Elaine Thompson-Herah at the Tokyo Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
Jamaican sprint star Elaine Thompson-Herah has been named sportswoman of the year at the Laureus World Sports Awards during a digital ceremony hosted from Seville on Sunday (24).
Thompson-Herah, who claimed the World Female Athlete of the Year honour at the World Athletics Awards 2021, has gained the prestigious Laureus prize following an Olympic treble title-winning performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games. She is now a five-time Olympic gold medallist, having added titles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in Tokyo to the 100m and 200m gold medals she gained in Rio in 2016.
She also ran world-leading times of 10.54 for 100m and 21.53 for 200m during 2021, moving to second on the world all-time lists and going close to the long-standing world records.
“I know Usain (Bolt) has won Laureus awards before, so to bring this trophy back home to the Caribbean, also in Jamaica, is very special,” said Thompson-Herah.
“I would say I am very, very proud, but I cannot dwell on the past. Even though it’s very special, it’s memories. I cannot just sit and say ‘OK, I’m a double Olympic champion, I’m a five-time Olympic gold medallist’. I have to continue working because my motivation is to be even better.
“I told myself that I want to be the greatest female sprinter, so I am just going to focus on what the future holds for me.”
Thompson-Herah was named winner of the sportswoman of the year honour from a list of nominees that also included US sprint great Allyson Felix. Kenyan marathon ace Eliud Kipchoge was one of six nominees for the men’s award, won by Formula One world champion Max Verstappen.
“She is an athlete who just completely dominated their sport last year,” athletics legend and Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson said of Thompson-Herah at the time of her award nomination. “100m, 200m, repeating as champion, which is very difficult to do, and threatening one of the oldest and most impressive world records in the books, the women's 100m – we haven't talked about anyone threatening that record for years.”
Olympic triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas and Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra were among the nominees for the breakthrough award, won by tennis star Emma Raducanu following her US Open victory at the age of 18.
Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug was named Laureus world sportsperson of the year with a disability for the second time after winning four gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon. He also set a world record in the 1500m and a Paralympic record in the 5000m, and won the Berlin, New York and Boston marathons.
The Laureus Awards showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. The winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards are voted for by the 71 legends of the Laureus World Sports Academy.