The Laureus World Sports Awards are awarded annually to sportspeople who have been outstanding during the previous year. The Laureus World Sports Awards were established in 1999 by Founding Patrons Daimler and Richemont and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone. The first gala was held on May 25, 2000 in Monte Carlo.
The selection process has two stages. First, a Selection Panel of the world's leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 80 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in each category. The voting process is monitored by independent auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Then the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners.
The Media Selection Panel:
- Laureus World Sportsman of the Year
- Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
- Laureus World Team of the Year
- Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year
- Laureus World Comeback of the Year
There are two categories voted for by Specialist Panels:
- Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, chosen by a panel of the world's leading alternative sports journalists, and
- Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, which is overseen by the Executive Committee of the International Paralympic Committee.
Three other honours are selected by the Founding Patrons and the Academy. These are the
- Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award
- Laureus Sport for Good Award
- Laureus Spirit of Sport (since 2005)
presented at the Laureus Academy's discretion to people who have made an outstanding contribution to society through sport. The Academy can, if it wishes, also bestow additional Awards.
Each winner receives a Laureus statuette exclusively produced by Cartier. The universal nature of sport is celebrated by the representation of the five continents, which are engraved on the base. The statuettes are 30 cm high and weigh 2.5 kg. Each figure contains 670 g of solid silver with a 650 g gold finish base.
The 2000 gala was held in Monaco at the Sporting Club and was hosted by Jeff Bridges, Ashley Judd and Dylan McDermott. Prince Albert of Monaco was the official host and the Patron was Nelson Mandela. Bon Jovi was the special musical guest.
The 2001 gala was held in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum and was hosted by Heidi Klum and Gregory Hines. Music was by Gabrielle.
The 2002 gala was held in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum and was hosted by Eriq Lasalle, music was by Russell Watson
The 2003 gala was held in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum and was hosted by Eriq Lasalle, music was by ????
The 2004 gala was held in Lisbon at the CCIB and was hosted by Rachel Hunter and John McEnroe, the Patron was Henrique Cardoso, music was by The Corrs.
The 2005 gala was held in Estoril at the Estoril Casino and was hosted by Morgan Freeman, music was by Mary J. Blige.
The 2006 gala was held in Barcelona at the Forum and was hosted by Teri Hatcher and Cuba Gooding Jr, music was by ????.
The 2007 gala was held on 2 April 2007 in Barcelona, Spain. King Juan Carlos I of Spain was the patron. It was hosted by Cuba Gooding Jr. Music was by the Sugababes.
The 2008 awards were held on 18 February 2008 in the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia, attended by President Vladimir Putin and hosted by Cuba Gooding, Jr. Music was by Valery Gergiev and the Marinsky Orchestra.
The 2009 ceremony was cancelled by the Laureus Foundation and its partners due to the world economic crisis; the awards were presented to the winners individually at other events from May to June 2009
The 2010 ceremony was held at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi on 10 March 2010, hosted by Kevin Spacey. Music was by Mika.
The 2011 ceremony was held at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi on February 7 2011, hosted by Kevin Spacey. Music was by Ronan Keating.
The 2012 ceremony was held at the Central Hall Westminster, London on February 6 2012, hosted by Clive Owen.
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