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Schumacher takes Laureus

Tiger loses competition to a professional driver

MONTE CARLO, Monaco — Formula One racecar driver Michael Schumacher triumphed over two-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Tiger Woods, among others, at the third annual event.

Schumacher arrived fresh from his win last weekend at the Austrian Gran Prix, along with other high-profile athletes and celebs, at one of the best-attended awards since its inception.

World Sportswoman of the Year Jennifer Capriati was the only winner unable to pick up the kudos in person, but accepted her award from Laureus academy member Martina Navratilova via live satellite link in Rome, where she was playing a tournament.

Tennis player Goran Ivanisevic won the World Comeback of the Year prize. However, he announced in Monaco Tuesday that he would not defend his Wimbledon victory this summer due to a shoulder injury. “I see this as just another challenge in my life,” said Ivanisevic, who came to Wimbledon unseeded last year to take the English trophy.

The Australian cricket team was named Team of the Year, while Newcomer of the Year went to Colombian F1 racer Juan Pablo Montoya. Brazilian skateboarder Bob Burnquist snared the Alternative Sportsperson of the Year award, and Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer was voted Sportsperson of the Year With a Disability.

A combined Lifetime Achievement award and Laureus Sport for Good award went to the late yachtsman and environmentalist Peter Blake, who was killed on his boat in the Amazon last year and was a founding member of the Laureus academy.

The Laureus awards, which will air on NBC, drew a high-powered crowd of athletes and celebs. Hosted by thesp Eriq LaSalle, kudofest featured a presenters including Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, as well as Natalie Cole and British tenor Russell Watson. More than 20 of the Laureus acad members were on hand, including Edwin Moses, Michael Jordan, Boris Becker and Nadia Comaneci.

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