England and Arsenal winger Beth Mead has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year after winning the Women’s Euros and tournament Golden Boot in 2022.
The 27-year-old, who becomes the first women’s footballer to win the award, scored six goals as the Lionesses charged to their first major trophy this summer, beating Germany 2-1 at Wembley in extra-time to win Euro 2022. She was also chosen as UEFA’s Player of the Tournament.
She has also been in fine form for Arsenal, completing a stunning turnaround for the winger after she was left out of the Team GB squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
However, she recently ruptured her ACL during Arsenal’s WSL defeat to Manchester United three weeks ago and faces a race to be fit for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Mead, who recently signed a new contract with the Gunners, won the BBC public poll ahead of England Test cricket captain Ben Stokes and Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead.
The other nominees on the six-person shortlist were gymnast Jessica Gadirova, 1500-meter world champion Jake Wightman and seven-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
An emotional Mead said: “I’m incredibly honored to win this award.
“I wouldn’t have done it without those girls over there and the team that have backed me. Yes, I’ve got this accolade, I did my job, I scored a few goals but I wouldn’t have done it without them .
And I certainly wouldn’t have done it without my mum, my dad and all my family.
“But most of all, this is for women’s sport, and for women’s sport heading in the right direction. So let’s keep pushing girls and let’s keep doing the right thing.”
Her success makes her the 13th individual female winner of the award, with Jayne Torvill also claiming it as part of her ice dance partnership with Christopher Dean in 1984. She is also only the sixth footballer to win the award in its 68-year history.
Her victory completed a hat-trick of awards for the Lionesses on the night, as the squad was voted Team of the Year for their Euros triumph, with Sarina Wiegman collecting the Coach of the Year award.
Wiegman only began her stint in charge of the England team in September 2021, having led her home country the Netherlands to the same title in 2017.
Analysis: Mead’s sensational rise capped with SPOTY award
Sky Sports’ Charlotte Marsh:
“If you asked Mead a year ago what her predictions for 2022 would be, she may have struggled to name even half of the incredible moments she has experienced over the past 12 months.
2021 will arguably be remembered for her Olympic disappointment. But 2022 has often been dubbed the ‘Beth Mead revenge tour’ – and the music has finally reached its crescendo with a well-deserved BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
“Winning the Euros in July will always be the pinnacle of the year. A first major title for the Lionesses, the first major trophy won by a senior England side since 1966 and won in front of a sold-out Wembley against the old enemy in Germany Football fairytales don’t come much better.
And Mead was one of the Lionesses’ breakout stars. Her six goals and five assists saw her ease to the Golden Boot, scoring half of England’s goals at the tournament, as well as being named Player of the Tournament. She went on to earn Her 50th England cap in November and at the age of 27, she can easily reach her century.
It has been a mix of both Jonas Eidevall and Sarina Wiegman’s management that has finally seen Mead realize her potential. She has been directly involved in 37 goals in 23 appearances under the Dutch manager, and she has been just as effective for Arsenal.
She has scored 10 goals and registered eight assists in WSL games in 2022, racking up 61 shots while also making 35 tackles, showing just how effective she can be in other areas of her game.
“Unfortunately, it will be a little while yet before we see Mead light up the pitch once again. An ACL injury picked up a few weeks ago has certainly ruled her out for much of the season, making it touch and go for the World Cup.” next summer.
“But there’s no denying that the most recent award in her trophy cabinet is the perfect way to cap a sensational rise with no doubts that Mead will come back even stronger in 2023.”