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Will the Nobel Prize ever be awarded in Sports?

The Nobel Prize is awarded for excellence in a total of six fields – Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Medicine, Peace, Economics and Literature.

Nobel Prize Sports Sachin Tendulkar

The Nobel Prize (Source History.com)


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 26 Oct 2021 4:25 AM GMT

It is that time of the year again. The time when the winners of the Nobel Prize are announced. Considered to be the highest honour conferred to humankind in the world, the Nobel Prize was introduced for the first time way back in the year 1901.

Named after Alfred Nobel – a Swedish chemist, engineer and inventor, the Nobel Prize is awarded to "those who have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind."

The legend goes that a newspaper wrongly published Alfred Nobel's obituary instead of his brother Ludvig's in the year 1988. This got the scientist thinking as to how the world would remember him post his death paving way for him to mention in his will that his fortune be used to hand out a series of awards to those who confer the greatest benefit to humankind every year. Alfred Nobel passed away in the year 1896.

Ever since its inception in 1901, the Nobel Prize consisting of a gold medal, diploma and monetary award has been awarded to 962 laureates till the year 2020.

The Nobel Prize is awarded for excellence in a total of six fields – Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Medicine, Peace, Economics and Literature.

But, what if the Nobel Prize was awarded for sports?

The very aim of the Nobel Prize is that it would only be conferred to those who have had the greatest benefit to humankind, ruling sports out of contention straight away. But, Nelson Mandela once said, "Sports has the power to change the world."

Though we have had multiple stories of people using sports as a medium to uplift the oppressed in India itself, none of it has got the recognition it deserves. We have had some top athletes speaking up on various social issues and using their position to bring a change in the world.

But, the question remains is all this a good enough reason for someone to be recognised with a Nobel Prize?

Have there been efforts to have the Nobel Prize awarded in sports?

Well, not really. Though there have been discussions here and there, nothing of this sort has happened on a large scale.

Instead, the Laureus World Sports Awards presented by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is equated as the Nobel Prize in sports.

The Laureus World Sports Awards was introduced in the year 2000 with the great Nelson Mandela giving the keynote speech. The awards have since been presented annually in eight different categories as of 2020.

Over the years, Roger Federer has been honoured with 5 Laureus World Sports Awards – the most by an individual.

Sachin Tendulkar is the only Indian to have achieved the Laureus World Sports Awards. He achieved this feat last year when he won the Sporting Moment Award (2000-2020) for the moment where he was carried on shoulders by his teammates following India's 2011 Cricket World Cup win.

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