Sir Sean Connery pays tribute to Sir Peter Blake

Andy Rice witnessed some of the world's biggest sports stars paying their respects to the great Kiwi legend
The line-up of international sports stars and showbiz celebrities at the Laureus Sports Awards in Monte Carlo was quite breathtaking. Headed by 400 metres hurdles legend Ed Moses, and with stars of the calibre of Michael Jordan, Nadia Comaneci, Michael Johnson and Ian Botham, over 40 big names from the Laureus World Sports Academy gathered to pay tribute to one of their founder members, and sailing’s sole representative in the Academy, Sir Peter Blake. Sir Sean Connery stepped up from his front row seat at the Grimaldi Forum to address over 800 sports stars, journalists and film stars. "It is my privilege to have been invited to act as the spokesperson for the Laureus World Sports Academy," said Connery. "I am here to explain what is their sad yet beautiful gesture of honouring just one man with two prestigious Laureus awards. "As we all know, in December 2001 Sir Peter was the victim of a senseless murder that robbed the world of a unique human being. He came to the global stage from that wonderful country of New Zealand and, while Peter was a young impressionable boy, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to conquer Mount Everest. "So Peter set out to conquer the oceans, and was widely recognised as the world's greatest sailor. He was a caring humanitarian, a pioneering conservationist and a man who truly concerned himself with the requirements of those in need. He was the very epitome of everything that the Laureus World Sports Academy stands for. "His first love was, of course, the sea, and I know that he treasured these words by the British poet John Masefield: I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted