Mick Fanning's year from hell could earn him two Laureus World Sports awards.
Fanning and fellow Australian Jason Day have been short-listed as finalists for the prestigious annual awards, with winners of the 17th edition to be announced on April 18 in Berlin.
Three-time world surfing champion Fanning is nominated in the action sportsperson category, however it is the comeback of the year category that appears most likely to secure him an award.
The comeback category is usually the domain of those who have returned from retirement or significant injury.
But Fanning's return to competition after fighting off a great white shark in the final of the Jeffreys Bay event in South Africa last July garnered worldwide attention and could put him ahead of a field that includes swimming's Michael Phelps, rugby's Dan Carter and skiing's Lyndsey Vonn.
Fanning returned to the world tour in the next event at Tahiti, and almost claimed the world title in Hawaii last December, in the same week his brother Peter died.
Day will again go head to head with American world No.1 golfer Jordan Spieth when the world breakthrough of the year award is decided.
The 28-year-old Australian won his first major championship - the US PGA Championship - last August with a record score of 20-under-par.
He also won the Canadian Open, The Barclays and BMW Championship and bagged the world No.1 ranking before losing it again to Spieth who bagged his first two majors - the Masters and US Open - among his wins last year.
The All Blacks will be favoured to win team of the year after their World Cup triumph, while Serena Williams could win a third world sportswoman award.
LAUREUS AWARDS FINALISTS:
* Sportsman of the Year: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) athletics, Stephen Curry (USA) basketball, Novak Djokovic (Serbia) tennis, Lewis Hamilton (UK) motor racing, Lionel Messi (Argentina) football, Jordan Spieth (USA) golf
* Sportswoman of the Year: Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) athletics, Anna Fenninger (Austria) skiing, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) athletics, Katie Ledecky (USA) swimming, Carli Lloyd (USA) football, Serena Williams (USA) tennis
* Team of the Year: All Blacks (New Zealand) rugby, FC Barcelona (Spain) football, Golden State Warriors (USA) basketball, Great Britain Davis Cup Team (tennis), Mercedes Formula One Team (Germany), USA women's football Team
* Breakthrough of the Year: Chile men's football Team, Jason Day (Australia) golf, Tyson Fury (UK) boxing, Adam Peaty (UK) swimming, Jordan Spieth (USA) golf, Max Verstappen (Netherlands) motor racing
* Comeback of the Year: Dan Carter (New Zealand) rugby, Jessica Ennis-Hill (UK) athletics, Mick Fanning (Australia) surfing, Michael Phelps (USA) swimming, David Rudisha (Kenya) athletics, Lindsey Vonn (USA) skiing
* Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Marie Bochet (France) skiing, Liu Cuiqing (China) athletics, Daniel Dias (Brazil) swimming, Omara Durand (Cuba) athletics, Pieter Du Preez (South Africa) athletics, cycling, Leung Yuk Wing (China-Hong Kong) boccia
* Action Sportsperson of the Year: Rachel Atherton (UK) mountain biking, Bob Burnquist (Brazil) skateboard, Adriano de Souza (Brazil) surfing, Mick Fanning (Australia) surfing, Jan Frodeno (Germany) ironman triathlon, Chloe Kim (USA) snowboarding