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  • Rio Olympians, Paralympians Shine at Laureus Sport Awards


    (ATR) Stars of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics made a splash at the ‘Oscars of Sport’ Tuesday evening in Monaco.

    Laureus Awards 2017 winners (Getty Images)
    Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Beatrice Vio and the Refugee Olympic Team all were honored at the 2017 Laureus World Sport Awards for their performances at the first Games to be hosted in South America.

    Bolt joined rare company as the fourth person to receive a fourth Laureus award, tying the record of tennis players Roger Federer and Serena Williams and surfer Kelly Slater. Bolt was recognized for his domination at Rio 2016 where he became the first person to win three gold medals as a sprinter in three consecutive Olympics.

    Unfortunately, Bolt’s unprecedented triple-triple is now diminished due to his Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter failing a doping retest of his sample from the Beijing 2008 Games. Bolt’s gold medal in the 4x100m in Beijing could be reinstated if Carter’s appeal is successful.

    Biles was recognized as the Sportswoman of the Year due to her performance at the Rio 2016 Games where she became the first woman to win four gymnastics gold medals at a single Olympics.

    The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, was also recognized for his comeback performance at Rio 2016. Phelps won five gold medals in Brazil after announcing his retirement following London 2012 where he garnered four golds.

    Italian Paralympian Beatrice Vio won the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability after her victory at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in Foil B fencing. Vio is the only quadruple amputee who competes in wheelchair fencing.

    The Refugee Olympic Team won the inaugural Laureus Sport for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration a day before the awards ceremony. The team of 10 athletes, who competed in athletics, swimming and judo, was the first to organize under the Olympic flag. The team featured five athletes from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one from Ethiopia.

    Former Olympians were also recognized at the Laureus awards ceremony, including Jake Arrieta and Dexter Fowler of the Chicago Cubs who won an Olympic bronze in Beijing. The Cubs won the Laureus Team of the Year award for ending their 108-year Major League Baseball drought by defeating the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series last autumn.

    Written by Kevin Nutley

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