The Laureus World Sports Awards just announced its official list of winners for 2022—and Valentino Rossi has another trophy to add to his shelf. The fact that he’s one of motorcycle racing’s greatest living legends is well known, even to people who may not even care about racing. The Laureus Awards just named Rossi their Sporting Icon of 2022—so you could say it’s even more official. 

The win marks Rossi’s third-ever Laureus Awards win, out of nine total nominations over the years. He previously won Comeback of the Year in 2011, as well as Sporting Inspiration in 2006. His retirement from actively racing in MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season is still fresh in the minds of fans—but he’s still incredibly active in other areas of the sport. Motorcycle racing was, is, and forevermore shall be one of the fundamental pieces of who he is, and his love for it is something he’s more than happy to share with the world. 

The stats are, of course, incomparable. Rossi took home a staggering nine World Championships, 115 wins, and 235 podiums over the course of his career. To date, no other rider has won titles in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, and MotoGP categories over the course of their career. (That record is, of course, unlikely to change any time soon, since racing categories keep shifting and changing over time—but still.) 

In his acceptance speech, Rossi said, “The fact that this Award is given by sporting legends makes it more special. I was in Barcelona in 2006 [at the Laureus Awards Ceremony] and I met a lot of my idols, so it was great. I have already taken two prizes from the Laureus Academy, so I have to thank everybody for this. This is great. I was lucky because I had a lot of great achievements in my career. The victories for sure are important, but I think the most important thing is that a lot of people know MotoGP and started to follow motor cycling because of me. This is the sport that I love and I’m very proud of this.” 

Giacomo Agostini, one of the sporting legends in question, had plenty to say about Rossi’s Sporting Icon win in 2022. “Valentino is certainly the greatest rider of his generation, and one of the greatest of all time. We are Italians and we both love motor cycling. I know him very well and admire what he has done. He has certainly encouraged a lot more young people to be interested in our sport thanks to his personality, but also thanks to his skillful and daring racing,” Agostini said. 

“We didn’t race against each other – that would have been interesting,” he continued. “I would love to have raced against him on similar bikes to see who would have come out on top. I did spend a fun time with him in 2009 when we rode around the TT course in the Isle of Man together. I am delighted that the Laureus Academy has decided to give Valentino this very special Award, the Sporting Icon Award. That’s what Valentino is, and what he will remain, a hero to many millions of sports fans.” 

That’s an assessment that few would disagree with, as Rossi has been and continues to be an amazing ambassador for the sport of motorcycle racing around the world. His enthusiasm is both infectious and genuine, and it makes one of the greatest racers of all time seem incredibly relatable, even to us mere mortals. That, in and of itself, is no mean feat—but the inspiration he continues to provide to young racers is also invaluable. 

Got a tip for us? Email: