The latest Halberg Awards nominees have been released, headed unsurprisingly by New Zealand's London Olympic stars.
The awards for 2012 performances, which will be held in Auckland on Thursday, February 14, sees a total of 63 nominees unveiled.
Valerie Adams is once again in the running for sportswoman of the year, but this time goes up against fellow Olympic champion Lisa Carrington and teenage golf prodigy Lydia Ko, the world number one women's amateur and youngest winner of a professional tour event.
The men's list is littered with 12 athletes, ranging from Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale to 21-year-old freestyle motocross world champion Levi Sherwood - posing the judging panel with the tough job of determining which achievement is more impressive.
Another nightmare for the judges will be deciding team of the year. Eighteen options include London 2012 champion rowing crews Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan and gold sailing duo Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.
The team category also features the All Blacks, Silver Ferns and the back-to-back Australian NBL champion Breakers.
The disabled category is headed by Sophie Pascoe who enjoyed another highly successful Olympic campaign in London.
The voting panel will now vote to determine finalists which are announced on January 1st 2013. Any outstanding performances by individual athletes or teams are still considered until December 31, 2012.
Geoff Burgess, chief executive of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, pointed to the strength in depth of this year's candidates and inevitably, public debate.
"There have been so many captivating sporting performances in 2012 that I am sure will fuel public speculation leading up to the Awards," Burgess said.
"Five gold medals and a record-equalling 13-medal haul at the London Olympics was part of an incredible year that also saw the Silver Ferns and All Blacks dominate their competition, and the New Zealand Paralympic Team bring home a remarkable 17 medals,"
"In 2012, we also saw new sporting stars emerge, not to mention the outstanding victories of the Chiefs, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and the NZ Breakers to mention a few, the competition is huge this year."
50TH HALBERG AWARDS NOMINEES
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year: Jack Bauer (Cycling), Scott Campbell (Baseball), Mahe Drysdale (Rowing), Mitch Evans (Motorsport), Westley Gough (Cycling), Richie McCaw (Rugby), Brook MacDonald (Cycling - Mountain Biking), Peter Michael (Speed Skating), Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian), Hayden Paddon (Motorsport), Levi Sherwood (Freestyle Motocross), Simon van Velthooven (Cycling).
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year: Valerie Adams (Athletics), Lauren Boyle (Swimming), Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Joelle King (Squash), Lydia Ko (Golf), Sarah Walker (BMX), Alison Shanks (Cycling), Linda Villumsen (Cycling).
Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year: Mary Fisher (Para Swimming), Phillipa Gray (Para Cycling), Cameron Leslie (Para Swimming), Sophie Pascoe (Para Swimming), Daniel Sharp (Para Swimming), Fiona Southorn (Para Cycling).
Team of the Year: All Blacks (Rugby), Chiefs (Rugby), New Zealand Diamondblacks (Baseball), John Kennard and Hayden Paddon (Motorsport), NZ Eventing Olympic Team (Equestrian), NZ Men's 49er Class Team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Sailing), NZ Men's Double Scull - Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan (Rowing), NZ Men's Lightweight Double Sculls - Peter Taylor and Storm Uru (Rowing), NZ Men's Pair - Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (Rowing), NZ Men's Pursuit Team - Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan, Jesse Sergent, Westley Gough, Aaron Gate NZ (Cycling), NZ Breakers (Basketball), NZ Men's Sprint Team - Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Edward Dawkins (Cycling), New Zealand Surf Life Saving Team (Surf Lifesaving), NZ Women's 470 Team - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Sailing), NZ Women's Pair - Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh (Rowing), Silver Ferns (Netball), Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (Netball)
Emerging Talent: Anton Cooper (Mountain Biking), Macauley Fox (Baseball), Trent Jones (BMX), Dylan Kennett (Track Cycling), Lydia Ko (Golf), Andrew McKenzie (Sailing), Corey Main (Swimming), Mathew Ogden (Orienteering), Sophie Williamson (Road Cycling).
Coach of the Year: Scott Bartlett (Surf Lifesaving), Roly Crichton (Para Swimming), Erik Duvander (Equestrian), Calvin Ferguson (Rowing), Nathan Handley (Sailing), Steve Hansen (Rugby), Dave Rennie (Rugby), Waimarama Taumaunu (Netball), Noeline Taurua (Netball), Richard Tonks (Rowing), Gordon Walker (Canoeing).
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