Sports & Recreation

December, 18, 2003 - 09:30 AM / ET

Formula 1 Driver Juan Pablo Montoya Named Premios Fox Sports Athlete of the Year; Esteban Loaiza, Adrian Fernandez, Carlos Valderrama among Athletes Honored at Inaugural Show
Performances by Carlos Ponce, Alexandre Pires, Patricia Manterola and Roselyn Sanchez complete a star-filled evening

LOS ANGELES--(HISPANIC PR WIRE - BUSINESS WIRE)--December 18, 2003--Complete with red carpet arrivals and an opening performance by Mexican pop singer Patricia Manterola, the inaugural Premios Fox Sports awards show gathered some of today's biggest names in the worlds of sports and entertainment to honor for the first time the achievements of U.S. Hispanic and Latin American athletes. Among the honorees was Colombian Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, the evening's only two-award recipient; he was named Athlete of the Year and Latin American Driver of the Year.

Held at the New Radisson Hotel Miami, the show will be televised on Sunday, December 21st at 10:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. PST on Fox Sports en Espanol in the United States, and on Fox Sports Latin America throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Other honorees included Chicago White Sox pitcher Esteban Loaiza (Latin American Baseball Player of the Year); San Antonio Spurs guard Emmanuel Ginobili (Latin American Basketball Player of the Year); Rolex Rookie of the Year, golfer Lorena Ochoa (Female Latin American Golfer of the Year); Boca Juniors forward Carlos Alberto Tevez (Latin American Soccer Player of the Year); and golfer Carlos Franco (Latin American Golfer of the Year). In total, more than 20 athletes were honored in their respective sports for their outstanding performance over the past year.

Special awards were also given in a variety of categories including: Humanitarian of the Year (Mauricio Cienfuegos); Outstanding Contribution to the World of Motor Sports (Adrian Fernandez); Goalie of the Year (Jose Luis Chilavert, Paraguay); 2003 World Series Champions (Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez on behalf of the Florida Marlins). Golfer Vicente Fernandez and soccer star Carlos Valderrama were honored with special awards for their Outstanding Careers.

Interweaved in the awards presentations were performances by multi-Billboard Magazine awards winner Carlos Ponce; Brazilian super star Alexandre Pires, who received Latin Grammy nominations in 2003 for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Album; Roselyn Sanchez, a rising, multitalented performer whose film credits include "Chasing Papi," "Rush Hour 2" and "Basic"; and Manterola, who received a platinum album last year from her record label BMG for her worldwide release "Que El Ritmo No Pare," which sold more than 400,000 copies.

The list of presenters was equally as impressive and included Mexican diva Lucia Mendez; Miss USA Susie Castillo; L.A. Galaxy midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos; 1986 Miss Universe Barbara Palacios; Olympic gold medal winner in tennis Mary Joe Fernandez; the first Latin American woman driver ever to be classified "expert" Milka Duno. Joining them were Ponce, Manterola and Sanchez, among others.

The growing presence of Latinos in sports has bolstered their visibility internationally, and they continue to achieve significant milestones. Latino baseball players in Major League Baseball now number 195 and represent more than 23% of the big leagues' rosters. The auto racing world saw six Mexican drivers competing in this season's Champ Car World Series and Formula 1 saw Montoya make a serious run at the World Championship title.

Sponsors of the inaugural Premios Fox Sports include General Motors, Sears, Johnnie Walker, Miller Beer, Konica, Adidas, American Airlines, McDonald's, Nextel, Toyota, Sharpie, Mexicana Airlines and Pennzoil.

The International Kids Fund, a division of the Miami-based Jackson Memorial Foundation, is the official charity of Premios Fox Sports. A portion of the proceeds from the evening's events will benefit the International Kids Fund and help provide critically ill children from Latin America and the Caribbean with life-saving medical care that is unavailable in their country of origin.

Fox Pan American Sports LLC is an international sports programming and production entity jointly owned by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst; Fox Entertainment Group (NYSE:FOX) and News Corporation's (NYSE:NWS) Fox Sports International; and Liberty Media Corporation.

Editor's Note: Photographs of the event (red carpet arrivals, performances, awards presentations) will be available throughout the evening at: http://www.foxsportsla.com/world/fsla/premios_fs.

--30--JC/la*

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