Berlin: Star footballer Lionel Messi and dominant F1 driver Lewis Hamilton have been declared as joint winners of the prestigious Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
Six-time Formula One world champion Hamilton and six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Messi were so close in terms of their achievements in 2019 that even the ultimate sporting jury, the Laureus World Sports Academy, could not split them, with the voting being tied for the very first time in the 20-year history of the Laureus Awards which were announced in a glittering ceremony on Monday night.
American gymnast Simone Biles, who became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history when she won her 25th medal last year, confirmed her place in the history of Laureus, winning her third coveted Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award in four years.
Snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim won the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award. She's now a double Laureus Award winner after her Action Sportsperson win in 2019.
In the Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category, Oksana Masters -- born with limb impairments caused by radiation from Chernobyl and adopted by an American single parent -- was recognized by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
She won five gold medals and a silver at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships, plus the cross-country overall World Cup title. She also won silver medals at the Para Cycling Road World Championships.
South Bronx United, a football program based in New York, was honored with the Sport for Good Award. The program uses football to achieve educational outcomes for young people from underserved communities.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup winners South Africa won their second Laureus World Team of the Year Award, beating Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool and the US Women's Football Team.
German F3 driver Sophia Florsch won the World Comeback of the Year as she recovered from serious injuries caused by the crashing accident at Macau circuit and raced again in the Macau Grand Prix.
The World Breakthrough of the Year award went to Colombian 22-year-old cyclist Egan Bernal, who became the youngest rider to win the Tour de France in his second attempt for the 110-year-old event.
German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the basketball.
The Laureus World Sports Academy recognized the Spanish Basketball Federation with the Academy Exceptional Achievement Award which has only ever been granted four times.
Span's men's team won the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China while the women's team won three of the last four EuroBasket championships.