US Open. In all he competed in 13 events and in the other three he was a losing finalist.
Cristiano Ronaldo finally wrestled the Ballon D’Or away from Argentine Lionel Messi after a superb year which saw him score 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal.
Despite these supreme performers throughout 2013, it was the German Formula 1 World Champion that clinched the award following a 4th consecutive world championship driving for his team Red Bull. Vettel joined the illustrious company of Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio and Alain Prost as the only drivers to have won four or more championships. He also joined Schumacher as the only other Formula 1 champion to have won the award, Schumacher scooping the award in 2002 and 2004.
The Sportswoman of the Year category, was as tightly contested as the men.
Missy Franklin became the first woman to win six gold medals at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona and was nominated alongside, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold at the World Athletic Championships in Moscow, former Laureus winner Yelena Isinbayeva who followed up her Olympic pole vault wins in 2004 and 2008 with World Championship gold under the huge weight of expectation in her home country of Russia.
Tina Maze who enjoyed one of the most successful years on the slopes ever seen, winning the overall, Super-G, giant slalom and combined world titles and also securing the Super-G gold and silver at the world championships, and finally another former Laureus winner, Serena Williams, who much like her male counterpart Rafa Nadal, enjoyed one of the most successful years in ladies tennis.
Williams lifted the French and US Open titles to take her career Slam haul to 17 and also won eight other WTA titles.
Bayern Munich won the Team of the Year award after a season that saw them clinched the German Cup, a 23rd Bundesliga title with six games to spare and the UEFA Champions League.
The Bavarian giants beat off competition from the All Blacks, New Zealand's rugby union team that went through 2013 unbeaten, Brazil's football team that lifted a fourth Confederations Cup, Bob and Mike Bryan who became the first doubles pair to hold all four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal at the same time, the Miami Heat who secured a second straight NBA Championship and Red Bull racing that cinched their fourth consecutive Formula 1 World Championship in a season that saw them win 13 races including a record nine consecutive wins.
Other winners on the night saw Rafa Nadal edge, Yelena Isenbayeva, Oracle Team USA, Tiger Woods, Tony Parker and Ronaldinho for the Comeback of the Year award.
Moto GP world Champion Marc Marquez was awarded the Breakthrough of the Year award, the Spaniard winning the championship in his rookie season against the likes of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Marquez was up against some stiff competition, the Afghanistan cricket team, Raphael Holzdeppe, Nairo Quintana, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.
Jamie Bestwick finally won the World Action Sportsperson of the Year after being nominated four times previously and the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award went to Marie Bochet for her stunning achievements on the slopes.
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