Missy Franklin Wins Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award
Olympic gold medalist and USA Swimming National Team member Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) was honored Wednesday as the youngest-ever winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award at the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards.
Franklin, who won a record-setting six gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, was presented the honor by fellow U.S. swimming legend Mark Spitz. Franklin was victorious in the 100m and 200m backstrokes, the 200m freestyle and all three U.S. relays last summer in Spain. She recently completed her first collegiate season at the University of California, Berkeley and set an American record in the 200y free at last week’s NCAA Championships in Minneapolis.
Franklin is the first swimmer to win the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award or the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, which debuted in 2000. Previous winners include the likes of Usain Bolt, Roger Federer, Lindsey Vonn and Serena Williams.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honors on the international sporting calendar. The winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen. Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since its inception, Laureus has raised €60 million for projects which have improved the lives of millions of young people.
The Awards Ceremony was held at the Istana Budaya, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was hosted by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Oscar and Grammy winner Jamie Foxx performed to the star-studded audience. German actor Daniel Brühl, who played Niki Lauda in the film Rush, was present along with Chinese supermodel and actress Du Juan.
The awards were announced in seven categories:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Sebastian Vettel
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Missy Franklin
Laureus World Team of the Year: Bayern Munich
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Marc Márquez
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Marie Bochet
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jamie Bestwick
There were two additional Awards: the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award was presented to the Afghanistan Cricket Team and the Laureus Sport for Good Award was presented to Magic Bus, the sports-based community project in India.