World domination for America

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The Independent Online

Americans dominate the nominations for the inaugural Laureus Sports Awards - sport's answer to the Oscars.

In the World Sportsman of the Year award the winner will be either Andre Agassi, Maurice Greene or Tiger Woods.

The World Sportswoman of the Year - also to be announced in Monaco on May 20 - is between Lindsay Davenport, sprinter Marion Jones and Romania's Gabriela Szabo.

Manchester United are among the nominations for the World Team of the Year but they face stiff competition from the Australian rugby union team which lifted the World Cup in Wales last November and the United States women's soccer side.

The awards are the first annual ceremony to celebrate sporting excellence across all disciplines and all continents.

Nominations were submitted by more than 230 leading sports journalists in more than 75 countries, and the final decision rests with the World Sports Academy comprising some of sports greatest personalities.

The 36 founder members include Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sebastian Coe, Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jack Nicklaus, Pele and Mark Spitz.

The other main categories are for World Newcomer of the Year - the nominations there are Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia, tennis' Serena Williams and American footballer Kurt Warner - and World Comeback of the Year.

In that category Agassi is nominated again along with cycling's Lance Armstrong and Swedish athlete Ludmila Engqvist.

Two other categories are for World Sports Person of the Year with a disability and World Alternative Sports Person of the Year restricted to alternative sports.

In the disabled category the nominations are the American athlete Brian Frasure, French swimmer Beatrice Hess and Australian athlete Louise Savage.

Two additional awards will be presented in Monaco - one for lifetime achievement and the other named the "Sport for Good" award which will go to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to society through sport.

The awards have been established by DaimlerChrysler and Richemont, whose luxury goods portfolio includes Cartier who have designed the Laureus statuettes for each winner.