Published February 07, 2011
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Spain enjoyed a double celebration on Monday when tennis champion Rafael Nadal and their World Cup winning soccer team walked away with the top prizes at the Laureus Sports Awards.
Nadal was named Sportsman of the Year after a remarkable season in which he won the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open trophies while Spain's World Cup side were named Team of the Year at a glittering ceremony attended by celebrities and sporting greats.
American Alpine skier Lindsay Vonn, who won the Olympic downhill gold at the Vancouver Games last February just days after suffering a shin injury, was voted Sportswoman of the Year.
Spain, the United States and Germany were the big winners with each country bagging two awards.
There was a rapturous welcome for French soccer great Zinedine Zidane, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his remarkable career.
The Spirit of Sport Award was presented to the European Ryder Cup Team to mark their emotional win over the United States in a match "which demonstrated great sportsmanship, golf played at the highest level and enormous and passionate galleries," a statement from the organizers said.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognize sporting achievement, are the premier honors on the international sporting calendar.
Double Oscar winner Kevin Spacey hosted the event attended by celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment.
The Awards were announced in seven categories. The winners were:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Rafael Nadal (Spain)
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Lindsey Vonn (U.S.)
Laureus World Team of the Year: Spain World Cup Team
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Martin Kaymer (Germany)
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Valentino Rossi (Italy)
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Verena Bentele (Germany)
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater (U.S.)
The Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award: Zinedine Zidane (France)
Laureus Spirit of Sport Award: European Ryder Cup Team
Laureus Sport for Good Award: May El-Khalil, founder of the Beirut Marathon.
(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho, Editing by Pritha Sarkar)