China's Eileen Gu awarded World Action Sportsperson
China's Olympic ski freestyle champion Eileen Gu won the World Action Sportsperson accolade while Argentina and Paris Saint Germain veteran star Lionel Messi on Monday scooped a unique double, landing individual and team Laureus awards for his exploits and those of his World-Cup winning nation.
"As the first freeskier to ever win this prestigious award, I hope to share this moment with all those involved with the sport and the industry. Knowing that young people have the power and responsibility to change the world, I want more kids (especially girls & multiracial youth!) to see representation growing and know there is a place for them here," 19-year-old Gu posted on her Instagram after winning the award.
Messi, 35, finally landed a first World Cup winners medal in Qatar last December after a thrilling penalty shootout final win over France – enough to earn him an individual accolade while the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner also accepted the team award at a prestigious Paris ceremony.
The Argentine, who attended the ceremony with wife Antonela Roccuzzo, previously had won the award jointly with British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton in 2020.
The accolade saw Messi, who earned a fine and suspension from PSG for making an unauthorized promotional visit to Saudi Arabia, see off competition notably from clubmate Kylian Mbappé, whose World Cup final hat-trick was not enough to earn him glory in Qatar.
Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who last August earned a fifth world 100m crown at Eugene, Oregon, picked up the female athlete award while US Open tennis champion Carlos Alcaraz earned the World Breakthrough of the Year award.
Going back to football, Denmark and Manchester United star Christian Eriksen earned a Comeback Award for returning to the top of the European game after collapsing with cardiac arrest during the Euros two years ago.
Swiss para-athlete sensation Catherine Debrunner meanwhile picked up the Disability Award after triumphing in her opening two marathons
The Sport for Good Award was presented to TeamUp – a program for children displaced by war – by Barcelona and Poland star Robert Lewandowski.
The awards have been made annually since 2000 by a jury comprising 71 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, representing the past 50 years of athletic excellence.