Hollywood A-Listers Add Glamor to Laureus Sports Awards in Shanghai

Associated Press
Bill Murray

Bill Murray, Benedict Cumberbatch and Henry Cavill rub shoulders with sports legends in China's financial capital.

To his great disappointment, Bill Murray's skills at watching sports failed to win the Chicago Cubs/Bears/Bulls fan a gong at the Laureus Sports Awards in Shanghai but he still claimed credit for coaching many of the world's top sports stars.

Wearing a black Chinese-style suit, a purple fedora, what looked like a pair of golf shoes and brandishing a camera "selfie-stick" like a nine iron, Murray said he played a quiet, but key, role in training some of the stars attending the gala event in Shanghai.

Novak Djokovic beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lewis Hamilton to be named sportsman of the year at the event.

Ethiopian athlete Genzebe Dibaba was named sportswoman of the year.

"I am more than a sports fan, I'm a major sports figure. Probably half these athletes wouldn't be here were it not for my coaching," he said.

Benedict Cumberbatch, on his first trip to China, managed to get most of the Chinese names right, no easy feat, and even managed to get some jokes in, praising legendary swimmer Mark Spitz's "incredible stars-and-stripes Speedos, I mean, mustache, I mean, seven gold medals."

There was more Hollywood glamor in evidence when Man of Steel star Henry Cavill also presented an award and said meeting New Zealand rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick had been a highlight of his trip to China.

Germany's World Cup-winning international squad won the team of the year prize at the event, the first time the gong has been handed out in China.

The event was held in the Grand Theatre in the financial hub's downtown, and attracted many of the country's top sport stars.

The most popular award on the night went to a heavily pregnant Li Na, the tennis star who took the exceptional achievement gong and who arrived at the venue in the Mercedes F015 concept car.

The action sportsperson award went to Alan Eustace, the former senior vice president of Google's "Knowledge" unit who in October last year broke the record for the highest-altitude free fall jump. Tatyana McFadden won the disability award. The wheelchair racer has just won the marathon Grand Slam of London, Boston, Chicago and New York, and also won a silver medal a the Winter Paralympics.

Cumberbatch asked Yao Ming, who is 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 meters) tall, and towered over athletics star Ed Moses as he handed over the trophy, if he had perhaps been in The Hobbit. Yao let that one go.

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