Laureus World Sports Awards: From Nelson Mandela's speech to Viking clap, best moments from past ceremonies

Be it an unthinkable comeback to sport, an unprecedented number of titles or a video which leaves the world teary-eyed. The world of sport is all about moments which take the breath away. Each year, Laureus World Sports Awards honour athletes and teams for such moments or collections of moments which stand out.

Over the years, the Laureus Awards ceremonies have also thrown up some remarkable moments. Here’s a look at some of the best moments from Laureus ceremonies:

Nelson Mandela’s speech in 2000

The Laureus movement had a memorable beginning — with a speech from Nelson Mandela, who was named the Laureus Patron. Mandela, in a rousing speech, said: “Sport 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. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair.”

His words went on to inspire the birth of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which has gone on to help youngsters overcome issues like poverty, homelessness, war, juvenile violence, drug abuse, discrimination and AIDS.

The Foundation now supports over 150 projects worldwide.

Rossi turns up on bike to receive award in 2006

Valentino Rossi arrives in style to collect his trophy in 2006. Image courtesy: Laureus

Valentino Rossi arrives in style to collect his trophy in 2006. Image courtesy: Laureus

The Laureus World Sports Awards are one of the rare occasions where athletes are seen in public sans the bats and the racquets, and the running shoes, and the various paraphernalia associated with their discipline. But it turns out Valentino Rossi is not one of those athletes.

In 2006, Laureus bestowed upon him the Spirit of Sport Award for raising the profile of MotoGP during his five-year World Championship reign. The eccentric rider turned up on stage astride his Yamaha R1 motorbike to collect the award from MotoGP Legend Giacomo Agostini and Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Nadal takes on Kevin Spacey…in TT!

It is near impossible to beat Rafael Nadal at tennis. But how good is he at the table tennis?

Pretty good, as Kevin Spacey found out after challenging the Spaniard to a game of table tennis at the 2011 ceremony. The Spanish ace won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award that year and ended that night with a victory on the TT table too.

Even the Hollywood actor screaming, “Oh my God! It’s Federer,” didn’t work.

India's brush with the Laureus Awards

In 2014, India’s Magic Bus was given the Laureus Sport for Good Award for using sport to bring about social change. The Non-Government Organisation (NGO) aims to take children out of poverty through a programme of mentoring and coaching in sports. Magic Bus’s Founder and Chairman, Matthew Spacie, collected the award from the Chairman of Laureus Sports for Good Foundation, Edwin Moses.

Benedict Cumberbatch takes on Olympic champion

Everyone knows what happens when a popular actor takes on an athlete at a sport after Spacey’s TT match with Nadal. So, when the organisers made China’s Olympic table tennis champion Deng Yaping play against Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in 2015, they tried to give the latter an advantage by making the Chinese champ play with a wooden cooking spoon.

Bear in mind that Yaping has been voted as China’s athlete of the century. What do you think happened next? Isn’t it elementary, my dear Watson?

Bill Murray sings the 'Yogi Bear' song for Loew

Joachim Loew, who has gained worldwide fame for being the coach of the all-conquering Germany national football team, is popularly known as ‘Yogi’, a shortened version of his first name. But for some like Hollywood star Bill Murray, the nickname is a reminder of a certain comic book and cartoon-animated bear. Murray went to the extent of singing the theme song of the cartoon in 2016 before ushering Loew on stage to present an award.

Iceland's Viking clap in 2017

Iceland caught the imagination of the world after their exploits at 2016 European Championship in France after an astounding run to the quarter-finals. What also caught the eye of the world was the Viking clap the players would lead the supporters into after each match. At the 2017 ceremony, all of the delegates tried their hand at the Viking clap. And, it was incredible!


Published Date: Aug 01, 2017 05:21 pm | Updated Date: Aug 01, 2017 05:21 pm


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