15 February 2017 Current Affairs: Usain Bolt and Simone Biles, the 2016 Rio Olympic champions won top awards of ‘Sportsman of the Year’ and ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2017, held in Monaco.
Bolt was conferred with the top honour for the fourth time, equalling the record set by tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams and surfer Kelly Slater, who are all four-time Laureus winners. He received his award from one of the world’s greatest sprinters, Michael Johnson.
Highlights : Many-times Olympic champion Michael Phelps received the award for ‘Comeback of the Year’ from Boris Becker, former world number one in Tennis. Phelps who had retired after 2012 London Olympics came back to win 5 gold medals at Rio Olympics.
The Laureus award for ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ was conferred to Formula One World champion Nico Rosberg. Rosberg who was a runner-up in both 2014 and 2015, finally won the title in 2016, after which he announced his retirement from the sport.
The only quadruple amputee in international wheelchair fencing, Beatrice Vio was honoured with “Sportsperson of the Year with a disability’ trophy.
In other categories, professional racing cyclist Rachel Laura Atherton won the ‘Action Sportsperson of the Year’ award, the American baseball team Chicago Cubs won the Laureus ‘Team of the Year’ award and the popular football club Leicester City was awarded ‘Spirit of Sport’ award.
Further, while Waves for Change- a South African charity was recognised for their outstanding community work with the ‘Sport for Good’ award, the ‘Sport Inspiration’ award was given to Refugee Olympic Team.
Also for the first time, sports fans were given a chance to voice their choice in a brand new category – ‘Best Sporting Moment of the Year’ award, which was conferred to Barcelona’s under -12 team.The ceremony was hosted by popular actor Hugh Grant.
Laureus Awards : The awards known as 'Oscar for Sports' are held annually to celebrate the most remarkable sportspersons and their achievements from the previous calendar year.
The nominees for each award are selected by a nomination panel comprising some of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters who vote to create a shortlist of six nominations in five categories.
The nomination shortlists for two categories – the Action Sportsperson of the Year and the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, is created by Specialist Panels.
The final winners in all seven categories are decided on the basis of a secret ballot vote by the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.