LAUSANNE, December 29, 2020 – Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and Polish striker Robert Lewandowski have been named the AIPS Best Athletes of 2020. Bayern Munich won the AIPS Best Team of 2020 after breaking a plethora of records en route to winning five trophies. This is the result of a poll by the International Sport Press Association (AIPS), where a panel of 422 journalists from 116 countries voted for the Champions of 2020.
It is the first time that Lewandowski and Osaka are winning the prestigious accolade which attracts votes from a vast network of professionals across the world annually.
Bayern Munich goal machine Lewandowski garnered 620 points, enough to see off British seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton on 546 points and Spanish 20-time tennis Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal in third with 378 points.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Osaka topped the AIPS poll for Best Female Athlete with 526 points ahead of Venezuelan triple jump world indoor record-holder Yulimar Rojas (331 points) and American tennis legend Serena Williams, who won her 73rd WTA title at the 2020 ASB Classic, in third with 327 points.
Bayern Munich, six-time UEFA Champions League winners, were dominant in the Best Team poll, receiving a total of 1317 points, followed by reigning Premier League champions Liverpool with 753 points, while 2020 NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers had to settle for third place with 658 points.
AIPS decided not to present the unique award for the Best Press Facilities as there have been no major international or continental sporting events held under normal circumstances in 2020. We look forward to reintroducing the award in 2021.
BEST MALE ATHLETE 2020
Robert Lewandowski, 32-year-old, born in Warsaw, Poland, has been in blistering form over the last year, contributing a whopping 55 goals in 47 games to Bayern Munich’s exceptional 2019/20 treble triumph.
He won the German league and cup double as well as the Champions League with Bayern and finished as top scorer in all three competitions – top scorer for the third time in a row in the Bundesliga and fourth successive year in the DFB Cup. He won five trophies in total with Bayern Munich in 2020, including the UEFA Super Cup and the German Super Cup.
On December 16, 2020, the prolific striker became the third player in Bundesliga history to score 250 goals and the first non-German to reach that milestone. He scored more competitive goals in the 2020 calendar year (47) than any other player in Europe’s top leagues – breaking the 40-goal mark in all competitions for the fourth year in a row.
Lewandowski scooped the Bundesliga Player of the Season, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year and The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards. He was also named the “Player of the Year” at the Globe Soccer Awards and could have easily won the 2020 Ballon d’Or award if it had not been cancelled.
BEST MALE ATHLETE – TOP TEN
1 – Lewandowski Robert – Football 620 (16,32%)
2 – Hamilton Lewis – Formula1 – 546 (14,38%)
3 – Nadal Rafael – Tennis – 378 (9,95%)
4 – James LeBron – Basketball – 361 (9,51%)
5 – Duplantis Armand – Athletics – 347 (9,14%)
6 – Ronaldo Cristiano – Football – 300 (7,9%)
7 – Djokovic Novak – Tennis – 280 (7,37%)
8 – Cheptegei Joshua – Athletics – 181 (4,77%)
9 – Pogačar Tadej – Cycling – 179 (4,71%)
10 – Thiem Dominic – Tennis – 104 (2,74%)
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE 2020
Naomi Osaka, 23-year-old, born in Chūō-ku, Japan, to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, moved with her family to New York when she was three. She first grabbed the headlines in 2016 at the age of 19, when she won the Women’s Tour Association (WTA) Newcomer of the Year award after reaching her first WTA final and rising to a career-high ranking of No. 40.
Her US Open championship victory surely qualifies as one of the highlights of the 2020 tennis season not just for her impressive athleticism but also for her extraordinary activism.
Osaka highlighted racial and social injustice throughout her run at the tournament, where she wore seven black masks bearing the names of different victims, one for each round.
The highest-paid and most tweeted about female athlete of 2020 came from a set down to beat Victoria Azarenka and win her second US Open title in three years – and the third major of her career.
Prior to the US Open, Osaka reached the Western & Southern Open final but pulled out because of a left hamstring injury. She also hogged global headlines during that tournament for her decision to boycott her semi-final match in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a move that resulted in the tournament pausing play for the day.
Osaka shot to international fame when she defeated her idol Serena Williams in a controversial US Open final in 2018 to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Then she clinched her second major soon after at the Australian Open in 2019.
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE – TOP TEN
1 – Osaka Naomi – Tennis – 526 (13,85%)
2 – Rojas Yulimar – Athletics – 331 (8,72%)
3 – Williams Serena – Tennis – 327 (8,61%)
4 – Świątek Iga – Tennis – 310 (8,16%)
5 – Brignone Federica – Alpine ski – 245 (6,45%)
6 – Miedema Vivianne – Football – 211 (5,56%)
7 – Gidey Letesenbet – Athletics – 200 (5,27%)
8 – Jepchirchir Peres – Athletics – 186 (4,9%)
9 – Hassan Sifan – Athletics – 182 (4,79%)
10 – Shiffrin Mikaela – Alpine ski – 162 (4,27%)
BEST TEAM OF 2020
Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich became only the second European club in history to achieve the continental treble twice after clinching the Bundesliga title for the eighth straight year, retaining the German Cup and lifting their sixth UEFA Champions League title in 2020.
The German giants became the first side to win every match in a UCL campaign and also the first team ever in Europe’s top five league to win 23 competitive matches in a row.
The 8-2 humiliation of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals is one of the most notable wins in Bayern’s record-breaking winning streak, which began against Cologne in February and ended with a defeat to Hoffenheim at the end of September.
They won a total of five trophies in 2020, including the UEFA Super Cup and the German Super Cup.
Alongside Lewandowski, Flick and Bayern Munich were also honoured at the Globe Soccer Awards 2020 in recognition of the club’s outstanding year. Flick was also named the 2019/2020 UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year.
BEST TEAM – TOP TEN
1 – FC Bayern Munich – Football – 1317 (34,68%)
2 – Liverpool F.C. – Football – 753 (19,83%)
3 – Los Angeles Lakers – Basketball – 658 (17,32%)
4 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team – Formula 1 – 436 (11,48%)
5 – Spanish National Handball Team – Handball – 140 (3,69%)
6 – Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic – Tennis – 129 (3,4%)
7 – Norway Biathlon Team (Female) – Biathlon – 107 (2,82%)
8 – Swiss Alpine Ski National Team – Alpine ski – 84 (2,21%)
9 – Norway Biathlon Team (Male) – Biathlon – 70 (1,84%)
10 – German Eight – Rowing – 48 (1,26%)
AIPS members from the following 116 nations participated in the Champions of 2020 poll:
Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central Africa Republic, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dr Congo, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Yemen