Three of Great Britain’s London 2012 stars walked away with prizes from the Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night.
Britain might have passed on the Olympic and Paralympic flames to Brazil for 2016 but the memory of London 2012 burned brightly in the country’s capital at the star-studded event with Team GB athletes past and present spending time in the spotlight.
Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis was crowned World Sportswoman of the Year, while Andy Murray won World Breakthrough and Lord Sebastian Coe received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I’m surrounded by the most extraordinary group of people, global icons,” said Lord Coe. “And I realise that there is a commonality in the unshakeable belief we have in sport and the fact it transforms lives. This is extraordinary. I’m very, very flattered.”
Ennis beat off competition from fellow Olympic track and field gold medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix, swimmer Missy Franklin, skier Lindsey Vonn and tennis star Serena Williams to win her award, which was presented by former gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
“There was a lot of pressure in London,” she said. “I looked back to what Cathy Freeman achieved in Sydney in 2000 (winning the 400 metres) and I really wanted to emulate that. I have incredible support from my friends and family and I was able to do it.”
Murray missed the ceremony due to playing at Indian Wells but in a video message he said: "It was an amazing year – my first grand slam in New York and two medals at the Olympics in my home country.
"I would have taken that at the start of the year, that's for sure.
"The British team had such a great Olympics and I watched loads of medals being won by the British athletes. I think I was motivated by that."
© Sportsbeat 2013