The Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award went for the second time in three years to legendary American surfer Kelly Slater, who won a record ninth world title at the age of 37.
At 37, legendary surfing master Kelly Slater completed his most dominant year yet. Claiming an unprecedented ninth world title in 2008, Slater took first in six of the 10 contests he entered. His 8,832 points this year absolutely dwarfed the 6,780 of his nearest competitor. Slater did not even plan to compete in 2008, giving his rivals a sense of confidence that his later change-of-mind quickly dashed.
Slater received his award at a special ceremony held at the Home Depot Centre on the final day of the 2009 X Games from Laureus World Sports Academy members and action sports legends Tony Hawk and Robby Naish.
After receiving the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award, Slater could not contain his delight in front of a live television audience and cheering fans at the Home Depot Centre. On accepting the award Slater said "To be recognised on an international and mainstream sports level is something special that I haven't experienced a lot.
This Laureus award is something very different and special. To be recognized in this group of athletes is amazing and something I'm happy to carry with me throughout my lifetime. I'm very honoured to win this award a second time."
Laureus World Sports Academy member Tony Hawk said: "Kelly is a pioneering athlete having become the youngest ever world champion in 1992 at the age of 20. And then in 2006 he became the oldest at 34. It is a tribute to his dedication to sport and his impact on surfing that he is still around and setting the standards to beat".
Fellow Laureus Academy member Robby Naish commented, "Kelly Slater's dominance has spanned a generation and made him an icon to action sports lovers around the world. His influence on the world of surfing has been nothing short of amazing. In a sport that changes and evolves as quickly as surfing does, staying at the top of the sport for more than a decade is unprecedented".