Two-times downhill World Champion Rachel Atherton has been shortlisted for a prestigious Laureus World Sport Award, in the Action Sportsperson of the Year category.
The current World Champion and World Cup Champion is up against a number of big stars in the world of action sports including: Bob Burnquist, Brazilian skateborder and holder of 29 X Games medals; multiple surfing World Tour Champion (and shark evader) Mick Fanning of Australia; and Chloe Kim, the American snowboarder who took gold at the Winter Olympic Youth Games in 2016. Completing the shortlist of six are Brazilian surfer Adriano de Souza and Ironman triathlete Jan Frodeno.
Atherton, who was awarded the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year award in 2005 and was shortlisted again in 2015, has dominated the UCI DH World Cup for a number of years, taking the overall World Cup championship title in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015. In 2008 she ‘did the double’, taking both the World Cup title and the World Champion title at the same time, a feat she repeated in 2015.
“I am honoured to be considered for these awards, especially alongside such extraordinary athletes,” Atherton said on her nomination. “Past winners of this Action Sportsperson category are my heroes: Jamie Bestwick who won in 2014 is my all-time hero – I did my art project on him at school! It’s kind of surreal! I’m stoked that downhill is getting some of the recognition that such a rad sport deserves.”
Atherton has moved from GT Bicycles to Trek Bicycles for the 2016 season
Atherton has also been strong in supporting and developing the next generation of female downhillers. In 2015, she sponsored a new Junior Women’s category at the British Downhill Series, the UK’s national DH race series, which covers Junior, Youth and Juvenile riders. In addition to this, she offered led track walks to participants and the services of her mechanic pre-race at several rounds to advice on set-up for the track conditions.
What are the Laureus Awards?
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