Juan Carlos and Prince Albert were in attendance, and host Cuba Gooding Jr began by saying, "Your Majesty, Your Serene Highness, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Sportsmen, Sportswomen, sports agents, sport coaches, sports journalists, sports fans..." And the winners all had to preface their thank-you's with "Your Majesty..."
Such a treat to see world athletes, not just Americans, paired up with celebrities. Sergei Bubka was with Elisha Cuthbert to present the Sportswoman of the Year Award. It was won by hottie pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia. Bubka of course knew how to pronounce her last name.
It was also refreshing to see awards winners give heartfelt thanks without notes. And to think that most of them were non-native English speakers! Ironically, it was the American surfer Kelly Slater who was most inept and nonchalant in his acceptance speech — despite it being recorded ahead of time.
Eva Longoria came out with the boxers Vitali Klitschko and Wladimir Klitschko towering over here. They were like, You're used to big guys. And she said, Oh, yes. (I hope Tony Parker sprains an ankle tonight.)
Boris Becker and Monica Seles were presenters... Nominees included kiteboarders, who seem to be big in Europe... The chairman of Laureus is Edwin Moses, the greatest 400-meter hurdler ever.
The humanitarian award was given to social entrepreneur Luc Downdney who created Luta Pela Paz (Fight for Peace) to give poor children hope in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. "In the period where 467 children died of gun violence in the West Bank in Israel, 3937 children died of gun violence in Brazil. One fifth of youths in Rio's drugs gangs are killed within two years."
The Spirit of Sport Award went to FC Barcelona who sported the UNICEF logo on their uniforms last year. Roger Federer has won Sportsman Of The Year three years in a row.
Cuba did a good job, except for his saying "Tony Hawks" [sic]. The low point of the night was the the Sugarbabes closing the ceremony with "Round Round."
2007 Laureus World Sports Awards winners
Sportsman Of The Year
Roger Federer Switzerland tennis
Sportswoman Of The Year
Yelena Isinbayeva Russia athletics
Team Of The Year
Italy national football team soccer
Comeback Of The Year
Serena Williams United States tennis
Newcomer Of The Year
Sportsperson With A Disability
Martin Braxenthaler Germany skiing
Breakthrough of the Year
Amélie Mauresmo France tennis
Kelly Slater United States surfing
Lifetime Achievement Award
Franz Beckenbauer Germany football
Spirit of Sport Award
FC Barcelona Spain football
Sports For Good Award