Monaco: Sprint king Usain Bolt pipped the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Le Bron James to win the ‘Sportsman of the Year’ trophy for the record-equalling fourth time while gymnast Simone Biles clinched the top honour in the women’s category at the Laureus World Awards here.
They are the little and large of sport – while Bolt stands 1.95 metres, Biles measures just 1.45 metres – but they were both giants at the Rio Olympics and enjoyed an ecstatic welcome as they received their statuettes here, the birthplace of the first ever Laureus awards 17 years ago.
Bolt, who won this award in 2009, 2010 and 2013, walked away with the ‘Oscar of Sports’ for the fourth time, joining tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams, and surfer Kelly Slater as four-time Laureus award winner.
Bolt received his award from legendary Michael Johnson, who urged him not to break other people’s records.To which Bolt responded by saying, “I am sorry to have broken your record.”
“Thanks for the wonderful award. Laureus is one of the biggest awards for me. This is my 4th award and to be equalling it with someone like Roger Federer is great. I am in great company. It is special,” he added.
Olympic gymnastics champion Biles notched up the ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ trophy, courtesy her brilliant show at the Rio Games, where she finished with four golds and a bronze.
“Wow! I am speechless, it’s an honour to receive this award from Prince Albert and Nadia Comaneci who I looked up to for so many years. This award isn’t only for me but also for all the other nominees in my category. We went through everything to be where we are, we have achieved so much, so thank you so much,” said Biles.
The most decorated Olympian of all-time, Michael Phelps bagged the ‘Comeback of the Year’ award after returning to the swimming pool and scooping five more gold medals.
After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps retired from swimming but came out of the retirement and subsequently at the Rio Games last year, he bagged as many as five gold medals and a silver.
“Looking back at my career today, I can say that Rio was my greatest race,” said Phelps. More PTI