Usain Bolt won his second Laureus Sportsman of the Year award, and Serena Williams won the woman's prize.
Bolt won three gold medals at last year's track world championships and set world records in the 100 and 200-meter races. Williams, who also earned the award for a second time, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles and regained the No. 1 ranking in 2009.
Kim Clijsters earned the award for the Comeback of the Year. Clijsters won the U.S. Open last year after she was absent from tennis for two years to get married and have a baby.
Two of the winners came from Formula One.
Britain's Jenson Button won the Breakthrough of the Year Award after winning his first drivers' championship, and Brawn F1 earned the team award after nearly going out of business in the offseason.
Three-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia was selected World Action Sportsperson of the Year and swimmer Natalie du Toit of South Africa earned the Laureus award for those with disabilities. Du Toit, who lost her left leg after a 2001 motorcycle crash, is one of five athletes to have competed in the Paralympics and Olympics. She swam in both competitions in Beijing in 2008.
Former Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo was presented with the Sport for Good award. Mutombo, now working for the NBA as a global ambassador, was honored for his humanitarian work through the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation.