It’s not just awards season in Hollywood, it's that time of year in the world of sport too and a whole host of last year’s top athletes from around the world have been nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards.
The prestigious awards have been running since 1999 and this year’s ceremony will take place on February 17, celebrating the best athletes from the past year.
Among the nominees is a range of familiar and less familiar sportswomen, all of them remarkable in their own right. We've rounded up who is nominated and have the low-down on their achievements over the past year.
World Sportswoman of the Year
Simone Biles – the 2019 and 2017 Sportswoman of the Year winner – is up for nomination again this year and it’s not surprising. This is because in 2019 she became the greatest Gymnastics World Championship athlete ever with the most medals of any man or woman in the history of the competition – 25.
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Allyson Felix, had an impressive 2019 on the track when, less than a year after giving birth to her daughter, she won the mixed 4x400m relay at the World Athletics Championships in Doha. That gold medal took her total World Championship gold-medal haul to 12, going beyond Usain Bolt’s previous record.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also had a great World Athletics Championships last year. She won her fourth 100m gold medal and then a second gold in the 4x100m relay. This took her total world title tally to nine. Photos of her with rainbow hair carrying her two-year-old son around the track after the race were beamed around the world, showing just what mothers are capable of.
Naomi Osaka was last year’s Breakthrough of the Year award winner after winning the 2018 US Open. In 2019, she added to her Grand Slam trophy cabinet by winning the Australian Open, defeating Petra Kvitova in the final. This made her the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams achieved this in 2015.
Megan Rapinoe was one of last year’s most visible athletes, male or female. She won the Golden Ball and Boot at the FIFA Women’s World Cup as she co-captained the US Women’s National Team to take home the trophy, their fourth time doing so. At the age of 34, she became the oldest woman to score in a World Cup final.
Mikaela Shiffrin is only 24 and is already one of the greatest skiers ever and now a four-time Laureus award nominee. Last year she won her third overall World Cup in a row and became the first skier to win overall, super-g, giant slalom and slalom titles in just one season. At the time of writing, she is currently leading the World Cup overall standings again this season.
Other award nominees
The USWNT is nominated for team of the year, the only women’s team to be nominated, for their dominant display at the 2019 World Cup.
Formula Three driver, Sophia Flörsch, is nominated for the Comeback of the Year award after she returned to the Macau race track where the year before her car had sped off the road and crashed into a safety barrier. As a result of the accident, Flörsch fractured her spine.
Two female tennis players are nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year award: Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff. Andreescu is nominated for becoming the first woman to win the US Open on her debut at the tournament. Aged 19 she was also the first player born in the noughties to win a Grand Slam. Gauff’s name makes the list after the 15-year-old became the youngest ever Wimbledon qualifier and stole headlines reaching the quarter-finals.
Swimmer Regan Smith is also nominated in this category after she broke three world records and won two gold medals at the 2019 World Championships in the 200m backstroke and the 4x100m medley relay.
Three women also make the list for the Action Sportsperson nominations. Chloe Kim, last year’s winner, is nominated again after she won snowboarding gold medals at the World Championships and X Games.
Kim is joined by Carissa Moore who won her fourth women’s world surfing title and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics – the first time the sport will feature. The final sportswoman nominated is Rayssa Leal, the skater who, aged 11, won the women’s Street League world tour event in Los Angeles becoming the youngest skater to win a leg of the World Skate/SLS contest.
For the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category, five of the six nominees are women. Alice Tai the British swimmer who won seven gold medals at the Para Swimming World Championships and broke a world record in the 100m backstroke S8 is nominated.
Also on the list is wheelchair racer Manuela Schär who was unbeaten in the World Marathon Major Series in 2019, winning six marathon titles, and Oksana Masters who won five gold medals and a sliver at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships and the cross-country overall World Cup title.
Diede de Groot, three-time Grand Slam winner in 2019 is nominated. She only lost at Wimbledon and her French Open victory completed her career Grand Slam of all four titles.
The fifth female nominee is Omara Durand. The T12 visually impaired runner cemented her reputation as the world’s fastest female Paralympian last year after she won the 100, 200 and 400 metres at the Parapan American Games and the World Championships.
While the Oscars are criticised for a complete lack of diversity, that is certainly not the case here. It's exciting to see so many incredible sportswomen nominated across all the awards categories for a wide range of sporting achievements. It is a fitting way to celebrate what was a landmark year for women in sport and the start of a decade that's sure to be even bigger.News Now - Sport News