Ahead of the members vote for the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards, we asked members of the SJA Academy to make their case for contenders to win sportsman, sportswoman and team of the year. RACHEL HIGGINS on why diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix’s Commonwealth Games and European Sports Championships exploits deserve the prize.
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, is a two-time European champion and a two-time Commonwealth champion. At the start of the year she was neither.
The diver, who competes across the 10m platform and synchronised platform events, had a stellar 2022, winning seven medals across the Europeans, Commonwealths and World Championships.
Her summer started with a bronze in the team event at the World Championships in Budapest, paired with James Heatly.
But the two-time British champion was barely getting started.
The highlight of her year came in Birmingham, as the 18-year-old flourished at her first ever Commonwealth Games to secure two golds and a silver.
Spendolini-Sirieix became the first English woman to win the individual 10m platform event since 1966, at just 17 years old.
That was her first international senior gold medal and it was even sweeter that it came in front of a home crowd.
She said: “It’s amazing, especially for it to be in a home Games and the first time I’ve actually had a crowd, because I didn’t have one at Tokyo 2020 and the other internationals I’ve done.”
Spendolini-Sirieix’s second medal at the games came from her performance in the women’s synchronised 10m silver, claimed with teammate Eden Chong.
The then 17-year-old also impressed in the mixed synchro alongside Noah Williams, beating fellow English pair, Kyle Katharine and Lois Toulson to claim her second gold of the Games.
Just two weeks later, she matched that feat at the European Championships in Rome.
Spendolini-Sirieix first took gold in the 10m synchro with Toulson, despite the pair never competing together before.
She then clinched individual victory, which along with a bronze in the team event, rounded off an impressive and successful summer.
With a number of impressive titles already under her belt, recent success means her sights are now set on competing at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
At the previous Olympics in Tokyo, Spendolini-Sirieix was the youngest member of the Team GB diving team at just 16 and finished her Olympic debut in seventh place.
She will be desperate to go one better in two years’ time, and will be feeling that she’s ready to kick on at next summer’s World Championships before that.
But for now, Spendolini-Sirieix can celebrate a 2022 that she will never forget.