All Blacks, Pascoe score Laureus nominations

Last updated 06:36 27/02/2014
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DOUBLE NOMINATION: The All Blacks have been nominated for the 2014 Laureus World Team of the Year Award, following a ballot by the world's media.

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The All Blacks have been nominated for the 2014 Laureus World Team of the Year Award, following a ballot by the world's media.

The All Blacks won all 14 of their Test matches in 2013, a 100% record - the first time a national team have achieved this since rugby went professional

This is the fifth occasion that the All Blacks have been nominated for the Laureus Team of the Year Award and the third time in the last four years.

This year New Zealand is celebrating a double Laureus sporting success as swimmer Sophie Pascoe, aged 20, has been short-listed for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

The 15th Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2013, is the premier honours event on the international sporting calendar.

The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a globally televised Awards Ceremony staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, March 26.

Among the giants of sport who have been nominated are three-time Laureus winners Usain Bolt and Serena Williams, brilliant young Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, short-listed for the fifth time, and Tiger Woods, who won in 2000, the inaugural year of Laureus, who is selected again after returning to the summit of world golf.

Spain's Rafael Nadal and Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva, both two-time Laureus winners, are nominated in two categories.

One of the most intriguing questions in this year's contest is whether charismatic Real Madrid and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo or Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, both nominated, can become the first team player to win the individual Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.

The highlight of the All Blacks year was their six wins in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship, including an impressive 38-27 win over South Africa in Johannesburg.

Led by veteran Richie McCaw, the team includes Kieran Read at No 8, who was named International Player of the Year in 2013, and first five-eighth Dan Carter, the highest points scorer in Test match rugby.

Laureus World Sports Academy Member and former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick said: "Perfection in sport is nearly always an impossible goal, yet in 2013 the All Blacks came very near to it. If there were any doubts about the best team in international rugby heading into the start of the 2013, there was no doubt by the end of the calendar year.

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"The All Blacks did not lose a Test match, though there were one or two nervous moments, particularly Ryan Crotty's last minute try in the 14th match in Ireland to keep the 100% record. It's the first time any team has won all 14 games in a calendar year since the professional era of international rugby was introduced and for an All Blacks team simply laden with talent, that's an honour that befits them perfectly.

"For me, as a former All Black, it was the style of their game and their expansive play that was just so wonderful to watch. Regardless of what circumstance they might have found themselves in, they always managed to pull through with sheer brilliance in attack and huge energy in defence.

"The highlight? Obviously that impressive 38-27 win over South Africa in Johannesburg was unforgettable. Kieran Read was the IRB Player of the Year, but you could make a case for quite a few of the others."

In the Laureus World Team of the Year category, also nominated are Bayern Munich, winners of the UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup, the Brazil Men's Football Team, winners of the Confederations Cup, American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who held all four Grand Slam doubles titles and the Olympic gold medal, Miami Heat, who won the NBA title for the second straight year, and Red Bull, winners of a fourth straight Formula One Constructors' World Championship.

Sophie Pascoe produced a tour de force in the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, winning five gold medals in her five events. She also set four world records and was voted IPC Athlete of the Month for August.

In September, she broke another two world records at the New Zealand Short Course Championships.

Her achievements in 2013 continued her earlier successes. In 2008 at the Beijing Paralympics, as a 15-year-old, she won three gold medals and one silver and four years later in London she won three gold and three silver medals.

Sophie lost her left leg below the knee after an accident in the family garden when she was just two.

The competition is likely to be particularly fierce for the Laureus Disability Award, where the Nominees between them won an amazing 32 gold medals in world championship events in 2013.

Also nominated are wheelchair racers Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug, two other swimmers, Norway's Sarah Louise Rung and Ukraine's Olga Sviderska, and French skier Marie Bochet.

