The ninth annual Laureus World Sports Awards is to be held in St Petersburg, Russia, on February 18.
The Laureus World Sports Awards provides a high profile focus as stars of the sporting world come together to salute the finest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year.
The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury – the 43 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today.
Olympic legend Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: â€œI am thrilled that the 2008 Laureus World Sports Awards is to be staged in Russia. This is an important and exciting step for Laureus. St Petersburg is one of the most fascinating and attractive cities in the world and I know that we are ensured a unique event. I am confident that the 2008 Laureus Awards will be an unforgettable experience. I believe the staging of the Awards Ceremony in St Petersburg will add enormous kudos to Laureus, and I hope the prestige of our event will add to the reputation of St Petersburg as a great sporting venue.â€
There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the worldâ€™s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 120 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in various categories including Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year and Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year.
The 43 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners. The Laureus Academy members also vote for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, the nominations for which are made by specialist panels.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Severiano Ballesteros, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, David Douillet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, MornÃ© du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh and Katarina Witt.
Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements – the Laureus World Sports Awards, the Laureus World Sports Academy and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation – which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.
The Patron of Laureus is Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said: â€œSport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.â€ This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work.
The Laureus World Sports Academy members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. The Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Its work focuses on helping young people overcome poverty, homelessness, war, violence, drugs abuse, discrimination and AIDS. Since its inception over 150,000 underprivileged young people have been helped in over 50 projects around the world.
Laureus is supported by its Founding Patrons Richemont and Daimler represented by their brands IWC Schaffhausen and Mercedes-Benz