Voted for by fans around the world in a global online poll, the Laureus Best Sporting Moment of the Year identifies the moment from the calendar year which has most resonance with sports fans around the world. Shortlisted by legends of sport from the Laureus World Sports Academy, these moments look beyond the scoreboard or podium, they symbolise the true values of sport and bring to life the message that sport has the power to change the world.
Fans can choose their favourite moment on the 1st of each month, from August to December, from a panel of six shortlisted video clips. The five monthly winners will then compete against each other in another global public vote, with the eventual winner being announced at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards.
Age is just a number
For 101-year-old Man Kaur, from Chandigarh in India, age is just a number. The Masters athlete picked up the 17th gold medal of her career on April 24 at the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, completing the 100 metre sprint in one minute 14 seconds. "I enjoyed it, and I’m very, very happy”, Kaur said after the race. Kaur started participating in athletics events eight years ago, at the age of 93, following encouragement from her son Gurdev Singh, 78, who also competed in the Masters Games. "When my Mum wins, she goes back to India, and she's excited to tell others, 'I have won so many medals for this country.' Winning makes her happy", Singh said. When training at home in Chandigarh, Kaur runs a number of short distances every evening - and she believes other women should follow in her footsteps. "She encourages them to run, not eat wrong foods, and they should encourage their children also to take part in the Games," said her son.
Brave Bradley’s Fight
Bradley Lowery's smile and his incredible bravery in his fight against neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer which primarily affects children, propelled the six-year-old into the hearts and minds of football fans around the world. Lowery was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, underwent two years of gruelling chemotherapy and became well-recognised within football following an awareness campaign run by his family named ‘Bradley Lowery’s Fight’. He made appearances as a mascot for Sunderland, Everton and England and struck up a close friendship with Sunderland striker Jermaine Defoe, who regularly visited the youngster at home and in hospital. The brave young fan lost his fight on 7th July.
In a statement, Defoe said: “Goodbye my friend, gonna miss you lots. I feel so blessed God brought you into my life and had some amazing moments with you and for that I'm so grateful. I'll never ever forget the way you looked at me for the first time, the genuine love in those cute eyes. Really finding it hard to express what you mean to me. The way you say my name, your little smiles when the cameras come out like a superstar and the love I felt when I was with you. Your courage and bravery will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. You will never know what a difference you made to me as a person. God has you in his arms and I will always carry you in my heart. Sleep tight little one. My best friend.” The Lowery family invited anyone touched by Bradley’s story to his funeral. They said it was “open to everyone who would like to come and celebrate Bradley’s life and pay their respects to show him how much he was loved. You can wear whatever you want for the funeral but the family and friends have chosen the theme cancer has no colours.”
Rivals Become Friends
Footballing rivals showed solidarity after an explosion occurred beside the Borussia Dortmund team bus ahead of their Champions League quarter-final with Monaco on 11 April. The incident forced the game to be postponed until the following evening and left many Monaco fans without a bed for the night. Social media came to the rescue as the hashtags #BedForAwayFans and #BedsForAwayFans were used by Dortmund fans, offering stranded Monaco fans a place to sleep for the night. The hashtags trended worldwide and generated over 16 million impressions in just 12 hours.
Police later confirmed there were three explosions near the bus, breaking some of the vehicle’s windows. Defender Marc Bartra was injured by shards of glass and was taken to hospital. He underwent surgery on his injured arm to repair a fracture and remove shrapnel. The Spain defender took to Instagram to describe his emotions: “The pain, the panic and the uncertainty of not knowing what was going on, or how long it would last … were the longest and hardest 15 minutes of my life.”
The Lucas family have supported the University of North Carolina for as long as they can remember, and on January 8, Carolina was playing N.C. State. "That game had actually been delayed because of snow and the cold weather," said Adam Lucas, father of Asher. Because of the delay, there was no set halftime show on this day, so 11-year-old Asher and his friend Grant, decided that they’d entertain the crowd by trying a few half-court shots.
Asher hit the first shot...
"After the first one, they're like, 'Hey, you made a half-court shot. Good job,'" Asher said.
And the second...
"I'm like, this is nuts, there's no way I can make three," Asher recalled. "But let's try it because the crowd's excited. You don't want to just stop there."
And the third!!!
"The crowd went nuts when I made three," Asher said. "It felt amazing because I don't really know anybody that made three half-court shots before, and it's really hard to do."
Abbey’s heart lives on
20-year-old Abbey Connor died tragically while on holiday in Mexico with her family in January. Five months later, her father Bill decided to do something to honour her short life. On May 22, Conner, a passionate cyclist, jumped on his bike and began riding across the country. He decided to travel 2,600 miles - from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida - to visit Broward Health Medical Centre, the hospital that recovered Abbey's organs for donation back in January. 1400 miles into his journey, he met 21-year-old Loumonth Jack, Jr., who only survived because Abbey had donated her organs, and her heart was donated to save his life. When Conner met Jack he felt like he already knew him. "Knowing he's alive because of Abbey, Abbey is alive inside of him - it's her heart having him stand up straight," Conner said. "I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter." After sharing an embrace, Jack pulled out a stethoscope so Conner could hear his daughter's heartbeat for the first time since she died in January. Both men began to tear up. The family made a recording of Jack's heart so Conner could listen to it as he rides. After spending a little more time with Jack, Conner continued on his journey to spread awareness about the importance of organ donation, sharing his daughter's story along the way.
Josh Landmann was left paralysed from just below his chest after diving into a pool and hitting his head on the bottom, suffering spinal injuries. Despite his injuries, the 22-year-old didn’t let his freak accident stop him giving Tough Mudder, a gruelling obstacle course, a go on May 13 in order to raise money for Spinal Research. When Landmann attempted to crawl up the challenging ‘Everest’ hurdle on the course, he received support from his dad, Neil, and other participants who outstretched their hands and hauled him to the top of the obstacle. “I got to the edge thinking I’d be able to crawl up it quite easily and get to the rope, but it wasn’t quite as easy as that. It was very slippery. And then Dad’s trying to push me and he’s slipping”, Josh said.
Neil added: “He’s so determined to success and achieve things it was just normal. We’ve grown up with his progression and positivity. He’s amazing in that regard.” On the support he’s received since the Tough Mudder challenge, Josh said: “I’ve received so many messages from mums and from children who say they want to do it when they’re older. I’ve had messages from people who are in hospital at the minute who say they’re very low in themselves and ask ‘How do you do it?’ It’s quite surreal.” Now Landmann wants to take part in the Winter Paralympics in 2022: “I’ve been working with the British para-snowsports team and done a few races, it’s opened so many doors to me. But I’ve got a few more challenges ahead as well.”
Laureus stage the annual Laureus World Sports Awards, which honours the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year and showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good.
Laureus Sport for Good uses the positive values of sport to fight violence, discrimination and disadvantage and improve the lives of young people around the world. At the first Awards Ceremony in Monaco in 2000, President Nelson Mandela said ‘sport has the power to change the world’, an idea that has become the driving force of Laureus ever since. Mandela’s words continue to inspire our work to help young people through community sports projects, more than 100 in 35 countries.
At the heart of Laureus is the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of more than 60 of the greatest living sporting legends. Our Academy Members share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers and bring people together.