The full list of Nominees for the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards is:

Laureus World Sportsman of the Year

Usain Bolt (Jamaica) Athletics - won 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m World Championship gold medals

Mo Farah (UK) Athletics - won classic 5,000m and 10,000m double in World Championships

LeBron James (US) Basketball - Miami Heat star, voted NBA MVP for fourth time in five years

Rafael Nadal (Spain) Tennis - winner of French Open, US Open and five ATP Masters event

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Football - scored 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal in 2013

Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Motor Racing - won fourth straight Formula One World Championship

Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year

Nadine Angerer (Germany) Football - FIFA Women's Player of the Year, captain of German team

Missy Franklin (US) Swimming - at 18, won a record six gold medals in World Championships

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) Athletics - won three sprint gold medals in World Championships

Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) Athletics - won pole vault world title in front of home Russian crowd

Tina Maze (Slovenia) Skiing - won Overall World Cup and three other disciplines, plus Super G world title

Serena Williams (US) Tennis - won French Open and US Open, plus eight other tournaments in 2013

Laureus World Team of the Year

All Blacks (NZ) Rugby Union - first time a national team achieved a 100% record in professional era

Bayern Munich (Germany) Football - won Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble

Brazil Men's Football Team - won Confederations Cup, beating World Cup holders Spain in final

Bob and Mike Bryan (US) Tennis - completed doubles 'Golden Slam' - four Grand Slams and Olympic gold

Miami Heat (US) Basketball - won NBA title for second straight year, beating San Antonio Spurs in final

Red Bull (Austria) Motor Racing - won fourth straight Formula One Constructors' World Championship

Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year

Afghanistan Cricket Team - learned cricket in refugee camps, in 2013 reached first World Cup finals

Marc Márquez (Spain) Motor Cycling - youngest ever MotoGP world champion, at 20 years 266 days

Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany) Athletics - won Germany's first World Championship pole vault gold

Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Cycling - first Tour de France rookie to finish on the podium since 1996

Justin Rose (UK) Golf - won his first Major Championship at US Open, at the age of 32

Adam Scott (Australia) Golf - first Australian winner in the 77-year history of US Masters

Laureus World Comeback of the Year

Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) Athletics - won pole vault world title in front of home Russian crowd

Rafael Nadal (Spain) Tennis - winner of French Open, US Open and five ATP Masters event

Oracle Team USA - Sailing - 8-1 down in America's Cup, Oracle fought back for a remarkable 9-8 victory

Tony Parker (France) Basketball - European Championship MVP after recovering from serious eye injury

Ronaldinho (Brazil) Football - at 33, led unfashionable Atlético Mineiro to victory in Copa Libertadores

Tiger Woods (US) Golf - US PGA Player of the Year after five tour victories, regained world No 1 ranking

Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Marie Bochet (France) Skiing - first winner of all five disciplines at a single Alpine World Championships

Marcel Hug (Switzerland) Wheelchair Racing - won five golds and a silver medal at World Championships

Tatyana McFadden (US) Wheelchair Racing - won four city marathons and six golds at World Championships

Sophie Pascoe (NZ) Swimming - won five gold medals out of five attempts at World Championships

Sarah Louise Rung (Norway) Swimming - won four gold medals in her five races in World Championships

Olga Sviderska (Ukraine) Swimming - took five individual and two relay golds in the World Championships

Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year

Jamie Bestwick (UK) BMX - only athlete in X Games history to win eight straight gold medals

Bob Burnquist (Brazil) Skateboarding - overtook Dave Mirra to win a record 25th X-Games gold medal

Mick Fanning (Australia) Surfing - clinched his third World Surfing Championship in last event of year

John John Florence (US) Surfing - scored perfect 10 for completing the Alley Oop in Bali

Maya Gabeira (Brazil) Surfing - nearly drowned after attempting to surf a 70ft wave in Portugal

Shaun White (US) Snowboarding - won sixth consecutive SuperPipe gold medal at Winter X Games

- Fairfax Media


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