With the New Year Honours List due next week, here’s our round-up of six deserving sporting stars from Leeds who have made a city proud in 2016.
ALISTAIR BROWNLEE, TRIATHLON
He apparently disliked seeing his older brother help him across the line at a triathlon in Mexico earlier this year. However, not one to let falling down get him down, he’s decided in true British spirit, that he’s going to set the record straight in Tokyo in three years’ time by winning gold. That’s why we love him.
Jonny has won Olympic silver (2016), Olympic bronze (2012), Commonwealth Games silver (2014) medallist and World Champion (2012) British Triathlon. He finished every race from July 2010 to May 2014 on the podium, 42 triathlons in a row.
JONNY BROWNLEE, TRIATHLON
It’s hard not to think of the Browlees as conjoined, as Johnny and Alistair are both so much at the top of their game they seem to take turns at winning major events. In 2012, they were the first brothers to stand on an Olympic podium together since 1908, winning gold (Alistair) and bronze.
Alistair was Olympic (2012, 2016), Commonwealth (2014), World (2009, 2011) and European (2010, 2011, 2014) champion. And, of course, he melted all our hearts earlier this year by stopping at the end of a race to help his brother make it across the line.
KADEENA COX, PARALYMPIAN
One of Paralympics GB’s stars of Rio 2016, the 25-year-old from Leeds, she grew up in Chapeltown and attended Wetherby High School and is the first GB Paralympian since 1988 to win gold in two sports.
Cox, who has multiple sclerosis, blitzed the field to win T38 400m gold in a world record time and added 100m bronze and relay silver to her collection. She then won gold in cycling in the C4-5 time trial.
Always ready with a smile, she summed up her approach, saying: “I just wanted to prove it could be done, even if you have setbacks.”
NICOLA ADAMS, BOXING
Nicola Adams has become more than just a sporting star, she has become an unofficial ambassador for the city.
The 32-year-old needs little introduction. At the Rio Olympics, she became the first (and only) female boxer to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. If Olympic gold was not enough, the Leeds fighter won her first world championships title to complete a grand slam of medals.
When she won her ‘Paving the way’ award earlier this year, presented in front of the gold post box painted in her honour, she quipped: “Now to rename the road.”
NILE WILSON, GYMNASTICS
Born in Leeds and educated at Pudsey Grangefield School, he became the first British gymnast in history to win five gold medals at the European Junior Gymnastics Championships. Making his senior debut for England, he proceeded in the same year to win four medals, including two gold, at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
He is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion on horizontal bar. He snatched bronze in Rio, winning the bronze medal at the horizontal bar event with a score of 15.466, becoming the first British gymnast to do so.
JACK LAUGHER, DIVING
Gold medallist Jack Laugher, who was born in Harrogate, lives in Ripon and trains at the John Charles Centre, Leeds, is as deserving as any for a New Year gong.
A specialist on springboard, he competes in individual springboard events and in synchronised events with Chris Mears. The duo won Britain’s first Olympic gold medal in diving by winning the men’s synchronised 3m springboard event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. A week later, Laugher won a silver in the men’s individual 3m springboard.
Aged just 21, it’s certainly not the last we’ve seen of him.