US Open champion Emma Raducanu has capped an extraordinary 2021 by being named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
The 19-year-old became the first qualifier ever to win a grand slam tennis tournament in New York in September.
She also became the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977 to win a grand slam, and claimed the title without dropping a set.
Her achievements have made her one of British sport’s biggest stars, and she claimed the prestigious BBC prize ahead of Olympic Games gold medallists Tom Daley and Adam Peaty.
Tyson Fury, Raheem Sterling and Dame Sarah Storey were the other three individuals shortlisted for the award, with Sir Lewis Hamilton, who came close to winning a record eighth Formula One title earlier this month, omitted.
Here is everything you need to know:
Who is Emma Raducanu?
One year ago, on the same day Hamilton was being crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2020, Emma Raducanu swept aside Grace Piper to win the BT Masters title at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
Afterwards Raducanu, then ranked 345th in the world and yet to make her main WTA tour debut, provided a glimpse of the steely resolve that, 12 months on, would see her succeed Hamilton to put her own name on the prestigious trophy.
“I’m pretty ambitious,” Raducanu said on that day in Roehampton. “I think the progress that I’m making at the moment, it (the top 100) isn’t too far out of the question. I really do believe I can do it.”
Cue a year cut straight from the pages of the most outlandish sporting fantasy novels as Raducanu not only reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, but then proceeded to win 10 straight matches at the US Open to claim the title without losing a set.
Arriving at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu had never previously played an overseas qualification tournament, and had her flights home booked before the main draw began.
Raducanu told the BBC: “It’s such an honour just to be among these nominees – to win it is pretty amazing.
“I watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up, so I’m really humbled to join the amazing past winners – I’m also really happy for British tennis that we managed to get this award again.
“All the support I’ve received this past year has been absolutely insane, and the energy I felt at Wimbledon this year playing in front of my home crowd is something I’ve never felt before.”
Who else won awards?
Gareth Southgate won the Coach of the Year award after steering the England men’s football team to their first major final in 55 years at Euro 2020 in the summer.
Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore was voted World Sports Star of the Year.
She was the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and followed up a month later with victory at the Grand National – the first woman to triumph in the race.
Skateboarder Sky Brown, 13, won the Young Sports Personality of the Year. She became Britain’s youngest-ever Olympic medallist when she took bronze in the women’s park event.
Scotland and Arsenal Women defender Jennifer Beattie won the Helen Rollason Award. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2020 aged 29 but continued to play for club and country.
Sam Barlow was the winner of the Unsung Hero award. Barlow founded the activity group Fit Mums and Friends in 2009. After her husband died in late 2020, she created a support group for people grieving and experiencing isolation.
Four-time Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles was also named as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
The full list of winners:
Sports Personality of the Year: Emma Raducanu
Team of the Year: England men’s football team
Coach of the Year: Gareth Southgate
Young Sports Personality: Sky Brown
Lifetime Achievement: Simone Biles
Helen Rollason Award: Jennifer Beattie
Unsung Hero: Sam Barlow
World Sports Star: Rachael Blackmore
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