Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and footballer Lionel Messi were declared joint winners of the prestigious Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award at a glamorous ceremony on Monday.
Sachin Tendulkar won the public fan vote with the Laureus Sporting Moment Award (2000-2020). The award, chosen by sports fans around the world, celebrated moments of the past two decades in which sport uniquely united people.
Tendulkar, who was part of the winning ICC World Cup winning team in 2011, was carried on his shoulders by his teammates.
The win could not have been more historic, as it was India's first World Cup victory on home soil and the second ever.
Six-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton and six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Messi were so close in 2019 that even the ultimate sports jury, the Laureus World Sports Academy, could not separate them in the vote for the first time in their 20s History of the Laureus Awards bound.
The duo have honored the great Tiger Woods, the Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, the tennis legend Rafael Nadal and the MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.
The rugby world champion of 2019, South Africa, won the second Laureus World Team of the Year Award and beat Jürgen Klopps Liverpool and the US women's soccer team, among others.
The memory of Siya Kolisi, South Africa's historic first black test rugby captain, who won the Webb Ellis Trophy in Yokohama, was an icon in sports. The team's victory united the communities in South Africa and was a testament to the ability of sport to change the world. The winners were announced when athletes gathered to take part in the main annual awards ceremony that celebrated Laureus' 20th anniversary this year.
The event was hosted by actor Hugh Grant and the legends of past and present sports were entertained by British singer-songwriter Liam Payne, a former member of One Direction. A tribute was paid to American basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who recently died in a helicopter crash.
Biles wins it
American gymnast Simone Biles confirmed her place in Laureus history and won her third coveted award for Laureus athlete of the year as she continued to push the boundaries of the sport.
She defeated the American footballer Megan Rapinoe, the Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka, the American athlete Allyson Felix and the skier Mikaela Shiffrin.
(The author is in Berlin at the invitation of Laureus).