Bolt, Ennis win Laureus Awards
Rio de Janeiro - Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt and British athletics queen Jessica Ennis won the top prizes as athletics dominated the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday.
Bolt was crowned the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the third time following his triple gold-medal winning performance at London 2012, where he won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m crowns.
Bolt pipped a star-studded field of nominees which included British Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi, British distance runner Mo Farah and German F1 ace Sebastian Vettel.
The winners of the awards are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, a jury made up of 46 sports stars.
Ennis, who delighted her homeland with victory in the Olympic heptathlon last year, won the World Sportswoman of the Year Award.
"It is so surreal to stand here in front of all these amazing sportsmen and sportswomen," Ennis said.
Meanwhile retired US swimmer Michael Phelps was also honoured with the Laureus Exceptional Achievement Award after becoming the most decorated Olympian in history in London.
Phelps quit swimming after the London Games where he took his career tally to 22 medals, including 18 golds.
"It has been an amazing career and it is crazy to think that it is over," Phelps said in accepting the award. "But I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in sport. I wanted to change swimming and take it to a level, and I have."
Meanwhile Europe's golfers won the Team of the Year prize following their remarkable fight back to beat the United States in the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
The Awards were announced in seven categories. The winners were:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Usain Bolt
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Jessica Ennis
Laureus World Team of the Year: European Ryder Cup Team
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Andy Murray
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Felix Sanchez
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Daniel Dias
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Felix Baumgartner