A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old adage goes. But in Monaco, a picture may be worth even more. Every year, Sportel Awards gives out prestigious awards for the best images in international sports journalism during an incredible three-day celebration.
So much of the way we experience the world is through visual media. Pictures and videos allow us to be in many places at once, giving us front-row seats to tournaments, matches and competitions around the globe.
Created in 1990 by Georges Bertellotti, a Monegasque journalist and athlete, the Sportel Awards is a competition for the best sports footage, as well as a chance for fans and renowned personalities to come together.
Meet your heroes
A big part of the Sportel Awards is giving fans a chance to meet their heroes. Internationally renowned champions from all walks of life participate in signing sessions, exclusive one-on-one meetings and round table discussions during the three day event. Sports personalities share inspiring stories, insight about staying disciplined and chat about their upcoming competitions. The Sportel awards ceremony is open and free to the public.
The World Champion Fighter who was bullied at school
Last year’s president was none other than the greatest gentlemen fighter in the history of ultimate fighting, Georges St-Pierre. Hailing from Saint-Isidore, Quebec, Georges St-Pierre started karate at the age of 9 to defend himself against a school bully. He is now an MMA UFC Double World Champion, Member of the UFC Hall of Fame and was featured in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Falcon.
Georges St-Pierre said he was very honoured and had a lot of fun being president of the jury for the Sportel Awards. According to the champion fighter, the experience opened his eyes to the world of sports journalism and he was able to witness some very beautiful projects before presenting the winners with their awards in Monaco.
Emotion, passion and sharing
The Olympics in Paris is less than a year away and sports is already on everybody’s minds. One of Sportel’s guests of honour, Marie Bochet, was recently elected president of the Athletes Commission for the Paralympic Games. The eight-time Paralympic alpine ski champion said she was very honoured to have been elected. The athlete put on skis for the first time in kindergarten. At the age of 11, she competed in her first French championships. In 2014, she won four gold medals at the Paralympics, a feat she repeated four years later in 2018 while being the flag bearer for the French Delegation. She attended the most recent Sportel Awards event and has decided to compete in one last season during 2023-24 before ending her competitive career.
Lifetime Sport Achievement Award winners: Alain Prost and Didier Deschamps
There have been two lifetime achievement awards given out by Sportel over 30 years. One went to racing driver and F1 team owner Alain Prost in 2019. The incredible athlete held the record for most Grand Prix victories (51) for almost fifteen years. He won the Monaco Grand Prix four times, more than any other French driver. (Back in 1979, during Prost’s youthful days, he was arrested in Monaco for juvenile mischief. Prost was released from Police custody just in time to start the Formula Three race, where he finished fourth!)
“It’s always an honour to receive a prize from the sports community with people who worked on sport, broadcasters and advertisers and it’s important for me to receive it here in Monaco because this is a special and symbolic place for me,” said Alain Prost.
After a career as a football player, Didier Deschamps began his managing career with Monaco, and helped the club win the Coupe de la Ligue in 2003. In 2018, Prince Albert II presented the Sportel Lifetime Achievement award to Deschamps for his outstanding career as the manager for the French national football team. Deschamps helped lead France to their second FIFA World Cup victory in 2018. The nearby Stadium in Cap d’Ail was renamed “Didier Deschamps” soon after the national team’s victory.
“I personally appreciate meeting great sports people from other disciplines. Sport is honoured with the Sportel Awards each year,” said Didier Deschamps.
“Get my good side!”
Monaco is big on sports. From the Grand Prix, to the Monte-Carlo Masters, to the Tour de France, to rugby, football and Prince Albert’s participation in the Olympics, sports have always been an integral part of Monaco’s identity. For such a small country, Monaco not only hosts a huge amount of international sporting events, it’s also home to many of the world’s top athletes. So what better place to celebrate the big emotions, strict competitiveness and physical prowess of the world’s athletes than with an awards night that celebrates the people behind the camera, the people that capture the best moments in sports for all to see.
Sportel Awards 2023
On October, 23 the winners of the Sportel Awards 2023 were unveiled, shedding light on the finest sporting moments of the year at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco. Marc Maury, former decathlete and rugby luminary, led the proceedings of the ceremony.
Notably, the seven Podiums d’Or Georges Bertellotti honoured these moments, including the Documentary Award to Torquil Jones for “Villeneuve Pironi”, the Reportage Award to Matamba Kombila for “Aya: the first female swimmer to represent Gabon at the Olympics”, as did the prestigious Renaud de Laborderie Book Award for the year’s most outstanding sports publication “Iconic Nadal” by Corinne Dubreuil (France).
The evening drew to a close with Pierre Casiraghi, representing H.S.H. Prince Albert II, presenting the Legend Prize to Katarina Witt. Katarina is the most decorated figure skater of the modern era, a two-time Olympic champion, a four-time world champion, a six-time European champion, and eight-time German champion. In joining the Legends club of Sportel Awards, Katarina Witt follows in the footsteps of Didier Deschamps and Alain Prost.