Messi versus horse in awards race | The Daily Star
10:26 AM, November 13, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:34 AM, November 13, 2015

Messi, Usain Bolt...a horse?! Bizarre sportsman of the year award list

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been nominated for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award - but faces competition for the prize from a horse.

The Argentina star will go up against American Pharoah, the first horse to win the Grand Slam of American racing, for a prize that this year might more suitably be titled 'Sportsthing of the Year'.

Sports Illustrated's annual gong was won by a woman for the first time back in 1972 but has continued to be referred to as 'Sportsman of the Year' regardless, with teams and, now, an animal also in the running.

In addition to American Pharoah, Barca forward Messi has rivals in World Cup winner Carli Lloyd (the only other footballer nominated), NBA champion Steph Curry and the Kansas City Royals, who recently won baseball's World Series.

Tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams just missed out on calendar Grand Slams but also get the nod, as do UFC champion Ronda Rousey, golfer Jordan Spieth and gymnast Simone Biles.

Rounding off the shortlist are sprinter Usain Bolt and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who won the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his charity work.

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