Rafael Nadal, Lindsey Vonn honored

Updated: February 7, 2011, 11:50 AM ET
Associated Press

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Rafael Nadal and Lindsey Vonn won this year's individual Laureus Sports Awards on Monday, with Spain's World Cup champions taking the team prize.

The top-ranked Nadal -- winner of three Grand Slam tennis titles in 2010 -- was honored as sportsman of the year, beating nominees including Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and Barcelona soccer players Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

Vonn, the gold medalist in the women's downhill at the Vancouver Olympics and winner of a third consecutive overall World Cup title, took the sportswoman's award. High jumper Blanka Vlasic and tennis players Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki were among the other nominees.

French soccer great Zinedine Zidane won the lifetime achievement award and American surfer Kelly Slater was the action sportsperson of the year. Italy's seven-time motorcycle world champion Valentino Rossi took the comeback of the year award after he returned to MotoGP just 41 days after breaking his leg.

The winners are chosen by 46 sports stars who make up the Laureus sports academy.

Spain claimed the team prize after beating the Netherlands 1-0 with Iniesta's extra time winner in last year's World Cup final. The victory came two years after Spain won the European Championship.

Proceeds from the awards ceremony benefit the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports 83 community sports projects around the world.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press