POSTED: Wednesday June 10th 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FASTEST MAN ON EARTH ‘LIGHTNING’ BOLT WINS LAUREUS WORLD SPORTSMAN OF YEAR AWARD

Bolt became the first man in history to win the 100 metres (9.69secs), 200 metres (19.30secs) and 4x100 metres relay gold medals (37.10secs) in world record times in the same Olympiad.

Usain Bolt and Michael Johnson
Usain Bolt and Michael Johnson

 

•    Jamaica’s Olympic hero Usain Bolt receives world’s most prestigious sports Award from Laureus Academy members Michael Johnson and Edwin Moses
•    ‘I’m delighted, it’s an an honour to succeed such greats as Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods’ – says Usain Bolt
•    ‘Usain Bolt’s 100 metres run in Beijing was the greatest sprinting performance I have ever seen’ – says Laureus Academy member Michael Johnson
•    Pictures of Usain Bolt receiving Award available on www.laureusarchive.com
•    Other Laureus winners to be revealed at further presentation events in June

TORONTO, June 10, 2009 – Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt – the fastest man on Earth – is the winner of the 2009 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, after his sensational performance in the Beijing Olympics.

In Beijing, Bolt became the first man in history to win the 100 metres (9.69secs), 200 metres (19.30secs) and 4x100 metres relay gold medals (37.10secs) in world record times in the same Olympiad. Bolt’s 200 metres time broke the long-standing world record of 19.32secs set by Laureus World Sports Academy member Michael Johnson in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Bolt, 22, received the world’s most prestigious sports Award from Michael Johnson and Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses on the eve of the Festival of Excellence track and field meet in Toronto, Canada.

After receiving the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, Bolt performed his trademark celebration, a lightning-like gesture with his arms, and said: “I am delighted to win this prestigious Award and would like to thank everyone who voted for me. It is an honour to succeed such greats as multiple winner Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.”

Laureus World Sports Academy member Michael Johnson said: “Usain’s 100 metres in Beijing was the greatest sprinting performance I have ever seen, no doubt about it. His arrival on the scene over the last two years has been explosive and he thoroughly deserves to be Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.

“Every now and then comes an athlete for the times and I believe Usain Bolt is that athlete. It happened for me in 1996, it happened with Carl Lewis in 1984 and Jesse Owens in 1936 and now it is happening for Usain. He doesn’t just want to win races and medals, he wants to test the limits of human ability. I am happy for him and I congratulate him on breaking my 200 metres world record.

“I can’t say he’s the greatest sprinter I’ve ever seen - yet. For him to be the greatest, he’ll have to win gold at another Olympics or a World Championship, show some consistency and longevity. But there’s no reason for me to think he can’t do it,” added Johnson.

Bolt is in Canada to compete in the 100 metres race at the Festival of Excellence, a world-class track and field meeting to be held at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre on June 11

The other nominees for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award were Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals in Beijing, Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who won the Olympic gold medal, plus his fourth straight French Open title and his first Wimbledon crown, motor sport racers Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi and Portugal and Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Laureus World Sports Awards are the only global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a collection of the world’s greatest sportsmen and women. The living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Laureus World Sports Awards recognise sporting achievement during the period January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008.

In Rome last week, at the first Awards event, Russian pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva received the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award from Laureus Academy members Sir Bobby Charlton, Marcel Desailly and Alberto Tomba.

The winners of this year’s other Laureus World Sports Awards will receive their Awards during a series of presentations to be made during June. Because of the current economic situation Laureus and its partners have decided to forego the usual spring Awards Ceremony. The key focus for Laureus during 2009 will be to support the funding and activities of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The Laureus Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception Laureus has raised €20 million for projects which have helped improve the lives of more than one million young people.

For further information please contact:
Mal Thompson
Laureus Global Communications
Tel:   +44 (0)20 7514 2749  
Fax: +44 (0)20 7514 2782
Email: publicrelations@laureus.com
Website: www.laureus.com
Photo Archive: For photos of Laureus events please visit www.laureusarchive.com

A Video News Release (VNR) of the presentation will be available in broadcast quality (MPEG2) download from the Laureus Media Portal from 15:00 local (19:00 GMT).

The VNR will contain: Interview with Usain Bolt on his reaction to winning the Laureus Award / Coverage of the presentation / GVs of Toronto and venue / Reactions of members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

Requests for access to this package should be made to latasha.jastrzebski@laureus.com. Details of the Media Portal will be sent by return mail. For assistance please contact:
Laureus Production & Broadcast Services
Tel:   +44 (0) 207 514 2869  
Mob:   +44 (0) 782 731 9157  

The full list of nominees for the 2009 Laureus World Sports Awards is:

Laureus World Sportsman of the Year….WINNER: Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) – first man to win 100m, 200m & 4x100m Olympic gold medals in world records
Lewis Hamilton (UK) - youngest ever Formula One World Champion at 23 years and 300 days
Rafael Nadal (Spain) – won French Open, Wimbledon & Olympic gold medal to become tennis No.1
Michael Phelps (US) – won eight gold medals in a single Olympiad to overtake Mark Spitz’s record
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – FIFA World Player of the Year, scored 42 goals for Manchester United
Valentino Rossi (Italy) - beat Giacomo Agostini’s record 68 500cc wins, and won 6th senior world title

Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year….WINNER: Yelena Isinbayeva
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) –became first woman to win 5,000m & 10,000m double at same Olympics
Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) – created her 24th world record in Beijing to win the pole vault gold medal
Lorena Ochoa (Mexico) – won seven tournaments in 2008, was almost $1m ahead on money list
Stephanie Rice (Australia) –won three swimming gold medals in Beijing; set 5 world records in 2008
Lindsey Vonn (US) – won Alpine World Cup title, also World Cup discipline leader in downhill
Venus Williams (US) – won her 5th Wimbledon title in 2008, also won Olympic doubles gold medal

