Elaine Thompson-Herah, Eliud Kipchoge and Allyson Felix (© Getty Images)
Olympic champions Elaine Thompson-Herah, Allyson Felix and Eliud Kipchoge have been nominated for the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year honours in this year’s Laureus Awards.
Despite the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the return of major events – including the Olympic Games in Tokyo – provided unforgettable drama in the sporting world, and they are reflected in the lists of nominees.
Thompson-Herah, who last year was named the World Female Athlete of the Year, is nominated for the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award following her triple gold-medal-winning performance in Tokyo, where she won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. Felix, meanwhile, is nominated off the back of her record-breaking medal tally, with her 400m bronze and 4x400m gold medals taking her count to 11 medals. They are joined on the list of nominees by swimmers Emma McKeon and Katie Ledecky, tennis player Ashleigh Barty and football player Alexia Putellas.
“She is an athlete who just completely dominated their sport last year,” athletics legend and Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson said of Thompson-Herah. “100m, 200m, repeating as champion, which is very difficult to do, and threatening one of the oldest and most impressive world records in the books, the women's 100m – we haven't talked about anyone threatening that record for years.”
Kenyan marathon legend Kipchoge is one of six nominees for the men’s award, alongside NFL player Tom Brady, Bayern Munich footballer Robert Lewandowski, Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, tennis player Novak Djokovic and swimmer Caleb Dressel.
“I think we have to conclude that Eliud Kipchoge is now the greatest marathon runner of all time,” said World Athletics President and Laureus Academy Member Sebastian Coe. “I had the great privilege of watching him win his Olympic title in Sapporo. He was so in command of that race that day. His contribution to athletics is Muhammad Ali-esque.”
Olympic triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas and Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra, meanwhile, are nominated for the Breakthrough award.
The winners will be revealed in April, following a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy, comprising 71 sporting legends.