Mary Earps named BBC Sports Personality of the Year

The annual ceremony took place in MediaCityUK, Salford.

Mary Earps has been crowned the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2023.

The 30-year-old Manchester United and England goalkeeper was a key part of the Lionesses side which reached the Women’s World Cup final in the summer and won Fifa’s Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament.

She also drew praise after she spoke out about sportswear manufacturer Nike’s failure to offer an England goalkeeper’s replica jersey for sale before the World Cup – which later sold out in minutes.

Earps’ success on Tuesday night made her the third consecutive female winner of the award, after her England teammate Beth Mead won last year and US Open champion Emma Raducanu in 2021.

Accepting the award, Earps said: “I am honoured and humbled because I think this is the ultimate all-round sporting accolade. We have had a couple of incredible years, but this is just ‘wow’.

“It hasn’t been the easiest journey and I would not be where I am today without a number of incredible people in my corner.

“They have been with me through the really, really not so great times, but the last two years have been unbelievable and I have done more than I could ever have imagined and for that I am truly grateful.

“Thank you to my teammates, and coaches – I wouldn’t be here without you all.”

Retired England cricketer Stuart Broad, who like Earps hails from Nottingham, finished second in the vote, while world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson was third.

Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, jockey Frankie Dettori and golf star Rory McIlroy were the three other sports luminaries who made it on to the shortlist for the prestigious prize.

During the ceremony, 1987 world javelin champion Fatima Whitbread received the Helen Rollason Award for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity” having been abandoned as a baby and spent her first 14 years in children’s homes before being adopted by javelin coach Margaret Whitbread.

Whitbread, who was a finalist on I’m A Celebrity… South Africa, has worked with various charities assisting and guiding children who had a similar experience to her since her retirement.

Collecting her award on stage, Whitbread said she is working hard with her foundation to rejuvenate the care sector “which it needs desperately” to improve the outcomes for the UK’s young people.

“In the 60 years since I was in the care system, I’ve seen governments come and go and not a lot has changed, they’ve kicked that same tin can down that road, I’ve seen it time and time again.

“I am asking you to help me to make a difference,” she said.

The ceremony also saw Manchester City’s treble-winning campaign recognised as they won the team of the year prize, while star striker Erling Haaland won the world sport star of the year award and City manager Pep Guardiola was named coach of the year.

Sir Kenny Dalglish, who played and managed with great distinction at Liverpool, was presented with the lifetime achievement award at Tuesday night’s ceremony in Salford.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old snowboarder Mia Brookes won the young sports personality prize, and Desmond Smith, a grassroots sports coach from Sheffield, won the unsung hero award.

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