Mexico at the Laureus World Sports Awards

The Laureus World Sports Awards are the equivalent of the Oscars of sports. They are part of the Laureus Movement, which combines the delivery of these important prizes with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which seeks to help less fortunate people through sports, and the Laureus Academy, made up of current and retired athletes who have achieved greatness sports and have made significant contributions to the community during their careers.

Lorena Ochoa is part of a select group of sports legends that meet today in Monaco
Lorena Ochoa is part of a select group of sports legends that meet today in Monaco

The Mexican Lorena Ochoa, along with the American swimmer Missy Franklin and the Argentine polo player Luciana Aymar, are the three new members of the Academy. This is no small thing: there are only 65 sports legends that make up this exclusive group, including names like Franz Beckenbauer, Marcus Allen, Boris Becker, Raul Gonzalez, Sergey Bubka, Cafu, Fabian Cancellara, Bobby Charlton, Nadia Comaneci, Alessandro Del Piero, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Mika Hakkinen, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Michael Johnson, Martina Navratilova, Jack Nicklaus, Mark Spitz and many others.

The idea of the awards began to take shape in the 70s, in New York, when the South African Johann Rupert, now president of Grupo Richemont, founding sponsor of Laureus, was a great friend of a major player of the color of the New York Yankees. This baseball player paid special attention to the signs he signed for white children and when Rupert asked him why he showed this favoritism, he replied: "If a white boy has my poster in his room, he will hardly discriminate against the black child in his class".

This comment showed an idea in Rupert's mind that germinated for many years until South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 1995, a triumph that united people of all races and demonstrated once again the power of sport to unite communities. It was thus that Rupert proposed that Grupo Richemont (owner of watch brands such as IWC Schaffhausen, Cartier, Montblanc, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre) help create the Laureus organization, thinking about the power of sport to change the way in which people look at the world. The project took off when Mercedes-Benz joined IWC Schaffhausen as the main sponsors.

Even Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, was one of the characters that most pushed this work thanks to the statement he made in 2000, during the first delivery: "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that few can do. He speaks to young people in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where before there was only despair. It has more power than governments to break down racial barriers. "Today, this is the basis of the philosophy of the Laureus movement.

Although all of Mexico is thinking about the Oscar awards next Sunday, thanks to the nominations of Rome, Alfonso Cuarón, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, Lorena Ochoa starts a week to talk about the greatness of Mexican women.

After entering the Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, the tapatia becomes one of the new members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which brings together big names like Nadia Comaneci, Martina Navratilova, and Katarina Witt, to name a few.

Ochoa is so great in the world that figures such as the Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi, the Brazilian soccer player Cafu (the player who has worn the most shirt of Brazil and the only one to play three consecutive World Cup finals) and the Swiss multi-champion of the cycling Fabián Cancellara went to look for her to take pictures.

She entered the Golf Hall of Fame in 2017 after a career that began at age 12, when she won a scholarship at the University of Arizona with whom she won two collegiate championships. She was named rookie of the year in 2003 and, just the following year, won her first tournaments to become the first Mexican to win an LPGA tournament.

By 2005 she was already a testimonee of Rolex, a distinction that only athletes like Roger Federer have in their CV. In 2006, she tied the record for the lowest score in golf history, men and women, in a professional tournament. She reached the top of the highest income golfers and was recognized as the LPGA Golfer of the Year and the Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.

In 2007 she won eight tournaments and ranked number one in the world above the legendary Annika Sörenstam. She remained at the top of women's golf for 158 consecutive weeks, the longest period in history. Rolex Player of the year on three separate occasions, she retired prematurely at age 28 at the peak of her career.

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