SPOTY 2016: Leeds sporting heroes in the spotlight

Alistair Brownlee (left) and Nick Skelton with The Duke of Cambridge during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

Alistair Brownlee (left) and Nick Skelton with The Duke of Cambridge during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

IT MAY have been Andy Murray who took the title, but there was still plenty for Leeds to be proud of tonight as viewers of BBC Sports Personality of the Year were reminded about the successes of the city’s sporting heroes.

After winning his second Wimbledon title and finishing the tennis year ranked world number one, Murray was the odds-on favourite to be crowned the first three-time winner in the show’s history.

Andy Murray receives the Sports Personality of the Year award from Lennox Lewis. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

Andy Murray receives the Sports Personality of the Year award from Lennox Lewis. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

Yet some of the loudest applause of the night was reserved for Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee, who was named runner-up.

While his gold medal win in the Rio 2016 games made him a strong contender, it was the moment when he helped his stricken brother Jonny over the finish line at a World Series event in Mexico which saw his popularity soar.

Joking with host Gabby Logan about the heat being bad for a “pasty Yorkshireman”, he said it was a split-second decision to help his brother complete the race.

Murray was unable to attend the ceremony in Birmingham due to training, so received his award from 1999 winner Lennox Lewis in Miami.

Alistair Brownlee arrives for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 ceremony. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Alistair Brownlee arrives for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 ceremony. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

After thanking his family and all those who voted for him, he said: “It’s been an amazing year for British sport and I’m very proud to be part of it.”

He also joked about his own wife having cast a vote for showjumper Nick Skelton, who came in third.

Also flying the flag for Leeds on the 16-strong shortlist were Rio gold medallists Nicola Adams and Kadeena Cox.

Adams became the first, and only, female boxer to win back-to-back Olympic gold and won her first world championships title to complete a grand slam of medals.

Sprinter Kadeena Cox on the red carpet. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Sprinter Kadeena Cox on the red carpet. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

She said: “Every time I step into the ring, I want to be able to inspire the next generation.”

Sprinter Cox, who has multiple sclerosis, set a world record of her won when she won became the first British athlete to win gold in two sports since 1988.

She told the audience how she wanted to show that even with setbacks, it was possible to achieve great things.

Danny Willett and partner Nicole Willett arrive at The Vox at Resorts World, Birmingham. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Danny Willett and partner Nicole Willett arrive at The Vox at Resorts World, Birmingham. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Nicola Adams and partner on the red carpet. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Nicola Adams and partner on the red carpet. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Jamie Vardy and  Rebekah Vardy arrive for the ceremony. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Jamie Vardy and Rebekah Vardy arrive for the ceremony. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

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