Beth Mead crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year after firing England to their first major international trophy in 56 years at Euro 2022… becoming the first women’s footballer to win the award, with Ben Stokes second and Eve Muirhead third
- Beth Mead has been named as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2022
- The Lionesses star was the runaway favourite to win the award at odds of 1/80
- Mead led England to glory at Euro 2022 scoring six goals during the tournament
- She won the Golden Boot as well as the Player of the Tournament award
Beth Mead hobbled into history on Wednesday night as the first female footballer to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Arriving at the ceremony on crutches after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament last month, the Lionesses hero limped on to stage to collect her award having topped the public vote ahead of cricket superstar Ben Stokes and Olympic champion curler Eve Muirhead.
Mead’s coronation came at Media City in Salford, a short stroll across the canal from Old Trafford, where she netted the winner for England in their Women’s Euros opener against Austria in July.
Beth Mead has been crowned as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2022
Mead led England to glory at Euro 2022 with the Lionesses beating Germany 2-1 in the final
That was the first of six goals the Arsenal striker scored in the tournament as the Lionesses went on to become the first senior side from this country to win a major trophy since Bobby Moore’s World Cup heroes of 1966.
Mead now joins Moore as one of only six footballers to win SPOTY and the first since Ryan Giggs in 2009. The other legends on the list are Paul Gascoigne (1990), Michael Owen (1998) and David Beckham (2001).
In her acceptance speech, an emotional Mead, whose mother June is battling cancer, said: ‘I am incredibly honoured to win this award. I have got this accolade and I did my job, I scored a few goals, but I wouldn’t have done it without my team and I certainly wouldn’t have done it without my dad, my mum and all my family.
‘Most of all, this is for women’s sport and for women’s sport heading in the right direction. Let’s keep pushing girls and keep doing the right things.’
Mead succeeds last year’s SPOTY Emma Raducanu, the first time that women have won the award back to back since 1972. And the Lionesses netted a hat-trick in Salford as England’s women were selected as Team of the Year and their manager, Sarina Weigman, was named Coach of the Year – the first female to ever win the award.
Mead won the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament award for her efforts at Euro 2022
She was named as the Player of the Tournament for her efforts, becoming the first English player to win both that award and the Golden Boot at the Euros or World Cup.
These achievements are even more impressive given Mead had to bounce back from the crushing disappointment of being left out of the Team GB squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
Her success at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award comes as no success, as she was the runaway favourite with odds of 1/80.
Mead attended the ceremony crutches after suffering an ACL rupture in November, putting her World Cup hopes in doubt.
Beth Mead arrived at the show on crutches after suffering an ACL rupture and she was pictured with her partner and Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema who has the same injury
Mead did not score in the Euros final at Wembley, when Chloe Kelly notched the extra-time winner to beat Germany 2-1, but she was both the top scorer and player of the tournament.
Her standout success came just a year after the devastation of being left out of Team GB’s squad for the Olympics in Tokyo, and at the same time of her mum’s illness.
In October, Mead was runner-up in the Women’s Ballon d’Or – but she was always the odds-on favourite to finish first on Wednesday night, despite the challenge from Stokes.
The all-rounder was nominated after starring in England’s T20 World Cup win last month, as well as transforming the Test team after taking over as captain, registering nine victories from 10 matches.
Stokes only returned from Pakistan on Wednesday after completing an historic 3-0 series whitewash on Tuesday. And his wife Clare posted a picture on Instagram of him curled up on the sofa under a rug having come home with a stomach bug, although he was able to muster enough energy to be interviewed via video link.
Muirhead came a surprise third after claiming an elusive gold medal in her fourth Winter Olympics when she skipped Great Britain’s women’s curling team to victory in Beijing in February.
The other nominated athletes were seven-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world champion gymnast Jessica Gadirova, who was named Young Sports Personality of the Year, and Jake Wightman, the world 1500m champion.
US Open golf champion Matt Fitzpatrick was snubbed from the shortlist, something which surprised even show host Gary Lineker, who tweeted: ‘Starting rehearsals for SPOTY and saw the list of contenders doesn’t contain Fitzpatrick’, complete with two embarrassed emojis.
The most emotional moment of the night came when rugby league legend Rob Burrow was presented with the Helen Rollason Award, which recognises outstanding achievement in the face of adversity, and his former Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield was given a Special Award.
Since Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019, Sinfield has raised more than £7million for MND charities through three epic running challenges.
Burrow, who received a standing ovation as he arrived on stage in his wheelchair, said: ‘I am totally overcome with this award given the amount of amazing people who have won this before, in particular my MND hero Doddie Weir. I don’t think I would be here today without meeting him. I will accept the award on his behalf.’
New England rugby union defence coach Sinfield, who was handed his award by the late Weir’s eldest son Hamish, said: ‘Rob is probably the most inspirational bloke in the UK at this moment in time. He has inspired us all to be better friends. As Doddie used to say, MND isn’t incurable, it’s just underfunded. We’ll keep banging the drum and doing our best.’
BBC Sports Personality of the Year award winners
SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – Beth Mead (1st), Ben Stokes (2nd), Eve Muirhead (3rd)
COACH OF THE YEAR – Sarina Wiegman (England women’s football team)
TEAM OF THE YEAR – England women’s football team
WORLD SPORT STAR OF THE YEAR – Lionel Messi
YOUNG SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – Jessica Gadirova
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Usain Bolt
HELEN ROLLASON AWARD – Rob Burrow
SPECIAL AWARD – Kevin Sinfield
UNSUNG HERO AWARD – Mike Alden (chairman of Parke Knowle FC, Bristol)
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