The 14th edition of the AS Awards recognised a group of exceptional men and women who, for yet another year, enhanced the world of sport in Spain. However, that was not the main reason that brought us together at the Teatro Real in Madrid under strict sanitary measures. We had several reasons. From Rafael Nadal's thirteenth Roland Garros title, Carlos Sainz's third Dakar, Joan Mir's first MotoGP World Championship to Sevilla's sixth Europa League title.
All of them were present, but those were not the exact reasons that prompted us to celebrate the most modest, shortest, least crowded, and strangest edition of the awards. What prompted us to celebrate our awards in these conditions, in these dark times of a pandemic, was something that defines any athlete without cheating; the spirit of fighting against adversity. In this sense, the winners of this year's AS Awards are all the Spanish athletes, all the executives, all the fans, all the sponsors, each and every one of the workers, who, with their efforts, managed to prevent even the worst pandemic in a century from stopping us. What we celebrated yesterday was therefore everyone's success.
"The priority is the virus, not playing," declared Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol at a meeting with which the four main sports newspapers supported the Red Cross initiative in April to raise funds against the pandemic. And so it was done. From that fight against covid-19, Spain was a benchmark of solidarity and effort, without neglecting what is important, returning athletes to the field. LaLiga, the final phase of the ACB, the Motorcycle World Championship, La Vuelta and many other activities returned and were an example for the world, thanks to the spirit and resistance of all.
AS contributed as it should. Providing information, accompanying the successes and failures of our athletes, humbly contributing, giving the best of ourselves from home, being present every day on digital platforms and at kiosks. On March 14, we left the AS newsroom, which is still practically empty. We hope to return soon. Meanwhile, here we are and here we will be, on our site, celebrating year after year the excellence of our sport and its resilience in the face of adversity.
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