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Laureus kudos tee up noms, networks

Woods, Williams, Jones all in the running

BERLIN — The World Sports Academy announced its nominations for this year’s Laureus World Sports Awards in the German capital Tuesday.

Nominees include golfer Tiger Woods, Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher, swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband, runners Marion Jones and Cathy Freeman and tennis player Venus Williams.

Academy members, including athletes Edwin Moses, Mark Spitz, Nadia Comaneci and Boris Becker, chose representatives in all fields from a list drawn up by more than 300 sports journalists from 75 countries.

Sponsors hope to broaden the show’s appeal and make it into a popular media event akin to the Oscars and Grammys.

Last year’s show, hosted by Jeff Bridges, Ashley Judd and Dylan McDermott, was broadcast to more than 150 countries and reached more than a billion viewers worldwide. This year’s awards ceremony, to be held May 20 at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum, will focus on the increasing convergence of sports, entertainment and film by highlighting films about sports.

Related events include a filmfest showcasing top sports films, with big-name stars expected to attend.

Ceremony will be broadcast in localized feeds by major networks around the globe, including NBC and German pubcaster ZDF.

“The NBC exposure will give us the distribution that the Laureus World Sports Awards needs to develop its profile in the United States,” said Iain Banner, CEO of the Laureus World Sports Awards.

The awards were established by Daimler-Chrysler and Swiss luxury goods group Richemont.

Organizers say the awards use sportsto tackle pressing social challenges through the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. In the past year, the charity has helped fund youth projects in Berlin, Northern Ireland, Kenya, the Czech Republic and the U.S.

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