Missy Franklin won the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year at the Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur on March 26.
KUALA LUMPUR: Sebastian Vettel and Missy Franklin were the big winners at the Laureus World Sport Awards, picking up the World Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Award respectively.
Germany’s Vettel, at only 26, became the youngest four-time Formula One world champion last year.
He beat off the challenge of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah (athletics), LeBron James (basketball), Rafael Nadal (tennis), Cristiano Ronaldo (football) for the top prize.
American swimming sensation Franklin, meanwhile, picked up the Sportswoman of the Year award, beating off the challenge of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Yelena Isinbayeva (athletics), Tina Maze (skiing), Nadine Angerer (football) and Serena Williams (tennis).
Franklin, who is still only 18, won the award courtesy of a record six-gold medal haul at the World Championships in Barcelona last year.
“I’m really thankful to Laureus for even considering me,” said an excited Franklin.
"This has really been an incredible week, being in the presence of so many top athletes ... especially Mark Spitz.
"This is really the most incredible moment of my life and I’m thankful to Laureus, my parents and of course Malaysia. I’ve never been to a country where there are so many smiles!” added Franklin.
Another speedster, Marc Marquez, won the World Breakthrough of the Year award for becoming the youngest ever MotoGP world champion at the age of 20 years 266 days.
Other winners of the day included BMX cyclist Jamie Bestwick who picked up the World Action Sportsperson of the Year, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for the World Team of the Year while Nadal picked up the World Comeback of the Year award for winning the French and US Opens.
France’s Marie Bochet, 19, was declared the winner of the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for completing a grand slam of all five events at the Alpine Skiing World Championships while the Afghanistan cricket team picked up the Spirit of Sport award.
Top stars such as football legends Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona, Christian Karembeu, Hidetoshi Nakata; F1 big names Niki Lauda, David Coulthard, Nico Rosberg; skate master Tony Hawk; sprint legend Michael Johnson were all present at the ceremony.
Top Malaysian athletes Nicol David (squash), Lee Chong Wei (badminton) and Pandelela Rinong (diving) were also present.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Sebastian Vettel (World Sportsman of the Year)
Missy Franklin (World Sportswoman of the Year)
Bayern Munich (World Team of the Year)
Marc Marquez (World Breakthrough of the Year)
Rafael Nadal (World Comeback of the Year)
Marie Bochet (World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability)
Jamie Bestwick (World Action Sportsperson of the Year)
Afghanistan cricket team (Spirit of Sport Award)
Magic Bus (Sport for Good Award)