Usain Bolt

Laureus World Sports Awards — who will win?

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It’s unlikely Usain Bolt and LeBron James will go head to head in athletic competition any time soon (or ever), but they’re up for the same honor at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Wednesday.

The annual Laureus Awards honor athletes from 2013 “who best demonstrate supreme athletic performance and achievement — such as consecutive or multiple world, continental, international or national and major championship titles or the establishment of world records or best performances.”

Here’s a look at each award that will be announced in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. ET:

Sportsman of the Year Nominees
Usain Bolt — Won 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at 2013 World Championships; IAAF Male Athlete of the Year
Mo Farah — Won 5000m, 10,000m at 2013 World Championships, broke European 1500m record
LeBron James — Won NBA Championship with Miami Heat; NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP
Rafael Nadal — Won French Open, U.S. Open; ATP year-end No. 1
Cristiano Ronaldo — Scored 69 goals for Real Madrid/Portugal in 2013; FIFA Player of the Year
Sebastian Vettel — Won 13 Grand Prix races, including nine straight; Formula One world champion

Bolt has won this award three of the past five years — after his Olympic triumphs in 2008 and 2012 and his 2009 World Championships record-breaking performances. Bolt was magnificent in 2013, but not unbeatable and didn’t break any of his records.

That would seem to open the door for another nominee to take the crown this year. A major U.S. team sport player has never won the award, which has been given out yearly since 2000. Could James be the first?

Nadal earned Sportsman of the Year honors after winning three Grand Slams in 2010. He missed the Australian Open due to injury and lost in the first round of Wimbledon, which could hurt his chances.

Ronaldo beat out Lionel Messi for FIFA’s top honor in 2013, but Real Madrid didn’t win La Liga and bowed out in the Champions League semifinals. It was also a non-World Cup or European Championships year, and no soccer player has ever won the award.

The German Vettel looks to join countryman Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to take the award. Vettel’s 2013 was one of the greatest years, if not the greatest, in F1 history. He matched Schumacher’s records for most wins in one season and broke (or tied, depending on what statistics you believe) the record for consecutive wins.

Sportswoman of the Year nominees
Nadine Angerer — Goalie and captain for Germany’s European Championships winning team; FIFA Player of the Year
Missy Franklin — First woman to win six gold medals at a single World Swimming Championships
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — Won 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay at World Championships; IAAF Female Athlete of the Year
Yelena Isinbayeva — Won pole vault at World Track and Field Championships
Tina Maze — Alpine skiing World Cup overall champion with the most points (2,414) by a man or woman in a single season
Serena Williams — Won French Open, U.S. Open; WTA year-end No. 1

Angerer, like James and Ronaldo, will try to become the first team sport athlete to win. She excelled in a non-Olympic, non-Women’s World Cup year.

Franklin did something unprecedented at the biggest swim meet of 2013, but it was fellow American Katie Ledecky who was named FINA Athlete of the Year. No female swimmer has won the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year.

Fraser-Pryce’s worlds sweep, arguably more impressive than Bolt’s, was a first for a woman. She’s looking to become the third straight track and field athlete to win Sportswoman of the Year, following Vivian Cheruiyot and Jessica Ennis.

It’s tough for an athlete like Isinbayeva to state her case on a list like this. The Russian can only win one title at any meet she enters as a pole vaulter. She won the biggest competition in 2013 in Moscow and already took home this award after her 2008 Olympic season.

Maze had arguably the greatest World Cup season in skiing history and added a World Championship in the super-G. Lindsey Vonn and Janica Kostelic previously won this award

Williams earned Sportswoman of the Year after winning the last three majors of 2002 as part of her Serena Slam and again after winning two majors in 2009. In 2002, she went 56-5 with eight titles. In 2009, she went 50-12 with three titles. In 2013, she went 78-4 with 11 titles after going 58-4 in 2012.

