Yuzuru Hanyu "honoured" at top award nomination for PyeongChang 2018 comeback 

Japan’s two-time Winter Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater reacts to place on shortlist for a Laureus award alongside Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods.

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Yuzuru Hanyu's joy at PyeongChang 2018

Figure skating star Yuzuru Hanyu’s unforgettable performance to retain Olympic gold at PyeongChang 2018 has earned him a nomination for ‘Comeback of the Year’ at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards.

The 24-year-old faces some tough competition in the category: recently retired ski champion Lindsey Vonn and golf great Tiger Woods also received nominations.

Former winners include Roger Federer, Michael Phelps and Serena Williams.

That's just one of the awards being presented at the glitzy ceremony on Monday 18 February in Monaco.

Olympic Channel will be at the star studded event. Here's a guide to what we're most looking forward to...

A Year to Remember for Hanyu

Just three weeks before the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan couldn’t even land his triple jumps.

An injury to his right ankle ravaged his preparations for PyeongChang 2018.

The defending champion arrived at the Games under an intense media spotlight.

Fans lined up for hours in Korea, in temperatures way below freezing, just to catch a glimpse of Hanyu.

The pressure was met with an incredible performance to secure a second Olympic gold medal.

Yuzuru Hanyu's joy at PyeongChang 2018
Yuzuru Hanyu's joy at PyeongChang 2018

Comeback Rivals

Standing in Hanyu's way for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award are Americans Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods, plus Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat, Dutch Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee, and Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris who also claimed a medal in PyeongChang after almost being killed in a horror crash.

Hanyu sent a message to fans via social media saying it was "such an honour to be on the shortlist."

Biles Performance Recognised

Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles overcame an unexpected trip to the hospital for a kidney stones problem just hours before her performance at the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

It didn’t stop her from becoming the first woman to win four all-around titles and strengthening her claim for the title of 'best gymnast of all time'.

Biles is nominated for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award, alongside Olympic champion skiers Ester Ledecka and Mikaela Shiffrin, Grand Slam tennis winners Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber, and four-time Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf.

Kipchoge v Lebron

It’s a regal matchup: King LeBron against King Kipchoge.

The NBA star and two-time Olympic gold medallist LeBron James faces Kenyan marathon world record breaker Eliud Kipchoge for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award.

They are joined by FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton. World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, and tennis star Novak Djokovic complete a category where it’s almost impossible to find a consensus on the highest achiever.

Briana's Big Breakthrough

At just 16 years old, Jamaica’s Briana Williams has already captured the world’s attention.

Judging by her reaction, Williams surprised even herself with her performance in the 100m final at the IAAF u20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland.

A composed run led to a time 11.16s and afterwards she let her emotion out.

Briana Williams of Jamaica wins 100m at IAAF World U20 Championships 
Briana Williams of Jamaica wins 100m at IAAF World U20 Championships 

Coached by four-time Olympic medallist, Ato Boldon, Williams chose to represent Jamaica despite being born in the United States.

It’s hard not to make comparisons to great Jamaican sprinters (like Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson and Usain Bolt) who’ve dominated the sprint scene since Beijing 2008.

Williams is joined by Japan’s first ever Grand Slam tennis winner Naomi Osaka, Norway’s middle-distance teenager Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Italian skier Sofia Goggia and Tour de France winning double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas in the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year category**.**

Norway Lead The Way

Lillehammer 1994’s legacy bore fruit at PyeongChang 2018. The facilities it left for elite winter sports led to a spectacular Winter Olympic performance for Norway.

In total, the team won 14 gold, 14 silver, and 11 bronze medals in Korea. It was more than any other country at the Games.

The moustached ski jumper Robert Johansson nearly decided against even competing at the Winter Olympics before returning with three Olympic medals.

Norway are joined in the World Team of the Year category by the European Ryder Cup Team, NBA champions the Golden State Warriors, UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid, and Formula One world champions Mercedes AMG Petronas.

McKeever: The Big Achiever

Canadian cross-country skier and biathlete Brian McKeever secured his 14th Paralympic medal at the 2019 Winter Games.

The honour saw him become the country’s most decorated Winter Paralympian.

He’s skipping the first race of the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Canada to attend the awards in Europe.

The 39 year-old said the nomination was “a career highlight”.

Joining McKeever as nominees in the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category are wheelchair tennis ace Diede de Groot, boccia world champion Greg Polychronidis, men’s long jump world recordholder Markus Rehm, Paralympic alpine champion Henrieta Farkasova, and fellow Nordic skier Oksana Masters.

Stephanie Gilmore The Great

Emotions were high when Stephanie Gilmore won a record-equalling seventh world title in Hawaii.

The Australian is one of the favourites for gold in surfing’s first Olympic appearance at Tokyo 2020.

She’s up against a host of PyeongChang 2018 champions, with snowboarders Chloe Kim and Shaun White representing USA, along with Anna Gasser of Austria.

Two Brazilians surfers round of the list for the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year award: WSL male champion Gabriel Medina and big wave record-breaker Maya Gabeira.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter where Olympic Channel Podcast host Ed Knowles will be on the red carpet for interviews, photos, and behind-the-scenes access of the awards

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