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Isinbaeva Wins Second Laureus World Sportswoman Award

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  • Isinbaeva Wins Second Laureus World Sportswoman Award

    (Used with consent for immediate release):
    • ROME, May 27, 2009 – Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, one of the greatest female athletes in history, is the winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award for the second time, following her sensational gold medal winning performance in the Beijing Olympics.

      Isinbayeva received the most prestigious Award in sport from Laureus World Sports Academy members Sir Bobby Charlton, the England football legend, Marcel Desailly, the former French football captain, and Italian ski maestro Alberto Tomba, at a special presentation event in Rome.

      Not only is it her second Laureus Award – she also won in 2007 – but it is the fifth straight year that the Russian pole vault super star has been nominated.

      Yelena Isinbayeva said: “It was a real thrill to win this Award two years ago, but to have won it again is unbelievable. It really is a unique honour. I would like to thank the members of the Laureus Academy who voted for me again. They have all competed at the highest level and know how much commitment is needed to stay at the top. I would especially like to thank my coach Vitaliy Petrov and Sergey Bubka who has been a great mentor to me over the years, and my management who have helped me to win this Award.”

      Laureus Academy member Sergey Bubka, the Ukraine pole vault legend who was Isinbayeva’s inspiration at the start of her career, was unable to be in Rome, but a message from him was read out during the presentation. He said: “Yelena totally deserves this second Laureus Award. She is a phenomenal athlete. From the time she set her first world record six year ago, she has dominated women’s pole vaulting, and made it one of the blue riband events in athletics. She was the first woman to break the five metre barrier and has already improved the world record 24 times. She still has many years of top class competition to come. Who knows how far she can take the event in the future?”

      In Beijing, Isinbayeva cleared 5.05 metres – the 24th time she has improved the world record – to win her second Olympic gold medal. It was her ninth major championship career victory, which have included Olympic, World outdoor and indoor and European outdoor and indoor titles. Her dominance in athletics was acknowledged in November 2008 when she was named IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year for the third time.

      Also nominated along with Yelena Isinbayeva for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award were Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, who became the first woman to win the 5,000 & 10,000 metres double at the same Olympics, Australia’s Stephanie Rice, who won three swimming gold medals in Beijing, Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, the No.1 women’s golfer in the world, and Americans Lindsey Vonn, who won the Alpine World Cup title, and Venus Williams, who captured her fifth Wimbledon championship.

      The Laureus World Sports Awards is the only global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a collection of the world’s greatest sportsmen and women. The living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The 10th Laureus World Sports Awards recognise sporting achievement during the period January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008.

      The winners of this year’s other Laureus World Sports Awards will receive their Awards individually at a series of presentations and announcements in June. Because of the current economic situation Laureus and its partners have decided to forego the usual spring Awards Ceremony. The key focus for Laureus during 2009 will be to support the funding and activities of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The date of the next Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony will be announced in due course.

      The Laureus Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception Laureus has raised €20 million for projects which have helped improve the lives of more than one million young people.
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