“Thanks to my family for being the change in my world and for getting me involved with sports.”
US Paralympian Tatyana McFadden has won the 2015 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award at a glittering ceremony in Shanghai, China, for her achievements in 2014 in both athletics and cross-country skiing.
In her first full season in snow sports, McFadden won silver in the 1km cross-country sprint at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and 32 days later won the London Marathon.
With further wins in Boston, Chicago and New York, she repeated her feat of 2013, when she became the first athlete ever to win all four major world marathons in a calendar year.
On the track she also set new world records over 1,500m and 5,000m T54 to cap a memorable year.
As she is competing in Sunday’s (19 April) marathon in Boston, USA, McFadden was not in Shanghai to collect her award, leaving her mum to pick-up the accolade on her behalf instead.
“Thanks to my family for being the change in my world and for getting me involved with sports,” McFadden said on Facebook. “Thank you to my mom for being at the Laureus Sports Awards and accepting the award on my behalf. I unfortunately could not make it there. It is an incredible honour to have won the Laureus Sports Person the Year with a Disability. Thank you thank you Laureus!!! This award is dedicated to my family who have always believed in my crazy dreams.”
To win the award, McFadden beat five other finalists, including Russian Nordic skier Roman Petushkov and German alpine skier Anna Schaffelhuber, who between then won 11 gold medals at Sochi 2014. Great Britain’s para-cyclist Sarah Storey, Hong Kong’s boccia world champion Yuk Wing Leung and Canada’s para-cycling world champion Shelly Gauthier were also nominated.
The globally televised Laureus World Sports Awards was hosted by British film and TV actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Among the presenters were Hollywood legend Bill Murray, star of iconic films such as Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Hyde Park on Hudson, Henry Cavill, who played Superman in the film Man of Steel, multi award-winning Korean actress Ha Ji-won, and actress and model Karolína Kurkova.
The other award winners on the night were:
• Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
• Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Genzebe Dibaba
• Laureus World Team of the Year: Germany men’s football team
• Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Schalk Burger
• Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Alan Eustace
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the one of the top honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen. Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since its inception, Laureus has raised EUR 60 million for projects which have improved the lives of millions of young people.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy present in Shanghai were: Marcus Allen, Nadia Comaneci, Deng Yaping, Mick Doohan, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Hakkinen, Mike Horn, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Li Xiaopeng, Tegla Loroupe, Edwin Moses, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Alexey Nemov, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Mark Spitz, Sachin Tendulkar, Daley Thompson, Steve Waugh, Yang Yang and Yao Ming.
Other guests included: Valerie Adams, Robert Baker, Annabelle Bond, Schalk Burger, Cafu, Eric Cantona, Shelley Gautier, Michael Holding, Nyjah Huston, Janica Kostelic, Jens Lehmann, Leung Yuk Wing, Li Ning, Vanesa Lorenzo, Sage Kotsenburg, Danny MacAskill, Tina Maze, Heyneke Meyer, Roman Petushkov, Carles Puyol, Louis Saha, Anna Schaffelhuber, Sarah Storey, Sun Wen, Pierre Vaultier, Jean de Villiers and Ireen Wüst.