Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and Jamaican athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were voted Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday in Paris, France.
Messi, 35, was honoured after winning the World Cup with Argentina last December in Qatar, giving the Albiceleste their first World Cup since 1986. The Argentine national team was also awarded the Team of the Year prize.
The Paris Saint-Germain player, a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, wins the Laureus Sportsman of the Year trophy for the second time in his career. In 2020, he shared the award with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time Formula One world champion.
The only woman to win five world titles in the same event
US basketball player Stephen Curry, Swedish athlete Armand Duplantis, French striker Kylian Mbappé, Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal and defending Dutch F1 driver Max Verstappen were the other nominees.
In the women’s category, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the award following her fifth world 100m title at the World Championships in Eugene, USA. The 35-year-old Jamaican sprinter is the only woman to have won five world titles in the same event.
US swimmer Katie Ledecky, US athlete Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Spanish footballer Alexia Putellas, US skier Mikaela Shiffrin and Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek were also among the nominees.
Swiss para-athlete wins Disability Award
Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz won the Breakthrough of the Year award while Danish footballer Christian Eriksen won the ‘Comeback’ award of the year after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
And Swiss para-athlete Catherine Debrunner received the Disability Award after triumphing in her opening two marathons.
The Laureus trophies have been awarded annually since 2000 by the Laureus Academy, a jury made up of 71 of sport’s greatest legends. Belgian tennis player Justine Henin, named Sportswoman of the Year in 2008, is among the winners.
The 2023 ceremony was the first to be held in person since 2020, after two virtual editions due to Coronavirus-related restrictions.