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Awards

Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis win top world sports honors

Jamaican sprinting star Usain Bolt and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis won the top prizes at the annual Laureus World Sports Awards. Bolt won the award for the third time.

Athletics dominated the Laureus World Sports Awards 2013, with Usain Bolt winning for the third time following his performance at the 2012 Olympics in London, where he won gold in the 100 and 200 meter sprints as well as the 4x400 meter relay.

Ennis was one of Team GB’s star athletes of the London Games, keeping Britons on the edge of their seats as she came closer and closer to gold over the two days of the heptathlon competition.

"It is so surreal to stand here in front of all these amazing sportsmen and sportswomen," said Jessica Ennis as she received the Sportswoman of the Year award.

Phelps’s exceptional achievement

Other nominees included British Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi, British distance runner Mo Farah, and German Formula One champ Sebastian Vettel.

British heptathlete Jessica Ennis poses with her Laureus Sportswomen of the Year award during the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards, at Municipal Theater in Rio de Janeiro March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS ENTERTAINMENT)

Ennis was a local hero at the London Olympics

On the women’s side, American teenage swimming star Missy Franklin, American skier Lindsey Vonn, and sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce of Brazil were also nominated.

Retired US swimmer Michael Phelps was honored with the Laureus Exceptional Achievement Award after becoming the most decorated Olympian in history in London. He quit swimming after the London Games where he increased his tally to 22 medals, including 18 gold.

"It has been an amazing career and it is crazy to think that it is over," Phelps said in accepting the award. "But I've done everything that I wanted to do in sport. I wanted to change swimming and take it to a level, and I have."

Baumgartner bags action prize

Meanwhile Europe's golfers won the team of the year prize following their remarkable comeback to beat the United States in the Ryder Cup at Medinah.

Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner was the winner in the action category for his record-setting free-fall from the stratosphere that saw him drop 39 kilometers (21.8 miles).

Sebastian Coe – chairman of the Organizing Committee of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and also a Laureus World Sports Academy Member – received the lifetime achievement award.

British tennis player Andy Murray won the breakthrough award after winning his first grand slam at the US Open as well as Olympic gold and silver medals at the London Olympics.

The Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez received the comeback of the year award after winning the 400m hurdles gold medal in London, eight years after winning it for the first time in Athens. Brazilian swimmer Daniel de Faria Dias won the Laureus Disability Award – his second after winning in 2009. In London, Dias won six gold medals, all with world record times.

The winners of the awards are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, a jury made up of 46 sports stars. The prizes were established thirteen years ago. The academy gives the awards in seven categories at an annual gala ceremony.

rg/jm (AFP, Reuters, dpa)