Legendary wheelchair racer Marcel Hug topped a record-breaking year with his career’s second Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with Disability award.
The announcement was made on Sunday, 24 April during a digital ceremony broadcast from Seville, Spain. Hug received the award on his training track in Switzerland from road racing cyclist Fabian Cancellara.
“I’m absolutely speechless. I just want to say thank you so, so much for this award. It's a great honour,” Hug said after being presented with the statuette.
“Especially I want to say thank you to the Laureus Academy who had chosen that I receive this award and I also want to say thank you to all the nominees. For me it was a great honour to be nominated together with all these athletes. I’m really happy, very proud.”
Nicknamed the “Silver Bullet” for his trademark silver helmet and speed, Hug achieved a golden sweep in his four events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon in the competitive T54 wheelchair racing class.
He also set a world record in the 1500m and a Paralympic record in the 5000m heats.
Hug’s victories in the Japanese capital take his total Paralympic medal count to 12. The four-time Paralympian has six gold medals, four silver and two bronze.
This was Hug’s fourth nomination for the Laureus World Sports Awards and his second victory. Hug previously won the award in 2018 and now joins Brazil’s Para swimmer Daniel Dias and Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer as the only Para athlete to receive this award multiple times.
This year, the other finalists in the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with Disability nomination included wheelchair tennis players Diede de Groot and Shingo Kunieda, Para triathletes Jetze Plat and Susana Rodriguez, and Para cyclist Sarah Storey.
Marcel Hug's performance at the Paralympic Games also earned him the title of Best Male athlete at the 2021 Paralympic Sport Awards. The Awards celebrated outstanding achievements from Tokyo 2020 across seven categories with the winners announced on 16 December.