The world's top footballer Lionel Messi and the dominant F1 driver Lewis Hamilton were jointly declared the winners of the prestigious Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award here on Monday.
Six-time Formula One world champion Hamilton and six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Messi were so close in terms of their achievements in 2019 that even the ultimate sporting jury, the Laureus World Sports Academy, could not split them, with the voting being tied for the very first time in the 20-year history of the Laureus Awards.
American athletes are celebrating four Awards. Simone Biles confirmed her place in the history of Laureus, winning her third coveted Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award in four years.
At the Gymnastics World Championships in Germany in 2019, the 22-year-old won five gold medals, including a record fifth all-around world title and helped United States win a fifth straight team medal. Biles has now won 25 World Championship medals, proving herself as the most decorated gymnast in history.
Snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim won the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award. She's now a double Laureus Award winner after her Action Sportsperson win in 2019.
In the Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category, Oksana Masters, born with limb impairments caused by radiation from Chernobyl and adopted by an American single parent, was recognized by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
She won five gold medals and a silver at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships, plus the cross-country overall World Cup title. She also won silver medals at the Para Cycling Road World Championships.
South Bronx United, a football program based in New York, was honored with the Sport for Good Award. The program uses football to achieve educational outcomes for young people from underserved communities.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup winners South Africa won their second Laureus World Team of the Year Award, beating Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool and the US Women's Football Team.
The German F3 driver Sophia Florsch won the World Comeback of the Year as she recovered from serious injuries caused by the crashing accident at Macau circuit and raced again in the Macau Grand Prix.
The World Breakthrough of the Year went to Colombian 22-year-old cyclist Egan Bernal who became the youngest rider to win the Tour de France in his second attempt for the 110-year-old event. He was the first Colombian to win the world famous cycling event.
The Sporting Moment Award was won by India cricket star Sachin Tendulkar. Voted by fans around the world, the award celebrated moments from the past two decades where sport has unified people in the most extraordinary way. Tendulkar led India to the victory at the 2011 ICC World Cup. It was India's first World Cup win on home soil and their second ever triumph.
German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the basketball. Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career at the Dallas Mavericks and retired at the end of the 2018-19 season. He is the only NBA player to record at least 31,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,000 steals, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 three-pointers.
The Laureus World Sports Academy recognized the Spanish Basketball Federation with the Academy Exceptional Achievement Award which has only ever been granted four times. Spanish men's team won the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China while the women's team won three of the last four EuroBasket championships.