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Four-time Olympic swimming champion Missy Franklin and German formula one driver Sebastian Vettel were named sportswoman and sportsman of the year at the 15th Laureus World Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday (26 March).
Considered the 'Oscars of Sport', the awards ceremony also recognised Bayern Munich as the team of the year, after the football club became European champions for the fifth time last year, when they also won the German league and cup.
United States swimmer Franklin, 18, became the first woman to win six gold medals at the world championships in Barcelona last year, when she claimed three individual and three relay titles. These medals were added to the four golds she won at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She beat Nadine Angerer (football), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (athletics), Yelena Isinbayeva (athletics), Tina Maze (skiing) and Serena Williams (tennis) to the Laureus award.
Vettel, at the age of 26, became formula one's youngest four-time champion when he won 13 races in 2013 for his fourth consecutive title. He overcame Usain Bolt (athletics), Mo Farah (athletics), LeBron James (basketball), Rafael Nadal (tennis) and Cristiano Ronaldo (football) to claim the Laureus award.
Spanish Moto GP motorcycle racer Marc Márquez won the breakthrough of the year award, Nadal won the best comeback prize, French skiier Marie Bochet was the best sportsperson with a disability and British BMX star Jamie Bestwick took the action sportsperson of the year award.
Two other special awards were handed out: the Afghanistan cricket team won the spirit of sport prize and the Magic Bus social project, which works with underprivileged children in India, received the sport for good award.
Nominees are selected by a group of leading sports journalists and the winners are voted for by the Laureus World Sports Academy, which is made up of leading sportspeople, including swimmer Mark Spitz, gymnast Nadia Comaneci, pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, rugby player Sean Fitzpatrick and tennis legend John McEnroe.