Swimmers Katie Ledecky, Cameron Leslie Nominated for Laureus World Sport Awards


By Braden Keith on SwimSwam

American swimmer Katie Ledecky and New Zealand para-swimmer Cameron Leslie have been nominated for 2023 Laureaus World Sport Awards. The awards, which are presented annually, are given in a variety of categories, including Sportsman, Sportswoman, Team, Breakthrough Athlete, Comeback Athlete, Athlete with Disability, Action Sportsperson and Sport for Good.

The top few swimmers in the world are usually nominated for awards. Last year, after the Olympics, there were four swimmers nominated. This year, in a disjointed global swimming schedule, that number is just two.

Ledecky was nominated in the World Sportswoman of the Year category. Her 2022 results included winning the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles individually, and the 800 free relay, at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. Her World title in the 800 free was her 5th-consecutive in that event.

Those swims were done at a World Championship meet that was absent her primary global rival, Ariarne Titmus, who won the 400 at the Olympics and was nominated for the award last year.

At the FINA World Cup Series stops in Indianapolis and Toronto, Ledecky would also break the World Records in the 800 free (7:57.42) and 1500 free (15:08.24) in short course meters. Those were her first-two-ever World Records in short course.

Thi is Ledecky’s 5th nomination. She was previously nominated in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2022.

One swimmer has won this award in its history: Missy Franklin was honored in 2014, among 14 all-time nominations for swimmers. Franklin now serves on the Global Board of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Other Nominees in this category:

  • Alexia Putellas, Spain – soccer
  • Iga Swiatek, Poland – tennis
  • Katie Ledecky, USA – swimming
  • Mikaela Shiffrin, USA – skiing
  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica – athletics
  • Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, USA – athletics

Cameron Leslie, meanwhile, was nominated in the World Sportsperson With a Disability award. He won a gold medal in the Men’s S4 100 free at the 2022 World Championships in Madeira and added silver medals in the 50 back, 50 free, and 200 free.

Just four month after those World Championships, he served as co-captain of New Zealand’s national wheelchair rugby team, which qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships in Denmark.

The 33-year-old is also the Disability and Para Swimming Participation Manager at Swimming New Zealand, aiming to make a difference with the next generation of athletes.

Born and raised in Whangarei, Leslie took up Para swimming aged 11. He is well-known in New Zealand for his Paralympic gold-medal-winning performances in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

He was nominated over swimmers like Stefano Raimondi of Italy, who won six World Championships last summer, but was recognized for his multi-sport commitment, plus his administrative role.

Other Nominees in this category:

  • Cameron Leslie, New Zealand – para swimming
  • Catherine Debrunner, Switzerland – para athletics
  • Declan Farmer, USA – para ice hockey
  • Diede De Groot, Netherlands – wheelchair tennis
  • Jesper Saltvik Pederson, Norway – para alpine skiing
  • Oksana Masters, USA – Para cross-coutnry skiing

No swimmers were nominated in the World Sportsman of the Year category. Swimmers have been nominated for that honor 9 times but have never won (past award winners have come from tennis, Formula One, athletics, golf, and soccer).

The Laureus World Sport Awards were founded in 1999 “based on the principle that sport can bridge the gaps in society and change the way people look at the world.”

The award recipients will be announced in April. For more information on the award and a full list of nominees, visit the Laureus site here.

SwimSwam: Swimmers Katie Ledecky, Cameron Leslie Nominated for Laureus World Sport Awards

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