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15 May 2002, 10:10 am
Double Honours For Sir Peter Blake At 2002 Laureus World Sport Awards
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Sir Peter Blake

Yesterday, New Zealand yachting legend and Laureus World Sports Academy founder member Sir Peter Blake, was posthumously given both the `Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award' and the `Laureus Sport for Good Award' .
Peter's widow Lady Pippa and their two children accepted the two awards to a standing ovation from Hollywood legend Sir Sean Connery who gave a moving tribute to Peter at the 2002 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.

"All I can say is that we were very, very proud of Peter," she said. "He was a wonderful father and a wonderful husband and I am immensely proud of the Laureus Academy for making this Lifetime Achievement Award for him.

"He believed in all that the Foundation stood for. He really believed sport could make a difference and now we can all make a difference."

Connery also paid a moving tribute to a New Zealander regarded as one of the most respected ocean sailors in yachting history.

"It is my privilege to have been invited to act as the spokesperson for the Laureus World Sports Academy," said Connery. "I am here to explain what is their sad yet beautiful gesture of honouring just one man with two prestigious Laureus awards.

"As we all know, in December 2001 Sir Peter was the victim of a senseless murder that robbed the world of a unique human being. He came to the global stage from that wonderful country of New Zealand and, while Peter was a young impressionable boy, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to conquer Mount Everest.

"So Peter set out to conquer the oceans, and was widely recognised as the world's greatest sailor. He was a caring humanitarian, a pioneering conservationist and a man who truly concerned himself with the requirements of those in need. He was the very epitome of everything that the Laureus World Sports Academy stands for.

"His first love was, of course, the sea, and I know that he treasured these words by the British poet John Masefield:

'I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.'
"Sweet dreams, Peter."

The tall and blond-haired Blake won the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989, captured the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 with a record-breaking non-stop voyage and, in 1995, helped make Team New Zealand only the second non-American team in the America's Cup's 144-year history to take the coveted silver trophy. He won the America's Cup for the second time with Team New Zealand in 2000. Last year, Blake was posthumously awarded the Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee, one of its highest. In 1994 was honoured by the International Sailing Federation as their World Sailor of the Year, alongside Sir Robin Knox Johnston in recognition of their record breaking circumnavigation on ENZA.


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