Rafa Nadal is very big. Big enough to be declared ‘Best Male Athlete of 2020’ by the Laureus Academy of 71 sports legends (from Nadia Comaneci to Michael Johnson to Bobby Charlton or Mark Spitz) in front of competitors like the pilot Lewis hamilton (seven F1 World Cups), Lebron James (NBA MVP), Armand Duplantis (pole vault world record holder), Joshua Cheptegei (5,000 and 10,000) or the gunboat of the Bayern Champions of the Champions Robert Lewandowski.
The usual glamor of the Laureus, the Oscars of sport, was replaced in that edition by a virtual ceremony, presented by the actress Paz Vega from Seville with beautiful locations of the city in the background and that took over from Berlin. In it, the Martian achievement of Nadal was recognized, who won his 13th Roland Garros and the twentieth Grand Slam that ties him with Roger Federer in the race to be the greatest ever. But also, his human quality was also recognized by the initiative #OurBestVictory which he launched together with Pau Gasol and which raised more than 14 million euros for the Red Cross which has helped more than 1.3 million people affected by COVID-19.
– Laureus (@LaureusSport) May 6, 2021
“This means a lot to me. There were very tough opponents. I didn’t get to play much in 2020, but the 13th Roland Garros and matching Federer was an unforgettable moment. He is my great rival but also my great friend. It is something very special, after all that we have experienced on and off the track, “Nadal recalled in a video, in full dress.
The Spaniard had already received the statuette in 2011. In 2006 he took Revelation ‘and in 2014’ Reappearance ‘. In the female category, Naomi Osaka received the honor (she won her second US Open and raised her voice against racism), that it had rivals of as much size as the soccer player Wendie Renard or the basketball player Breanna Stewart.
Ansu Fati (18 years old) and Joan Mir (23) aspired to the ‘Revelation’ award, But the arm power of the Super Bowl MVP and leader of the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, could with the ray of the Barça and the Selection and the champion of the world of MotoGP.
The pandemic forced the red carpet and parties to be dispensed with. But the Laureus didn’t stop, true to the spirit of their inspiring Nelson Mandela. “Sport has the power to change the world … Sport creates hope where it has disappeared,” the South African president who fought against apartheid said in 2000. How the world is now fighting COVID without sport stopping. With the indomitable spirit of Nadal.
THE WINNERS 2020
BEST MALE ATHLETE: Rafa Nadal (Tennis).
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE: Naomi Osaka (Tennis).
SPORTSMAN REVELATION: Patrick Mahomes (NFL).
BEST TEAM: Bayern Munich (Soccer).
RETURN OF THE YEAR: Max Parrot (Snowboard).
TRAJECTORY AWARD: Billie Jean King (Tennis).
SPORTSMAN OMBUDSMAN: Lewis Hamilton (F1).
INSPIRATION: Mohamed Salah (Soccer).
SPORT FOR GOOD: Kickfair (Germany).
SPORTS MOMENT: Chris Nikic (Special Olympics).