Laureus World Team of the Year
Boston Celtics (US) – beat Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA play-offs for a record 17th time
China Olympic Team – best ever Olympic result, led medals table with 51 gold, 21 silver, 28 bronze
GB Olympic Cycle Team (UK) – dominated the Beijing velodrome with 8 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze
Jamaica Olympic Sprint Team – beat US favourites for a near clean sweep of Olympic sprint medals
Manchester United (UK) - won third European Champions League and also English Premier League
Spain Football Team - won European Championship, their first major title for 44 years

Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year
Rebecca Adlington (UK) - 19, unknown at the start of the year, won Olympic 400m & 800m freestlye
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) – 21, won his first Grand Slam tennis title at the Australian Open
Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) – 20, won first Grand Slam at French Open, was tennis World No.1 for 9 weeks
Anthony Kim (US) – 23, won two US PGA events, and was star of US Ryder Cup win
Sebastian Vettel (Germany) – youngest ever F1 Grand Prix winner, at 21 years, 73 days, at Monza
Zou Kai (China) - won three gymnastic gold medals in Beijing on his Olympic debut

Laureus World Comeback of the Year
Vitali Klitschko (Ukraine) – regained World Heavyweight Championship at 37 after four years out
Anna Meares (Australia) – won Olympic silver medal eight months after breaking neck in cycle crash
Greg Norman (Australia) – finished 3rd in British Open golf at the age of 53, while on his honeymoon
Matthias Steiner (Germany) – won weightlifting Olympic gold a year after his wife died in car crash
Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands) - won Olympic swimming gold medal after beating leukaemia
Tiger Woods (US) - returned two months after serious knee injury to win US Open golf championship

Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
Daniel Dias (Brazil) – 20, leading swimmer at Paralympics with 4 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze medals
April Holmes (US) – world’s fastest female amputee, won 100 metres at Paralympics
Darren Kenny (UK) – Paralympic cyclist who won 4 gold and 1 silver medals in Beijing.
Jonas Jacobsson (Sweden) – has won a shooting gold medal in the eight Paralympics since 1980
Teresa Perales (Spain) – won 3 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals in Paralympic swimming
Zhang Lixin (China) - became the local hero in Beijing with four wheelchair racing gold medals

Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year
Julien Absalon (France) - became first man to defend Olympic cross-country mountain bike title
Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) - won surfing world title in rookie year 2007, and also 2008
Aaron Hadlow (UK) – 19, won PKRA kiteboarding world tour for fifth straight time
Tanner Hall (US) – now the most successful Winter X Games athlete ever with seven gold medals
Kelly Slater (US) - At 36, legendary surfing master Kelly Slater won his ninth world title
Shaun White (US) – snowboarder, won Winter X Games Superpipe and bronze Slopestyle

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Patron of Laureus is Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work.

Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus World Sports Awards and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.

The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Severiano Ballesteros, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, David Douillet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexei Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh and Katarina Witt.

The Laureus Academy members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. The Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception Laureus has raised €20 million for projects which have helped improve the lives of more than one million young people. The Foundation addresses issues in particular involving, but not limited to, young people impacted by social exclusion, gun and gang violence, discrimination, community integration, peace and reconciliation, and education.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today.

There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters have been voting to create a shortlist of six nominations in five categories – Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year. The nominations for two additional categories - the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year and the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability are produced by Specialist Panels. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners in all seven categories.

Laureus was founded by its Patrons Daimler and Richemont and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone.

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest automaker, can look back on a unique tradition. The premium brand stands for modern, innovative automobiles, for quality, safety, comfort and design. Mercedes-Benz enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in the area of safety technology. Many pioneering technical innovations that are standard automotive features today were first seen in a Mercedes-Benz car. The car with the star also has an excellent reputation with regard to quality, value for money and customer satisfaction. Mercedes-Benz is a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since the beginning of the Foundations’ operations in 2000, Mercedes-Benz has shared and supported the goals and values of this worldwide charity programme where sports play the core role in the fight against social issues - Laureus has become a vital element of the corporate social responsibility programme of Mercedes-Benz.

IWC Schaffhausen
For more than a century, IWC Schaffhausen has been producing precision products of complex functionality and outstanding user-friendliness for watch connoisseurs who expect more from their watch than just having an accurate timekeeper. Since its foundation in 1868, the International Watch Company has built up a reputation as a long-established Swiss watchmaking firm with a passion for inventions, innovative solutions and technical refinements. Today the brand is more successful than at any time in its history. IWC uses this strength in a programme of corporate social responsibility initiatives at home and abroad. In 2005, IWC entered into a long-term commitment to become a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Vodafone
Vodafone, the world’s leading international mobile communications group, with over 303 million proportionate customers and equity interests in 27 countries across five continents and a further 40 partner networks worldwide, is supporting Laureus as a new Global Partner, with a five year agreement which began in 2008 and concludes in 2012. Vodafone is a long-standing supporter of sport sponsorship and is pleased to be part of an organisation that celebrates sporting excellence both at a grass roots level through the humanitarian work worldwide of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and at elite level through the annual Laureus World Sports Awards, which honours the achievements of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen.

# # #


Keywords · Usain Bolt · Laureus Foundation · Michael Johnson


Name: Mal Thompson
Organization: Laureus Foundation
Email:
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7514 2749
URL: http://www.laureus.com/


Please refer all questions to the company listed above issuing the press release. SFC will not be able to assist you with any inquiries and disclaims any content in these press releases.

This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), or the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of any country.

Disclaimer Notice: By providing links to other Web Sites, Sports Features Communications® does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these web sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked Web Site to http://www.sportsfeatures.com.