Here are nominees for the other four awards:

Team of the Year
New Zealand Rugby Union — Went undefeated in 2013
Bayern Munich — First club to complete the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup treble
Brazil Men’s Soccer — Confederations Cup champions
Bob and Mike Bryan — Won Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon doubles titles
Miami Heat — NBA champions with franchise-record 66 regular-season wins
Red Bull F1 —  Formula One Constructors’ World Championship winner, led by drivers Vettel and Mark Webber

Comeback of the Year
Yelena Isinbayeva — Won pole vault world title after taking bronze at 2012 Olympics
Rafael Nadal — Reclaimed the No. 1 ranking after missing seven months with a knee injury
Oracle Team USA — Rallied from 8-1 down to win the America’s Cup 9-8
Tony Parker — Returned from eye injury to help the Spurs to the 2013 NBA Finals, France to a European title
Ronaldinho — Helped Atletico Mineiro to the Copa Libertadores title at age 33
Tiger Woods — Regained world No. 1 ranking; PGA Tour Player of the Year

Breakthrough of the Year
Afghanistan Cricket Team — Reached first Cricket World Cup
Marc Marquez — Youngest MotoGP world champion
Raphael Holzdeppe — Pole vault world champion at 23
Nairo Quintana — Young Riders and King of the Mountains winner at 2013 Tour de France; second overall
Justin Rose — Won first major championship at U.S. Open
Adam Scott — Won first major championship at the Masters

Action Sportsperson of the Year
Jamie Bestwick — BMX Vert champion at Barcelona X Games
Bob Burnquist — Skateboarding Big Air champion at Munich X Games
Mick Fanning — Beat Kelly Slater for surfing world title
John John Florence — Received a perfect 10 for an Alley Oop at the Oakley Pro surfing event in Bali
Maya Gabeira — Lost consciousness and nearly drowned attempting to surf the biggest wave ever by a woman
Shaun White — 2013 Winter X Games halfpipe champion

Sportsperson of the Year with a disability
Marie Bochet — Swept the standing downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, super combined at World Alpine Skiing Championships
Marcel Hug — Wheelchair racer won five golds, one silver at IPC World Track and Field Championships
Tatyana McFadden — First athlete to win six gold medals at a single IPC World Track and Field Championships and to complete a major marathon Grand Slam in one year
Sophie Pascoe — Five gold medals in five events with four world records at the IPC World Swimming Championships
Sarah Louise Rung — Four gold medals at IPC World Swimming Championships
Olga Sviderska — Seven gold medals at IPC World Swimming Championships

IOC opposes bid to trademark Olympic four-ring glitch logo

Geraint Thomas cuts Julian Alaphilippe’s Tour de France lead

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FOIX, France (AP) — When one French rider starts to fade, another comes to the fore. One way or the other, France may still be on course for its first Tour de France winner since 1985.

Dancing over his saddle, his mouth wide open and gasping for air, Thibaut Pinot launched a ferocious attack Sunday and profited from the first signs of weakness in the high mountains from French race leader Julian Alaphilippe to edge closer to the yellow jersey in the overall standings.

Ascending the last uphill finish in the Pyrenees with a display of power and fluidity that signaled that he’ll also be a major contender to win the Tour, Pinot gained time on all his rivals for the second consecutive day following his triumph at the famed Tourmalet mountain in the previous stage.

Heading to the second and final rest day Monday ahead of what promises to be a climactic final week in the Alps, the race is exquisitely poised. Six riders are all within 2 minutes, 14 seconds of each other at the top of the standings.

The six terrible ascents above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) in the Alps, peppered over three mountain stages, will likely decide who will stand on top of the podium on the Champs-Elysees next Sunday.

TOUR DE FRANCE: TV Schedule | Full Standings

“The high mountains have only just begun,” said Alaphilippe. “The Alps are going to be a big mouthful.”

Surging from the mist and rain, Pinot crossed the finish line of Sunday’s Stage 15 in second place, 33 seconds behind Simon Yates, who posted a second stage win after a long solo raid, three days after his first stage victory in the southwestern mountain range.

The 29-year-old Pinot was irresistible when he made his move seven kilometers from the summit. Only Emanuel Buchmann and defending champion Geraint Thomas’ teammate Egan Bernal could follow. But Pinot accelerated again about 2 kilometers later to drop them for good.

Pinot moved to fourth place overall, 1 minute, 50 seconds behind Alaphilippe.

“The weather conditions and the stage were good for me, I had good sensations, I needed to make the most of it,” said Pinot. “I need to keep going up in the general classification, the most difficult stages are looming.”

While Pinot was escorted by his faithful Groupama-FDJ teammate David Gaudu in the final ascent toward Prat d’Albis, Alaphilippe was isolated without a single teammate to help him in the 12-kilometer climb and cracked, yet managed to salvage his yellow jersey.

Alaphilippe was so exhausted after his effort up the hill, where he grimaced through the rain, that he had to grip a roadside barrier afterward while he caught his breath.

“If I crack I hope he’ll carry the torch for the French,” Alaphilippe said about Pinot.

Thomas, who had already conceded time to Pinot at the Tourmalet, remained second in the general classification. He got dropped when Pinot took the lead from a reduced group of contenders but did not panic. He rode at his pace until he accelerated with 1.5 kilometers left to cut the overall gap on Alaphilippe from 2 minutes, 2 seconds to 1:35. Steven Kruijswijk of the Netherlands stood third overall, 1:47 off the pace.

Thomas said after the stage he could have tried to follow Pinot earlier but instead opted for a conservative approach because he did not want to bring back Alaphilippe to the front. Bernal was with Pinot and the Welshman would not take the risk of chasing down their common rival. Bernal, a Colombian with excellent climbing skills, remains involved in the fight for the yellow jersey, 2:02 behind Alaphilippe.

“I felt better than yesterday but I needed to try to pace it when it all kicked off,” Thomas said. “It’s a difficult one, tactics wise. I wanted to go, I had the legs to go but I wasn’t going to chase down Egan Bernal with Alaphilippe on my wheel.”

Coming right after the ascent of the Tourmalet, Stage 15 ran close to the ancient Cathar castles and was a punishing ride totaling more than 39 kilometers of climbing.

Alaphilippe was so exhausted after his effort up the hill, where he grimaced and dribbled through the rain, that he had to grip a roadside barrier afterward while he caught his breath.

“If I crack I hope he’ll carry the torch for the French,” Alaphilippe said about Pinot.

Yates, the Vuelta defending champion, was given a free reign by the peloton when he took part in an early breakaway as he was not a threat overall. He made his decisive move about 9 kilometers from the line.

“I’m very proud of that,” Yates said of his second victory at this Tour.

Watch world-class cycling events throughout the year with the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass, including all 21 stages of the Tour de France live & commercial-free, plus access to renowned races like La Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, the UCI World Championships and many more.

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce turns back the clock, wins another Diamond League

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to show she’s just as fast as before childbirth, winning a Diamond League 100m in 10.78 seconds in London on Sunday.

Fraser-Pryce, a 32-year-old, two-time Olympic champion, beat a field that included the two fastest women of 2018, Brit Dina Asher-Smith (10.92) and Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou (10.98).

It lacked the only woman ranked higher than Fraser-Pryce this season, Rio Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, who edged her countrywoman at the Jamaican Championships on June 21.

But Fraser-Pryce has now broken 10.79 three times this season, her first time doing so since 2013. She could become the oldest woman to win an Olympic or world 100m title in Doha in two months.

“10.78 is a fabulous time,” she said. “My aim for Doha is definitely to be on the podium. For me, it’s a long season from here, so I am hoping my experience will come into play.”

Full London results are here. The meet lacked U.S. stars who are preparing for this week’s USATF Outdoor Championships, where world champs spots are at stake. The Diamond League resumes Aug. 18 in Birmingham, Great Britain.

Also Sunday, Kenyan Hellen Obiri won an anticipated head-to-head with Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan in the 5000m. Obiri, the world champion, clocked 14:20.36, the world’s fastest time in two years. Hassan, who nine days ago broke the mile world record, took third in a European record 14:22.12.

Swede Daniel Ståhl won a discus that included the world’s top three this year and the reigning Olympic and world gold and silver medalists. Stahl launched a 68.56-meter throw to overtake Jamaican Fedrick Dacres.

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