We’re proud of you – that was the message to Kevin Sinfield and Lizzie Armitstead after the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony.
Leeds Rhinos rugby league legend Sinfield finished runner-up behind tennis hero Andy Murray for the main prize while Otley cycling ace Armitstead was also on the evening’s star-studded 12-strong shortlist.
And although Sinfield and Armitstead may have missed out on top spot, they remain champions in the eyes of sports fans back in Yorkshire.
The leader of Leeds City Council, Coun Judith Blake, said: “While it is of course disappointing that neither Kevin nor Lizzie walked away with the 2015 BBC SPOTY award which would have been richly deserved, we are as a city extremely proud of them and their achievements this year which have been again absolutely sensational.
“Both Kevin and Lizzie are not just brilliant sporting role models but also outstanding people, and there is absolutely no doubt that their nominations for a SPOTY award were richly deserved.
“I am sure the people of Leeds, who are never shy in showing their appreciation for our sporting superstars, will be making sure that Lizzie and Kevin are given a great welcome on their return to the city.”
Sinfield, who recently crossed codes to join rugby union side Yorkshire Carnegie, was joined at last night’s ceremony in Belfast by his former Rhinos team-mates.
Looking back on their magnificent treble-winning season, he told the audience: “I know how tough it is in our competition to win one trophy so to win three and walk out the way I did was brilliant.”
Asked what advice he would give any youngster who wanted to be the next Kevin Sinfield, he said: “I was never the strongest, the fittest, the fastest, but I decided to make myself the most committed. I think by having commitment and the right attitude you can go a long, long way in sport.”