The beautiful city of London stages for the first time in history after Abu Dhabi, St. Petersburg and Monaco, the annual Oscars of sports, known as the Laureus World Sports Awards.
The ceremony will be broadcast to a worldwide TV audience from London’s Central Hall, Westminster, on the evening of Monday, February 6, 2012. The Laureus World Sports Awards celebrates the world’s finest sportsmen and women of the year, honoring their outstanding performances and achievements. With less than six months until the London Olympics, there cannot be a better way to start the Olympic year.
Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning actor Clive Owen will host the event. He is taking over this part from American actor Kevin Spacey, who was an exceptional host at the previous two editions of Laureus Awards, both of them staged in Abu Dhabi.
The nominations include 42 athletes and teams in seven different categories. Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic is one of the top favourites for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award, closely followed by footballer Lionel Messi, sprinter Usain Bolt, Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel, basketball player Dirk Nowitzki and cyclist Cadel Evans.
World number one tennis player Djokovic comes to London after a brilliant victory at the 2012 Australian Open, where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the longest men’s singles Grand Slam final ever. The Serb had a fantastic year in 2011 with an astonishing winning record of 70-6 and won the crown of Australian, Wimbledon and US Open Grand Slams.
In the competition for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Kenyan athlete Vivian Cheruiyot is the top contender. In the same category, she is in a great company alongside tennis player Petra Kvitova, skier Maria Höfl-Riesch, sprinter Carmelita Jeter, golfer Yani Tseng and footballer Homare Sawa.
Kvitova also holds a nod in the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award category, competing with Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, Australian Open tennis champion Li Na, athletes Mo Farah and Oscar Pistorius, and golfer Rory McIlroy.
The All Blacks earned a well-deserved nomination for the Laureus World Team of the Year award after winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They are followed by FC Barcelona, Japan's women's football team, England’s cricket team, the Dallas Mavericks and the Red Bull motor racing team.
Pistorius is also nominated for a Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award after he became the first ever amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Athletics Championships. In the same category, he has a strong competition in swimmer Daniel Dias, tennis player Esther Vergeer, biathlete Irek Zaripov, sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina and wheelchair racer David Weir.
For the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award, FC Barcelona and French defender Eric Abidal is nominated for a great comeback after a successful battle with cancer. The Crusaders rugby team, golfers Darren Clarke and Sergio Garcia, the Queensland Reds rugby team and hurdler Liu Xiang are also shortlisted in this category.
In the final category, Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, the nominees are: Britain BMX star Jamie Bestwick, surfers Carissa Moore and and Kelly Slater, windsurfer Philip Köster, and snowboarders Travis Rice and Shaun White.
Many sports icons will attend the event, such as Nadia Comaneci, Boris Becker, Gary Player, Martina Navratilova, Mark Spitz, Edwin Moses and many more.
The proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards benefit the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports 89 community sports projects worldwide and helped to improve the lives of more than 1.5 million young people.