Jockey AP McCoy was tonight crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The 36-year-old bookmakers' favourite finally won the Grand National this year on Don't Push It.
Holding the famous Personality of the Year trophy, he said: "This is an unbelievable feeling to be standing in front of so many amazing sports people."
The runner-up was darts player Phil Taylor, and heptathlete Jessica Ennis claimed third place.
McCoy, from Northern Ireland, has been champion jockey a record 15 times in a row and has ridden more than 3,000 winners.
His National win this year was the 15th time of trying.
He said to a packed house at the LG Arena in Birmingham: "To win this award is very surreal and obviously it could not have been achieved without the help of so many people.
"I have so many people to thank. I work in a wonderful sport, they probably spent most of the night voting for me."
He thanked his trainer Jonjo O'Neill, his wife and his family.
Speaking of his daughter, he said: "I know she'll be watching at home and I just want to say how amazing she is."
Former England football captain David Beckham won the Lifetime Achievement Award, and stole the biggest cheer of the night.
The 35-year-old star, who was close to tears after a lengthy standing ovation, said: "I dedicate my award to the men and the women who are serving our country in Afghanistan."
After accepting the trophy from Sir Bobby Charlton and last year's Sports Personality of the Year Ryan Giggs, he said: "I'm obviously really humbled because to receive an award for something that I love doing and always have loved doing and continue to love doing, I am very humbled.
"To receive it from Sir Bobby Charlton who was there when I first started at Manchester United, I am truly honoured."
He went on to thank the teams, players and coaches he has played with over the years.
The national team's most capped outfield player said: "Playing for England has always been one of the highlights and the biggest things of my career."
He gave particular thanks to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who he called a "father figure", and his family, calling his wife Victoria "an inspiration".
Teenage diver Tom Daley was named the Young Sports Personality of the Year for the third time.
Daley became a double Commonwealth Games champion in Delhi in October, winning the 10-metre individual and 10-metre synchro with diving partner Max Brick.
Tonight's win completes a hat-trick of young personality awards for the 16-year-old from Devon, who also won in 2009 and 2007.
Sir Frank Williams, the founder and manager of the Williams formula one team, was presented with the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity. Williams has been in a wheelchair since suffering a spinal injury in 1986.
The European Ryder Cup Team won Team of the Year after their victory over the US at Celtic Manor, and their captain Colin Montgomerie picked up the Coach of the Year award.
Big-hitting Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the tennis world number one, scooped the award for the Overseas Sports Personality.
McCoy's victory marked a losing day for the bookmakers, who accepted huge backing from punters leading up to tonight's event.
Ladbrokes dished out more than £100,000 in winnings after it took on odds of 4/6 for McCoy - the best-backed candidate in the history of the award - to win.
David Williams, from the bookmaker, said: "We've lost a fair few quid but we couldn't care one bit. McCoy's victory is wonderful news for racing and we're over the moon for him.
"It must be a first for the bookies: we've ended up punching the air as a heavily odds-on and well-backed favourite has won. For once, the money we've lost is irrelevant."