LONDON (Reuters) - Double major golf winner Rory McIlroy and prolific Olympic Dutch speed skater Irene Wust have been named Reuters sportsman and sportswoman of the year after a poll of the news agency’s sports journalists from around the world.
Soccer World Cup winners Germany were voted team of the year, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone coach of the year, the comeback of the year went to speed skater Victor Ahn and Kei Nishikori took the breakthrough award.
After off-course issues contributed to a thin 2013, McIlroy roared back this year by winning the British Open and the U.S. PGA to double his career major tally.
He then produced one of the most dominant singles displays for years to crush Rickie Fowler and set the tone for Europe’s march to another Ryder Cup triumph.
The year ended with McIlroy top of the world rankings and money list and undisputedly the best player in the game.
The battle for the women’s title was a closer affair, with many voters swayed by Serena Williams’ age-defying achievements.
However, in Olympic year, Wust took dominance to a new level. Her five medals - gold in the 3,000m and team pursuit and silver in the 1,000, 1,500 and 5,000m - matched the individual record at any Winter Games. It also took her career tally to eight, including four golds, making her the most successful Dutch Olympian of all time.
Sochi was also the site for Ahn’s remarkable return to the Olympic ice. Eight years after winning three golds for South Korea then switching nationalities to Russia after falling out with his federation, Ahn stormed to three more golds for his adopted nation, the most by any athlete in Sochi.
Japan’s Nishikori became the first male player from Asia to reach a tennis grand slam final after a stunning U.S. Open run that included victory over world number one Novak Djokovic before he lost in the final to Croatian Marin Cilic.
Simeone’s place in Atletico Madrid’s Hall of Fame was secured when he led the city’s “second team” to their first Spanish League title for 18 years. He was within seconds of adding the Champions League title too before losing out to Real Madrid after extra time in the final.
Soccer also produced the Reuters flop of the year in the shape of the Brazilian national team.
After scuffing their way to the semi-finals in their own tournament they were blown away 7-1 by eventual champions Germany in one of the most seismic results in the history of the world’s most popular sport.
Editing by Ed Osmond