Jose Maria Olazabal receives Spain's most prestigious sports award
The accolades for Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup victory just keep coming to the victors. The latest: On Friday, winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal received the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, Spain's most prestigious sports award.
Describing Olazabal as "one of the greatest golfers in history," the award jury pointed to Olazabal's two Masters wins and four Ryder Cups, "a competition in which he also demonstrated his leadership ability when captaining the European team to an epic comeback in 2012."
Olazabal, 47, is the first golfer to win the prestigious award since his friend and hero Seve Ballesteros received it in 1989. Olazabal got his award – in total, eight were presented in fields ranging from science to literature – from Crown Prince Felipe in a ceremony in the northern city of Oviedo.
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''It's very difficult even to get nominated for the award, so I never thought I'd win it, to be honest,'' Olazabal said. ''Without question this is the most prestigious award I've ever received, so it's a real honor. I don't feel like I deserve it necessarily, but it's very nice to receive it. I didn't expect to win it, but now that I have I couldn't be happier. I've always tried to conduct myself in the right way both on and off the course, and hopefully this is recognition of that.''
The Sports Award is bestowed upon the individual, group or institution whose lives are not only examples to others, but who have also reached new heights in mankind's struggle for excellence, and who have contributed by their efforts to perfecting, nurturing, promoting and disseminating sport.
And if you're wondering why Olazabal is only now receiving this award when the Ryder Cup was last year, it's because the annual honorees are announced each summer – so the 2012 winners were chosen before the Ryder Cup.
Here's a video interview feature with Olazabal: