Laureus World Sports Awards

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson analyzes Usain Bolt

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Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt can break 19 seconds in the 200m, as he’s said before, but isn’t sure if Bolt has passed his prime yet.

Johnson, the former 200m world record holder, was asked about Bolt, the current 200m world record holder, at the Laureus Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur this week.

Johnson broke the 200m world record twice in 1996, clocking 19.66 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Trials and 19.32 at the Atlanta Olympics. Bolt took it lower with a 19.30 at the 2008 Olympics and 19.19 at the 2009 World Championships.

“I think [Bolt] could go under 19 seconds, but then beyond that I’m not quite sure,” Johnson said, according to Sportal. “Technically, he’s not the best. Technically he’s a little bit all over the place and that’s a race where the longer it goes, the more you need to be really efficient in order to be able to maintain the level of speed that you want.

“And so that’s something that, if were to clean up some of those things, I think he could go under 19 seconds.”

The comments echo what Johnson said in 2011. Johnson has also said Bolt could run the 100m in 9.4 seconds. The current mark, set by Bolt in 2009, is 9.58.

Even though Johnson says Bolt could go faster, he also cautioned that the Jamaican superstar’s fastest days may be behind him. Bolt is 27 years old. Johnson was 28 when he broke those world records in 1996.

“If I had to guess and go out there and say whether or not we’ve seen the best of him, I would say probably, but you never know with him,” Johnson said, according to the report. “There’s the argument for both. You could say that, as a sprinter gets older you’re not going to get faster, probably, you’re going to get slower and not faster.

“Then on the other side of things, I don’t know if he has done everything that he possibly could to go out there and be the best that he can be.”

Johnson also pointed out that Jamaica’s reign in sprinting could last beyond the era of Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who is also 27.

“You’ve got young kids there inspired by the success of Bolt and [Yohan] Blake and all of the Jamaican team, plus there’s been renewed investment in coaching and great training too,” he said, according to Yahoo. “The Jamaicans will continue to be tough for years to come.”

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Missy Franklin wins Laureus Sportswoman of the Year

Missy Franklin, Mark Spitz
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Four-time 2012 Olympic champion Missy Franklin became the youngest winner of a Laureus Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year and the first swimmer to take the honor Wednesday.

Franklin was in attendance in Kuala Lumpur to receive the award from seven-time 1972 Olympic champion swimmer Mark Spitz.

The other nominees were German soccer player Nadine Angerer, Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, Slovenian Alpine skier Tina Maze and American tennis player Serena Williams.

Laureus Awards have been presented annually since 2000 for sports performances in the previous year. Spitz gave a little speech before presenting Franklin her award.

“On a personal note, I’m pleased to be able to present you this award for your outstanding achievements and what you accomplished last year, and, more importantly, it’s incredible that she’s only 18 years old, and what marvelous opportunities in life are before her in the future,” Spitz said.

Franklin earned the award for her unprecedented success in 2013, becoming the first woman to win six gold medals a single World Swimming Championships.

“Oh my gosh,” Franklin said after walking on stage in a green dress. “I don’t know what I’m doing here.”

Franklin, 18, expressed her condolences, thoughts and prayers for those affected by the Malaysia Airlines flight tragedy to start her acceptance speech. She joked that she’s not missing any classes at California, where she’s a freshman, because the school is on spring break.

She also said she met Spitz on an elevator in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. Franklin’s parents were in the crowd at the awards show, spending a week in Malaysia together.

“It was just one of the most incredible moments of my life,” Franklin said. “Being here, it’s more than an honor.”

Other award winners:

Sebastian Vettel, Sportsman of the Year
Bayern Munich, Team of the Year
Afghanistan Cricket Team, Spirit of Sport Award
Jamie Bestwick
, Action Sportsperson of the Year
Marie Bochet, Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
Marc Marquez, Breakthrough of the Year

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Laureus World Sports Awards — who will win?

Usain Bolt
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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

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