Tuesday, 12 March 2013
(l-r): Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts receive the Laureus Sports Awards World Team of the Year trophy  (Getty Images)
(l-r): Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts receive the Laureus Sports Awards World Team of the Year trophy (Getty Images)
The European Ryder Cup Team was named the World Team of the Year for 2012 at the Laureus Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro on Monday.

The team, comprising Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood and captained by José María Olazábal, staged an incredible comeback on the final day of the 2012 contest at Medinah Country Club in America, coming from 10-6 down to beat the United States 14½-13½.

They were up against stiff competition from the other nominees in their category – the China Olympic Table Tennis team, Miami Heat basketball team, Red Bull Formula One team, Spain’s men’s football team and the United States basketball team – in a year which featured outstanding sporting displays at the London Olympic Games. 

In a recorded message at the ceremony in the Brazilian city, which was televised globally, the talismanic Poulter said: “This is truly special. Thank you very much to Laureus. This means an awful lot to everybody at the Ryder Cup team. With the legends in sport who have voted for us, it truly is a special trophy to put our hands on.”

Reflecting on the drama of Medinah, Poulter said: “Team spirit and team work played their part in the whole win. If you look at it and break it down we were being beaten pretty badly on Friday and pretty badly on the Saturday morning. We had to turn something around and everybody within the team managed to dig deep and gave that little bit extra. To be able to win The Ryder Cup from the position we were in was pretty special.”

Laureus World Sports Academy Member Gary Player added: "That was an unbelievable final day at The Ryder Cup. I confess I did not think Europe could do it, but the determination the team showed was sensational. Seve (Ballesteros), who did so much to revive The Ryder Cup, would have been so proud of them.”

The Laureus World Sports Awards recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2012 and are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.  The nominees were decided through a ballot by the world’s media. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, were unveiled at the awards ceremony. 

Record-breaking Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the World Sportsman of the Year and Jessica Ennis of England, who won gold in the heptathlon in the 2012 Olympics, was named World Sportswoman of the Year.


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