Laureus World Sports AwardsAlthough Valentino Rossi didn’t win World Sportsman of the Year during the Laureus World Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, the MotoGP Champion was nominated for the prestigious honor an unprecedented five times.
Yes, five times. Not bad for an award that recognize the likes of tennis mogul Roger Federer, cyclist Alberto Contador, and this year’s winner, sprinter Usain Bolt, who won three gold medals in the 2009 World Athletics Championships; the Jamaican clocked 9.58 seconds in the 100m, and 19.19 in the 200m, ending 2009 undefeated in both distances.Bolt’s record is unbelievable. And then there is Vale, the 31-year-old Italian with nine world championships under his leathers who continues to popularize motorcycle racing on every lap he takes. Because of this, Rossi’s chances become greater every nomination for winning the Laureus Award, which is highly sophisticated in selection, considering the Laureus World Sports Academy votes the winner in, a sports jury made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.Rossi’s record of world-wide popularity continually grows every year. It’s obvious in his native country; in January, Rossi was recognized as World’s Best Athlete by Italy’s prominent newspaper The Gazzetta dello Sport, one that’s been in existence since 1896. Forty percent of its readers considered Rossi the top athlete, ahead of Federer, who received 13.8 percent of the vote, and Bolt with 8 percent.And Rossi will be honored soon by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his positive representation of the country around the world. A press release from the upcoming event reads: "The nine times World Champion has sounded the (Italian) national anthem on 103 occasions in different parts of the world, and has presented the important values of excellence of our country in five continents."That’s quite a statement for Rossi, whose achievements are built in a sport that is gradually garnishing additional attention every year. As Rossi becomes more and more popular, so does motorcycle racing.This works in reverse also…could there possible be a conversation about the ones who achieved the most in the sport without the mention of Rossi? He simply dominates, hence the world-wide status. Maybe he needs that 10th world title this year to win World Sportsman of the Year Award, and by the looks of him dominating every pre-season MotoGP test in Sepang, 2010 may just be that year.