Bradley Wiggins was voted the British Broadcasting Corp. Sports Personality of 2012, capping a year in which he became Britain’s first Tour de France champion and also won cycling gold at the London Olympics.
Wiggins, 32, topped the public telephone poll last night ahead of track and field athlete Jessica Ennis and U.S. Open tennis champion Andy Murray, also Olympic gold medalists.
“What a year,” Wiggins, who joins Tom Simpson, Chris Hoy and Mark Cavendish as cyclists to win the BBC accolade, said at a televised ceremony in London. “To stand on this stage with the people next to me is incredible. I’d like to thank my teammates, I wouldn’t be on this stage without them.”
Wiggins won cycling’s biggest race as the lead rider on Team Sky and clinched the gold medal in the Olympic time trial 10 days later. He’s suggested he may go for the Tour de France title again in July, having previously said he’d ride as support for teammate Chris Froome.
The BBC award, which started in 1954, is one of the most prestigious accolades in U.K. sport. Previous winners include soccer player David Beckham, cricketer Andrew Flintoff, Olympic gold-medal runner Kelly Holmes and boxer Lennox Lewis.
This year featured a shortlist of 12 contenders after Wiggins’s Tour victory, a record medal haul for host Britain at the Olympics and Paralympics, and Murray’s Olympic gold and U.S. Open victory, which made him Britain’s first male Grand Slam singles champion since 1936.
In addition, golfer Rory McIlroy won his second major at the U.S. PGA Championship, topped the U.S. and European money lists and helped Europe win the Ryder Cup.
McIlroy, Hoy, Nicola Adams (boxing), Ben Ainslie (sailing), Mo Farah (runner), Katherine Grainger (rowing), Ellie Simmonds (paralympic swimming), Sarah Storey (paralympic cycling) and David Weir (paralympic wheelchair racer) were the other finalists.
Sebastian Coe, head of the organizing committee for the London Olympics, was given a lifetime achievement award. Coe, the 1,500 meters champion at the 1980 and 1984 games, was BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1979.
AWARDS ====== Sports Personality of Year: Bradley Wiggins (cycling) Lifetime Achievement: Sebastian Coe (Olympic organizer) Team award: Team GB and Paralympic GB Coach of the Year: Dave Brailsford (cycling) Overseas Personality of the Year: Usain Bolt (track & field) Young Personality: Josef Craig (Paralympic swimming) Helen Rollason Award: Martine Wright (Paralympic volleyball) Unsung Hero: Jim and Sue Houghton (sport in the community)