Wiggins named BBC Sports Personality of the Year
LONDON (AFP) –
Tour de France winner and Olympic time-trial champion Bradley Wiggins was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year at a star-studded live ceremony in London on Sunday.
The 32-year-old cyclist won ahead of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, while tennis player Andy Murray, who triumphed at the Olympics and the US Open, came third in the annual public poll, which received 1.5 million votes.
“I’m just going to say thank you very much for everyone who picked the phone up and voted,” said Wiggins, who became the first British winner of the Tour de France and took his tally of Olympic gold medals to four at the London Games.
“What a year. And to stand on this stage with these people next to me is incredible.”
Prince William’s pregnant wife, Catherine, presented Wiggins with his award at the ExCel Centre, in her first public appearance since she was hospitalised for severe morning sickness about two weeks ago.
The ceremony capped a memorable year for sport in Great Britain, which was recognised when the country’s Olympic and Paralympic squad — who between them won 185 medals during the London Games — were named Team of the Year.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton.
“It was an incredible atmosphere and it’s wonderful to be presented with this award, but there are so many people behind the scenes who help us get to where we are today.”
Dave Brailsford was named Coach of the Year for masterminding Wiggins’ Tour de France triumph as head of Team Sky and then overseeing a haul of eight gold medals for the host nation’s cyclists at the Olympics.
The Overseas Personality of the Year award went to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who repeated his 100m-200m-4x100m relay triple from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to cement his legacy as the world’s greatest ever sprinter.
The Duchess of Cambridge also handed a lifetime achievement award to two-time Olympic champion athlete Sebastian Coe, 56, who spearheaded London’s successful bid for the Games and then chaired the organising committee.
The Young Sports Personality of the Year award went to 15-year-old swimmer Josef Craig, who has cerebral palsy and won a Paralympic gold medal in the 400m freestyle S7.
Martine Wright, who lose both legs in the July 2005 London bombings, was awarded the Helen Rollason Award for achievement in the face of adversity after competing for Britain in the sitting volleyball at the Paralympics.
Helen Rollason was a BBC Sport presenter who died from cancer in 1999.
Aside from the main award, the remaining prizes were decided by a panel of experts.