Bradley Wiggins. Photo © 2011 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Bradley Wiggins, the winner of the Tour de France and the Olympic Games’ Time Trial was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2012. In a telephone vote by the British public on Sunday, Wiggins was crowned with a 30.25% share of the vote as over 1.6 million votes were cast. The show was watched by 14.1 million people, placing it comfortably inside the Top 10 most watched shows in the UK this calendar year.
London’s ExCel Centre played host to this year’s edition of the annual celebration of sport, where Wiggins was victorious ahead of a thick field of British sporting talent. In a year when London hosted the Olympics and Team GB finished third in the medal table, Wiggins’ victory cements cycling’s reputation as a rapidly growing sport in the UK. London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist Jess Ennis (22.92%), the poster-girl for the Games, was beaten into second place, whilst US Open and Olympic Singles champion Andy Murray (14.17%) was third, with Olympic 5k and 10k champion Mo Farah (8.07%) pushed into fourth.
The other nominees on the 12-person shortlist for this year’s award were golfer Rory McIlroy, track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, rower Katherine Grainger, women’s boxing’s Nicola Adams, sailor Ben Ainslie and Paralympians Ellie Simmonds, David Weir and Sarah Storey. Previous recipients of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award include Mark Cavendish (2011), Sir Chris Hoy (2008), David Beckham (2001), Linford Christie (1993) and Tommy Simpson (1965).
Wiggins accepted the award by telling his children to go to bed, thanking his Nan and telling the audience there was a free bar around the corner, whilst also giving praise to his teammates, paying tribute to the other nominees and thanking all those who had voted. Videos of Wiggins celebrating at an after-party by hosting an impromptu guitar concert were soon circulating the web.
Besides taking Olympic Gold in the Time Trial, and winning the Tour de France, 2012 has been a stellar year for Wiggins. Aside from being the first cyclist to win the Tour and an Olympic Gold in the same year, ‘Wiggo’ swept all before him at the Criterium du Dauphine, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie.
At a ceremony where Usain Bolt scooped the Overseas Sports Personality Award and Team GB/Paralympics GB as a collective walked away with the team prize, the night was capped for cycling fans by the nomination of Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky and British cycling guru, as Coach of the Year.
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