Hamilton wins Sports Personality


Published: Monday 15th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Lewis Hamilton was a resounding winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Englishman Hamilton clinched his second Formula One world title last month after edging an often controversial battle with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The 29-year-old had twice been runner-up for the BBC prize and beat long-time favourite Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irishman who won two golf majors in 2014, by a surprisingly wide margin in the public vote.

The BBC said after last night’s Glasgow ceremony that Hamilton claimed more than a third of the overall vote. He took 209,920 votes with McIlroy second on 123,745.

Hamilton said: “I’m so proud and honoured to be among so much British sporting talent. A massive thank you to all the people that called in, I really was not expecting it – because dude (McIlroy), you had such an incredible year.

“Tonight has been a huge reminder of just how many great sportsmen we have here. I never thought I would be up here standing with the greats. It’s just a dream.”

McIlroy became the first UK golfer to win back-to-back majors when he claimed the US PGA title in August after winning the Open weeks earlier. The 25-year-old four-time major winner then helped Europe to Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles in September.

“It was a phenomenal year,” McIlroy said. “(The Open) was the trophy I dreamed of winning as a little boy, to have my mother there was special. It makes me a little emotional. It was a special moment and one I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

In third place was English distance runner Jo Pavey, who claimed 99,913 of the total 620,932 votes.

She became the oldest-ever female European champion by winning the 10,000 metres in Zurich aged 40 years and 325 days, less than a year after giving birth to her second child.

Pavey said: “I used to stress about training but now there are too many other things to think about.

“Maybe I’m a slow learner but it was worth waiting for, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot more. When I was younger, I used to train on Christmas Day, but I’ll take it off this year.”

The other contenders on the shortlist for the top prize were swimmer Adam Peaty, gymnast Max Whitlock, skeleton star Lizzy Yarnold, Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, dressage star Charlotte Dujardin, boxer Carl Froch and visually impaired skier Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans.

Sir Chris Hoy, the six-time Olympic cycling champion, received the Lifetime Achievement award from Prince Harry.

The Scot brought his baby son Callum home from hospital earlier this month after he was born 11 weeks early in October.

“It’s been some month,” the 38-year-old said. “To get Callum home was just amazing and this really caps it off.

“I never thought I’d see my name alongside the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave, David Beckham, Seve Ballesteros and it makes it even more special to be receiving the award in Scotland.”

Bale’s Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo scooped the Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award, while McIlroy’s Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was named Coach of the Year.

McGinley’s team missed out on the Team of the Year prize, which went to the England women’s rugby union side after they won the World Cup following three consecutive final defeats.

Gymnast Claudia Fragapane collected the Young Sports Personality of the Year prize at the Hydro – the venue where the 17-year-old won four Commonwealth Games gold medals for England in the summer.

Prince Harry presented the Helen Rollason Award, for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity, to the competitors of the Invictus Games. The prince set up the event for injured servicemen and women.

The Get Inspired Unsung Hero award went to 77-year-old Jill Stidever, who has coached disabled swimmers – including three Paralympians – for more than half a century.

The event was presented for the BBC by Gary Lineker – whose croaky voice betrayed the fact he was struggling with what he termed “man flu” – along with Gabby Logan and Clare Balding.

There was some criticism of the show, with MP Andy Burnham writing on Twitter: “Interested to hear how @BBCSPOTY justify such an appalling lack of coverage of Rugby League. Too much southern bias in national broadcaster.”

Published: Monday 15th December 2014 by The News Editor

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