Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, the youngest four-time Formula One world champion in history at 26, was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year at the 2014 Awards held in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. American swimmer Missy Franklin, 18, became the youngest ever winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, while Spain’s Marc Márquez received the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award after winning the MotoGP World Championship at just 20 years and 266 days.
There was double delight for both Germany and Spain when the Awards were announced. Bayern Munich joined Vettel as winners, taking the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, while tennis maestro Rafael Nadal received the Laureus Comeback Award to celebrate, with Márquez, a wonderful night for Spanish sport.
Vettel’s success was particularly satisfying for the young German racer, who had been nominated five times for a Laureus Award, before finally winning. His fourth straight World Championship in 2013 saw him join motor racing legends Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost, who all won at least four times, but he did it more quickly than them – at just 26 years and 116 days.
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Franklin was the sensation of the World Championships in Barcelona, becoming the first woman swimmer in history to win six gold medals at a single World Championships – three individual and three relay – at the age of just 18. She continues to refuse prize money and endorsements so that she can maintain her amateur status in college.
Bayern were presented with the Laureus World Team of the Year Award after becoming the first football club to complete the treble of UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup. Six of their players were nominated for the FIFA Player of the Year Award, namely Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Spain’s Márquez was presented with the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award after becoming the youngest ever MotoGP world champion, at 20 years 266 days. He also made history by becoming the youngest winner of a Grand Prix, in Austin in April, at 20 years 63 days.
It was Márquez’s first Laureus Award, but his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal secured his third Laureus Statuette, when he won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award, returning after a seven-month absence because of injury to win Roland Garros and the US Open Major titles and regain his ATP World Tour number one world ranking.
France’s Marie Bochet, aged 19, won the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award after becoming the first athlete to complete a Grand Slam of all five events at one Alpine Skiing World Championships. Britain’s BMX star Jamie Bestwick, now based in the United States, won the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award after becoming the only athlete in X Games history to win eight straight gold medals, two more than legends such as Tony Hawk and Shaun White. The Laureus World Sports Academy presented two additional discretionary Awards.
The Laureus Spirit of Sport Award was won by the Afghanistan national cricket team, who qualified for the Cricket World Cup for the first time in their history, and the Laureus Sport for Good Award was presented to Magic Bus, the sports-based community project in India.
The full list of winners from the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards read as follows:
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.