A great night in sporting history unfolded as the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards took centre stage at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday.
For the first time in the history of Laureus, two names were etched on the awards’ World Sportsman of the Year accolade, with the honour being shared between none other than Formula One driving champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona striker, Lionel Messi.
This one of a kind feat was well owed to the Brit, Hamilton, romping to his sixth drivers’ title at the end of last year while Messi, who in December was awarded his sixth Ballon d’Or, guided Barcelona to the La Liga crown and his 10th at the Blaugrana. In his acceptance speech in the latter’s absence, Hamilton highlighted the issues around the lack of diversity in Formula One.
I grew up in a sport that has given my life meaning. But I’ve grown up in a sport which has little to no diversity, and this is an issue we are continually facing,” said Hamilton. “It’s all of our responsibilities to use our platform to push for gender equality and inclusivity. We have to make sure we are engaging and representing what the world is today.”
Meanwhile, American Olympic gymnast Simone Biles – who won five gold medals in Stuttgart last year to become the most decorated athlete at the World Championships – scooped the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year for the third time.
This means the world to me,” said the 22-year-old, speaking to the audience from Houston, USA where she hosted an event and is training for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. “I want to thank my family and friends!”