June 15, 2009 - Ambassador for Rio de Janeiro’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, brilliant young swimmer Daniel Dias is the winner of the 2009 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.
The trophy, know as the “Oscar of Sport,” was a recognition for the Brazilian athlete’s performance at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, where he was the leading medal winner, with four golds (50m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 200m medley), four silvers (50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and 4x50m medley relay) and one bronze (4x50m freestyle relay).
At a ceremony held today in London, Dias received the world's most prestigious award in disability sport from Sebastian Coe, chairman of the organizing committee for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious award. This is an important young swimmers with disabilities to dedicate themselves even more to the sport,” said Dias, who was competing against American April Holmes (athletics), British Darren Kenny (cycling), Swedish Jonas Jacobsson (shooting), Spanish Teresa Perales (swimming), and Chinese Zhang Lixin (athletics).
Twenty-year-old Dias is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Rio 2016 bid. After participating in the official delivery of Rio’s Candidature File to the IOC in February, he spoke about the city’s plans for the Paralympic Games during the IOC’s Evaluation Commission visit in April. “The first time that Paralympic sport had the same status as Olympic sport at a Pan American Games was in Rio in 2007. And our plans for Rio 2016 have the same spirit. Hosting the most important sports event on the planet will promote the benefits of inclusion in Rio de Janeiro and throughout Brazil,” he said.