Bradley Wiggins crowns year with sports personality trophy
'What a year!' Victorious cyclist takes 30 per cent of vote to beat Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray
BRADLEY WIGGINS crowned a year of magnificent personal achievement by winning the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. The London cyclist beat Jessica Ennnis and Andy Murray into second and third place respectively as the public rewarded him for becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France.
In a year when he also claimed gold in the Olympic time trial, Wiggins won the hearts of the nation with his deadpan wit and modest charm, as well as his evident disdain for the vacuous celebrity culture that characterises so much of British life.
"I will say thank you to everyone who voted," said Wiggins, who was the first English winner of the award in six years. "We have had all that jungle stuff and X Factor in the last few weeks, so for people to pick up the phone and vote in half an hour, thank you very much.”
Wiggins won a whopping 30.25 per cent of the 1.6m votes – 492,064 in total – with Ennis receiving 372,765 votes for winning Olympic gold in the heptathlon and Murray picking up 230,444 votes for becoming the first British male to win a tennis Grand Slam tournament for three quarters of a century.
A measure of just how successful British sport has been this year was the fact that double Olympic champion Mo Farah could only finish fourth and golfer Rory McIlroy, winner of the PGA and member of the triumphant Ryder Cup team, garnered a paltry 29,729 votes.
Wiggins summed up an outstanding 12 months of sport for the nation in his acceptance speech. "What a year. To stand on this stage with the people next to me is incredible. I'd like to thank my team-mates, I wouldn't be on this stage without them. I'd like to thank Dave Brailsford [chief of British Cycling], the coaches, British Cycling, Team Sky and all the Olympians."
The 32-year-old Wiggins was the 59th winner of the award, and the fourth cyclist, following Tom Simpson (1965), Sir Chris Hoy (2008) and Mark Cavendish in 2011. "Winning this, winning gold in the London Olympics, it's about as good as it's ever going to get,” said Wiggins. “I'll just cherish this moment forever. I can die happily now."
In other awards, Dave Brailsford won Coach of the Year for his role in helping Britain’s cycling team win eight gold medals at the London Olympics. The British Olympic and Paralympic squads took the Team of the Year title, Paralympic swimmer Josef Craig was named Young Sports Personality of the Year and Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt won the overseas award.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sebastian Coe, himself a winner of the SPOTY in 1979. This time he was being rewarded more for his role in bringing the Olympics and Paralympics to London than for his middle-distance running exploits. "It has been a privilege to have been part of this journey,” he told the audience at the London ExCel Centre. “I don't think we'll ever say goodbye to 2012… I do think that Olympic sport now has a much firmer handhold on public consciousness and political support than it has ever had. It's a great legacy to build on. Now the hard work begins – this is the most exciting part of the story going forward."