BBC names its sports personality of the year but Billy Monger steals viewers’ hearts

Updated: 31/01/2023

Geraint Thomas has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year rounding off a year which saw him win his first Tour De France title.

The six shortlisted contenders were cricketer Jimmy Anderson, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, footballer Harry Kane, cyclist Geraint Thomas, skeleton racer Lizzy Yarnold.

The Welshman beat Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and bookies’ favourite Harry Kane, who as England captain led The Three Lions to the World Cup semi-final in Russia.

A stunned Thomas, 32, received the prestigious gong from last year’s winner, Sir Mo Farah, and thanked his wife Sara, family and Team Sky.

He told the audience: “I feel really lucky to have come into the sport at the time I did. I was just going down the local leisure centre for a swim and ended up riding my bike. It's just insane and now I’m stood here.

Cyclist Geraint Thomas and wife Sara Elen Thomas took a quick selfie at the show (Photo: David Davies/PA Wire)

“As a bike rider I’m just focused on myself, and obviously people want me to win, but hearing stories [from Tyson Fury and Billie Jean King], you realise that what we do inspires people back home; to see people on their bikes and having a healthy lifestyle, you can take just as much pride from that as winning something like this.

“I take great pride in representing Britain and Wales abroad whenever I’m racing. It’s been an amazing year for British sport and long may it continue.”

Southgate, Monger and netball wins

The star-packed event took place at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

F4 driver Billy Monger, who had both his legs amputated after an accident, won the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

England manager Gareth Southgate walked away with the Coach of the Year gong. He told the audience: “I’m incredibly proud to receive the award. If you win as a coach then it means that your players have done something right.

The England Netball team scooped two awards: the Team of the Year and the Greatest Sporting Moment after beating Australia in their backyard winning gold at the Commonwealth Games, in the country’s Gold Coast in April.

Kirsty Ewen, a volunteer coach at Inverness Swimming Club, was awarded the Get Inspired Unsung Hero prize and Francesco Molinari was named World Sports Star of the Year.

On Twitter fans got into the mood.

There's always room to wonder why your favourite is missing.

But it was Billy Monger's inspirational story that touched hearts and his appearance is likely to win him many more fans.

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