The Sports Journalists’ Association is delighted to congratulate our Sportsman of the Year, Bradley Wiggins, on being named as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, polling around half a million votes from the British public and winning from the SJA Sportswoman of the Year, Jessica Ennis.
Last night’s televised presentation, held in front of an audience of 16,000 at one of London’s Olympic venues, the ExCel Centre, followed the SJA’s lead in a number of other ways.
Lord Coe received a lifetime achievement award last night, just as at the SJA’s British Sports Awards earlier this month, the chairman of the London Games organisers, four times our Sportsman of the Year, was named as our JL Manning Award-winner for his services to sport.
The SJA does not, though, have a Coach of the Year Award, though we were no less pleased for a long-time friend of our Association, Dave Brailsford, to be given his moment in the spotlight at the BBC ceremony.
As well as overseeing the rise of British cycling to its current world domination, as he told the audience last night, Brailsford has this year fulfilled a life-long dream of putting together a road cycling team capable of winning the Tour de France with a clean British rider in the yellow jersey.
Brailsford had announced his plan for what was to become Team Sky, ultimately led by Wiggins, sprinter Mark Cavendish (the 2011 SJA Sportsman of the Year) and Chris Froome, at a special SJA-organised media lunch staged in London ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Indeed, referring back to Brailsford’s plan from four years ago, Wiggins’s Tour de France success has been delivered a year sooner than even the head coach had dreamed about at the time.
There will be more SJA sports lunches organised, sponsored by Laureus in 2013, hopefully delivering even more headline-grabbing stories for our members and guests. Details of the lunches will be published first on this site over the course of next year.