Sports Personality of the Year 2022: Gadirova, Mead, Muirhead, Stokes, O’Sullivan, Wightman up for award

(Clockwise from top left) Jessica Gadirova, Beth Mead, Eve Muirhead, Jake Wightman, Ben Stokes and Ronnie O’Sullivan
Venue: MediaCityUK in Salford Date: Wednesday, 21 December Starts: 18:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

A shortlist of six contenders has been announced for the 2022 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The nominees are gymnast Jessica Gadirova, footballer Beth Mead, curling’s Eve Muirhead, cricketer Ben Stokes, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan and athlete Jake Wightman.

Voting will be open during the show on BBC One on Wednesday, 21 December.

Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott will present the 69th annual awards.

The programme, filmed at Media City in Salford, will celebrate 12 months of incredible sporting action.

The public can vote by phone or online on the night for the main award, with full details announced during the show.

Other awards to be announced include young Sports Personality Of The Year, team And Coach Of The Year, Unsung hero and the Helen Rollason Award.

Eight-time sprinting gold medalist Usain Bolt will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement award, while Argentina’s World Cup-winning footballer Lionel Messi is World Sport Star of the Year.

Sports Personality contenders

Jesica Gadirova

Age: 18 Sport: Gymnastics

A rising star of British gymnastics, Gadirova claimed floor gold on the final day of the world championships.

It was the English gymnast’s third medal at the competition in Liverpool after winning silver in the team event and a historic bronze in the all-around competition.

That was Britain’s first world all-around medal and Gadirova became only the fifth British gymnast to be an individual world champion.

Gadrirova, who took floor gold and team silver at the European Championships, is also on the Young Sports Personality shortlist with skateboarder Sky Brown and diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix.

“I’m just so shocked to be in that shortlist with such incredible athletes and to be recognized for my hard work and achievements, it’s incredible,” she told BBC Sport.

Beth Mead

Age: 27 Sport: Football

Mead won the Golden Boot and was player of the tournament as England claimed a historic triumph at Euro 2022.

The Lionesses lifted their first trophy at a major women’s tournament with a 2-1 victory after extra time against the eight-time champions Germany at Wembley.

“It was a proud moment for me and a surreal moment, walking out of that tunnel and going to play football in front of a home crowd,” Mead said of the final played in front of a record 87,192 crowd.

“The day in general, the noise in general, the atmosphere was honestly something I’ll never feel or experience again.”

Mead scored six goals and contributed five assists during the tournament as she bounced back from the disappointment of not being selected to represent Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics a year earlier.

The Arsenal forward was voted BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2022 and was runner-up in the year women’s Ballon d’Or, the prize awarded to the world’s best footballer of the year.

Eve Muirhead

Age: 32 Sport: Curling

Muirhead led the Great Britain women’s team that won curling gold at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

As skip, she claimed an elusive gold medal in China at the fourth time of asking, the pinnacle of a career during which she became Scotland’s most decorated curler.

“I look back and I still wonder how I got myself through lockdown, covid, everything. It was such a rollercoaster, standing on the top of the podium at the end of it all was very, very special,” she told BBC Sport.

In 2014, she was the youngest skip to win an Olympic medal as her team claimed bronze.

For Scotland, Muirhead won the European Championships three times and claimed a sixth world mixed doubles title earlier this year alongside Bobby Lammie before later announcing her retirement from the sport.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Age: 47 Sport: Snooker

O’Sullivan claimed his seventh world championship to equal Stephen Hendry’s record in the modern era.

Aged 46, he became the oldest world champion in Crucible history, eclipsing Ray Reardon, who won his sixth title aged 45 in 1978.

‘The Rocket’ cemented his position as one of snooker’s all-time greats with an 18-13 final win over Judd Trump.

It was the 39th ranking title for the English player who holds almost every major record in the game and also won the Champion of Champions and Hong Kong Masters in 2022.

O’Sullivan, who has on occasion been outspoken about snooker and his fellow players, told BBC Sport: “The love/hate doesn’t come from hating the game, I’ve always loved the game, just my frustrations would spill over and it would look like i had fallen out of love with the game.

“But it was only because I wasn’t playing the game to the standard that I wanted to play.”

Ben Stokes

Age: 31 Sport: Cricket

Stokes, the 2019 Sports Personality winner, starred as England won the men’s T20 World Cup by beating Pakistan in a thrilling finale.

Under intense pressure at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, Stokes was there at the end on 52 not out.

Having inherited a side with one win in their last 17 Tests, Stokes’ England claimed nine out of 10 in increasingly audacious fashion against New Zealand, India, South Africa and Pakistan.

He captained England to one of their greatest overseas performances, with a bold declaration helping secure victory with a record run rate in their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years and setting his side on the path to a historic 3-0 series win.

Stokes told BBC Sport: “I think it shows that you don’t have to be stuck in a particular way of playing Test cricket just because it’s been done for however long, a long period of time. It’s different but it’s exciting to watch. “

Jake Wightman

Age: 28 Sport: athletics

Wightman produced a stunning run to take 1500m gold at the World Championships in Oregon.

The Scot was the first British man to win the world title in the event since Steve Cram in 1983.

He produced a brilliant final burst to pass Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and clinch the title, called home by his father Geoff who was the stadium announcer.

“It’s that moment you cross the line, it’s just such euphoria, I just wish you could bottle that up because it soon fades away a little bit,” Wightman told BBC Sport.

“The disbelief and the shock are something that I will never have again.”

Wightman also won 800m silver at the European Championships and 1500m bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

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