Sports Awards: Holmes wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

If it came as a surprise that Kelly Holmes should win two gold medals at the Athens Olympics, her victory in White City last night, where she became the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, was a racing certainty.

Holmes, who is likely to enjoy further acknowledgement in the New Year's Honours List, was 50-1 on to become the first black woman winner in the award's 51-year history. The bookmakers were not disappointed as the public responded to the 34-year-old Kent runner's achievements through live voting in the final hour of the programme.

Matthew Pinsent, who announced his retirement earlier this month after winning a fourth Olympic gold rowing medal with the coxless fours in Athens, had to settle for a place that has been largely unfamiliar to him in his 12-year international career - runner-up.

Reflecting upon what turned out to be his final competitive appearance, he said: "I knew for four years that that race was the difference between being good and being great, I guess... what would life be like for us if we didn't win the race?"

Happily for this 34-year-old, that is a question he no longer needs to concern himself with. The crew, comprising Pinsent, James Cracknell, Ed Coode and Steve Williams, won the gold by the narrowest of margins as they held off the Canadian crew by eight one-hundredths of a second over the Schinias course.

Pinsent paid tribute to the British Olympic rowing team's German coach, Jürgen Grobler, saying: "That eight one-hundredths was down to him."

Such was the breadth and depth of achievement by sporting teams that, for the first time, viewers were also invited to vote live during the first hour of the show when it came to choosing Team of the Year.

A panel of judges had reduced the contenders to five - Arsenal, the England cricketers, Europe's Ryder Cup players, Britain's victorious men's sprint quartet from Athens, and the coxless four rowers who helped Pinsent depart the sport with a fourth Olympic gold medal.

Arsène Wenger arrived at BBC's Wood Lane Television Centre relatively fresh from his Arsenal side's eventful 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Highbury to collect the Coach of the Year award. The Frenchman received his trophy from last year's winner, Sir Clive Woodward, after guiding his team to their record-breaking 49 game unbeaten run.

Gary Lineker was not quite able to resist levity as he concluded his on-screen interview. "We hope you stay with us," he told the Arsenal manager, "because we have a very nice buffet afterwards". David Beckham contributed a specially recorded greeting to the winner of the Helen Rollason award, nine-year-old Kirsty Howard, who has already raised £3m for poorly children through her campaign, Kirsty's Appeal.

Recalling their first meeting, before the World Cup qualifying game with Greece where he went on to score the decisive goal, Beckham told her: "I walked up to you and you smiled, and for me that was what settled my nerves."

Andrew Murray, winner of the US Open boys singles title, received the Young Sports Personality of the Year award from the man who won the grown-up Wimbledon at the age of 17, Boris Becker.

The Lifetime Achievement award, in recognition of the impact he has made on the game of cricket, and also reflecting his subsequent monumental charity-walking activities, went to Ian Botham, with the trophy being handed over by his old West Indian rival and present friend, Viv Richards.

Roger Federer, winner of three of the four tennis Grand Slam events, received the award for Overseas Personality of the Year from Britain's Tim Henman.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions