The best athletes of 2022: Lionel Messi and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, honored with the Laureus Awards

The Argentine soccer player and the Jamaican sprinter were chosen as the most outstanding athletes of last year, in a ceremony that took place at the Pavillon Vendome in Paris and also had as winners the Argentine National Team, Carlos Alcaraz, Eileen Gu, Catherine Debrunner and Christian Eriksen.

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The Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, was awarded the best female athlete.
The Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, was awarded the best female athlete.

The Argentinian Lionel Messi and the Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce received the Laureus Award for the best athletes of 2022, in a ceremony in which the Argentine National Team, the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, the Danish Christian Eriksen, the Swiss Catherine Debrunner and the American Eileen Gu, were also awarded.

Messi, world champion with the Argentine National Team in Qatar 2022, won the election against the Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal, the French soccer player Kylian Mbappé, the Dutch pilot Max Verstappen, the American basketball player Stephen Curry and the Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis.

“The World Cup came at the end of my career, but it was the nicest thing. It cost me a lot, almost my entire career. I want to share it with all of Argentina,” Messi said after receiving the award at the Pavillon Vendome in Paris and acknowledged: “I had a lot of joy with Barcelona, sadness with the National Team. It was a lesson, with many stones in the way, to overcome myself, together with family and loved ones”.

Messi, who had already won this award in 2020 (he shared it with Lewis Hamilton), had a double distinction because the Argentine National Team also won the Laureus Award for best team of 2022 ahead of Real Madrid, Golden State Warriors of the NBA, the women’s soccer team from England, the French rugby team and the Red Bull Formula 1 team.

The Sports Oscar, as is also considered the Laureus Award, had athletics legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as last year’s best athlete. The Jamaican beat Spanish soccer player Alexia Putellas, American swimmer Katie Ledecky, Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek, American skier Mikaela Shiffrin and fellow American athlete Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone.

Fraser-Pryce, 36, was crowned world champion in the 100 meters for the fifth time in 2022 and the gold medal she won in Eugene (United States) came 13 years after the first one she won in Berlin (Germany). Among those two, one of the great sprinters in the history of athletics also won in Moscow 2015, Beijing 2015 and Doha 2019.

“I always believe that the best is yet to come. I don’t put more pressure on myself than necessary. In any case, let it be for my rivals. I have confidence that comes from my daily work,” the Jamaican woman highlighted before winning the prize, who in her career has eight Olympic medals (three gold) and 14 world medals (11 gold), and last season she ran, on seven occasions, under 10.7 seconds in the 100 meters.

Meanwhile, the 2022 Laureus Award for New Athlete was awarded to tennis player Carlos Alcaraz, who last year won the United States Open and became the youngest number one in history.

Alcaraz competed with Kazakh tennis player Elena Rybakina, the Morocco soccer team, American skater Nathan Chen, Nigerian hurdler Tobi Amusan and American golfer Scott Scheffler.

In addition to the US Open, Alcaraz won the Masters 1000 in Madrid and Miami last season and won the titles in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona, to which he added finals in Umag and Hamburg.

The Winter Olympic Games held in Beijing in 2022 were one of the most important events of the year. Eileen Gu was one of the great figures and for her performance she was awarded the Laureus Award for the best athlete in a discipline considered extreme.

Gu was born in the United States but competes for China and in Beijing she became the youngest Olympic champion in the history of freestyle skiing: she won two gold medals (big air and halfpipe) and one silver (slopestyle) medals when she was only 18 years old.

The Laureus Para-Athlete of the Year Award went to the Swiss Catherine Debrunner, who broke four world records in the Nottwil World Para Athletics Grand Prix in 2022: 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters in the T53 category.

In addition, last year Debrunner also made his Marathon debut and won the traditional races in Berlin and London (including the competition record).

Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen, who returned to play after suffering a cardiac arrest in June 2021 during a European Championship match against Finland, won the Laureus Prize at the return of the year.

Meanwhile, the TeamUp initiative won the award in the “Sport for Good” category. The winner is a joint collaboration between War Child, Save the Children and UNICEF The Netherlands that helps children affected by war conflicts and in 2022, on the initiative of former soccer player Andriy Shevchenko, it provided support to those affected by the war in Ukraine.

This was the 23rd edition of the Laureus Awards and in the last two years the ceremony had not been able to be in person due to the pandemic. Tennis players Roger Federer (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2018) and Serena Williams (2003, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2018) won the best athlete award five times and the first, in 2000, were the American Tiger Woods and Marion Jones.