Hugh Grant hosted the 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday at the Salle des Etoiles. TV Presenter Kate Giles, also known as Kate Abdo, was co-host to Mr Grant.
Some of the biggest names in sports attended the prestigious Awards Ceremony, which was first held in the Monaco in 2000, when, as HSH Prince Albert noted, “Nelson Mandela galvanised us all with his impassioned speech” during with the South African President said: “Sport has the power to change the world.”
Mr Mandela’s inspiration led to the formation of the Laureus Sport for Good Movement, which now includes 60 Laureus Academy Members and 200 Ambassadors.
Prince Albert commented, “Laureus is a worldwide recognised movement that teaches young people to discover the best in themselves and provides them with the tools and skills they need to succeed how difficult can be the circumstances.”
There are seven Laureus awards categories, and each winner is presented with a Cartier-crafted Laureus Statuette, “a representation of the striving human form against an engraved representation of the continents”.
Five-time Olympic gold medallist in the pool, Missy Franklin, announced the first award of the evening – The Laureus Sportswoman of the Year – which went to fellow American, Simone Biles, 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medallist. The award was given by legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci and Prince Albert.
Laureus Academy Member Boris Becker presented the Laureus World Comeback of the Year to “the greatest swimmer ever” Michael Phelps, while Monaco’s pride and joy, the recently-retired Nico Rosberg, picked up The Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award from F1’s Emerson Fittipaldi.
Other winners included the Refugee Olympic Team (The Laureus Sport for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration), Leicester City FC (The Laureus Spirit of Sport Award) and Rachel Atherton (The Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year).
The Laureus World Team of the Year went to the Chicago Cubs and The Laureus Best Sporting Moment of the Year was awarded to the FC Barcelona U12 Team.
The ceremony ended with 13-time Olympic and World Championship gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson giving the 4th Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award to “the greatest sprinter ever”, Usain Bolt.
The evening was filled with touching stories, from Hugh Grant talking about the “amazing work of Laureus Sport for Good, changing the lives of millions of young people all over the world” to a tribute video to the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who died in June 2016.
Other highlights of the 2-hour event included HSH Princess Charlene presenting Tim Conibear, founder of Waves for Change, with a special honour, The Laureus Sport for Good Award. Waves for Change “provides safe spaces, access to caring adults, and provision of weekly Surf Therapy Session for Violent Communities”. (Feature photo: Facebook Laureus)
Article first published February 14, 2017.