LeBron James celebrates winning gold at the Olympics Games London 2012 on Aug. 12, 2012 in London.
The finalists for the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards were released Wednesday, and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine skiing), LeBron James and Breanna Stewart (basketball), and Alex Morgan (soccer) are among the star-studded nominees.
The short list was selected by the Laureus panel of sports media from 100 countries.
Shiffrin and Morgan are in the same category, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, for their returns to championship form in 2020.
Morgan took six months off from soccer after giving birth to daughter Charlie on May 7. She signed with Tottenham of the FA Women’s Super League in England, and played her first game on Nov 7. On Nov. 27, she returned to the U.S. women’s national team.
Shiffrin’s comeback to strong skiing, after the unexpected death of her father, Jeff, on Feb. 2, 2020, was honored. Shiffrin, a five-time Laureus nominee, has been open about her grief, sharing her journey with the world.
James and Stewart are recognized for their leadership and MVP wins on championship teams in 2020. James, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA title, is a World Sportsman of the Year finalist. Stewart, in the World Sportswoman of the Year category, is honored for leading the Seattle Storm to the WNBA title.
The awards, which are normally given at a televised, in-person gala, will be virtual this year due to COVID-19. The Laureus Awards have also put the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and World Action Sportsperson of the Year awards on pause, as the pandemic canceled many events in 2020.
“After a challenging year, we are more determined than ever to ensure that Laureus honors the men and women who made such an effort to return to sport, in many cases in a very different environment and without spectators,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, the chairperson of the 68-member Laureus World Sports Academy. “They gave everybody an emotional lift at a difficult time.”
For a complete list of all the global nominees, go to: https://www.laureus.com/world-sports-awards/2021.