(From left): Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas, former French football team captain Marcel Desailly and MotoGP legend Mick Doohan during the announcement of the Laureus World Sports Awards nominees on Feb 26, 2014.
KUALA LUMPUR: Three-time winners Usain Bolt and Serena Williams, along with the brilliant young Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel, lead the nominations for the Laureus World Sports Awards, which will be held at Istana Budaya here on March 26.
Shortlisted for the fifth time is the inaugural winner in 2000, Tiger Woods. He is selected again after returning to the summit of the world of golf last year.
Spain’s tennis king Rafael Nadal and Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, both two-time Laureus winners, are also nominated in two different categories.
The names of the various nominees were announced at a special ceremony on Wednesday with three Laureus ambassadors in attendence – former French football captain Marcel Desailly, former Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas and former motorcycling champion Mike Doohan of Australia.
Charismatic Real Madrid and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Miami Heat superstar LeBron James could become the first team players to win an individual Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
The 15th Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognises sporting achievements in 2013, is the premier honours event on the international sporting calendar.
The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, include a group of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and women of all time, will be unveiled at a globally-televised awards ceremony.
When the winners are revealed next month, Jamaican sprinter Bolt could be celebrating a record-equalling fourth Laureus World Sports Sportsman of the Year Award, after he won all three sprint events in the World Championships in Moscow in August.
The only athlete to have won four Laureus awards is tennis legend Roger Federer.
The list of nominees for the Sportswoman of the Year reads like a veritable who’s who of the usual sporting suspects with American swimmer Missy Franklin, Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and tennis queen Serena all selected for the second year running.
In the Laureus World Team of the Year category, Bayern Munich, winners of the UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup, are nominated along with New Zealand’s All Blacks, the first national rugby team to achieve a 100% record in the professional era.
The others in the category are the Brazil men’s football team, winners of the Confederations Cup; American tennis twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who held all four Grand Slam doubles titles and the Olympic gold medal; Miami Heat, who won the NBA title for the second straight year; and Red Bull, winners of a fourth straight F1 Constructors’ World Championship.