Earlier this week it was announced that Rachel Atherton had been nominated for a Laureus Sports Award. Launched in 2000, the Laureus World Sport Awards celebrate the achievements of athletes around the World - split into seven categories, the annual event showcases athletes achievements from the previous calendar year. Rachel received a nomination for Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year
following her incredible achievements last season, and will be up for the award at the ceremony in Berlin on 18 April. If she is successful, she will be the first mountain biker in history to win such a prestigious sporting award.
Talking about her nomination, Rachel expressed surprise and how much it means to her that downhill will be acknowledged on a worldwide scale:
|I can't tell you how awesome this nomination feels, the guy who won in 2014, Jamie Bestwick was my all time sports hero, I even did an art project on him at school, so it's pretty surreal to be up for the same award! It's fantastic that our sport is being recognised more in the mainstream and that millions of people are going to get the chance to see Downhill, maybe some of them for the first time. - Rachel Atherton|
The Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year is awarded to the sportsman or sportswoman who best demonstrates supreme athletic performance and achievement in action sports in the qualifying year, such as winning World or national championships or the establishment of world records. This year, Rachel is up against some tough competition - other nominees include; Brazilian Skater, Bob Burnquist, Brazilian surfer, Adriano De Souza, Australian surfer, Mick Fanning, German triathlete, Jan Frodeno and American snowboarder, Chloe Kim.
Rachel is the first female mountain biker to be nominated for the Action Sportsperson of the Year award, and although Julien Absalon, Danny MacAskill and Darren Berrecloth have been nominated in the past, Rachel is the first downhill rider to be up for the award. This isn't the first time Rachel has brought downhill to the attention of the general public, in 2005, she was named Sunday Times' Sportswoman of the Year and BBC Midlands Junior Sportswoman of the Year. In 2008, she won BBC Midlands Sportswoman of the Year and just a few years later in 2013, she was awarded BTSport Action Woman of the Year. In 2015, she was once again nominated for BTSport Action Woman of the Year as well as being shortlisted for the Sky Sportswoman of the Year award. At only 28, Rachel is one of the most successful female mountain bikers in history, three-time world champion (once as a Junior), she took the World Championship title and World Cup overall in 2015, winning six out of seven World Cups, she also has 26 World Cup wins to her name.
Previous winners of Laureus Awards include; Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic, Michael Schumacher, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Rafael Nadal, Pelé, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo, Kelly Slater, Shaun White, and Zinedine Zidane. For more on the awards and the nominees head to the Laureus website.
Head to the Trek Factory Racing site for more on Rachel and her outstanding achievements here.