England Women star Beth Mead has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Mead, who played a key role in helping the Lionesses win the European Championship this summer, becomes the first female footballer to win the award.
She beat England Men’s Test cricket captain Ben Stokes, who came second, while curler Eve Muirhead came third. Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan, gymnast Jessica Gadirova and 1500m world champion Jake Wightman were also nominated for the award.
On winning the award, Mead said, “I am speechless for once. I am incredibly honored to win this award. I wouldn’t have done it without the girls.
“The team supported me. Yes, I won this distinction, I scored a few goals but I wouldn’t have done it without them. I wouldn’t have done it without my father, my mother and all my family.
“It’s for women’s sport and women’s sport is going in the right direction. Let’s keep pushing and keep doing what it takes.
Mead was able to attend even though her club Arsenal were in action in the Women’s Champions League on Wednesday night as she is currently recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The match, which Arsenal won 9-1, ended before the SPOTY winner was announced and Mead’s teammates celebrated as they watched the announcement about the team’s manager.
AMAZING SCENES!!!!! pic.twitter.com/vis4rMZtwq
— Jen Beattie (@jbeattie91) December 21, 2022
Her success makes her the 13th individual winner of the award, with Jayne Torvill also claiming it as part of her ice dancing partnership with Christopher Dean in 1984. She is also only the sixth footballer to win the award in 68 years of history.
Mead’s success in 2022 was all the more remarkable as she was left out of Great Britain’s squad for the Tokyo Olympics last year.
She now faces a race to be fit for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, injured while playing for Arsenal last month.
Her victory completed a hat-trick of awards for the Lionesses on the night, as the side were voted Team of the Year for their Euro triumph with Sarina Wiegman picking up the Coach of the Year award.
World Cup-winning Argentina captain Lionel Messi was named Global Sport Star of the Year on Monday, with Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt chosen as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rob Burrow received the Helen Rollason Award for his work raising awareness of motor neurone disease, a condition he was diagnosed with in 2019.
He received the award alongside his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Kevin Sinfield, who has raised over £7million for motor neuron disease research and awareness.
Gadirova picked up the Young Sports Personality of the Year award after winning gold on floor at the World Gymnastics Championships earlier this year.
The 18-year-old was also part of the British team that won silver at the same event, where she also won bronze in the all-around. She won the Young Personality award ahead of skateboarder Sky Brown and diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix.
Mike Alden, who was diagnosed with brittle bone disease aged four but continued to play football and now coach at Bristol, won the Unsung Hero award.
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