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Beth Mead has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, given to the British sportsperson adjudged to have achieved the most in 2022 by a public vote.
The 27-year-old beat the gymnast Jessica Gadirova, curling’s Eve Muirhead, cricketer Ben Stokes, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan and athletics star Jake Wightman to the award, earning the majority of the vote.
Recognised for her displays with both England and Arsenal, Mead becomes just the sixth footballer to have won the award since its inception 68 years ago in 1954, joining obby Moore, Paul Gascoigne, Michael Owen, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs in being recognised for her performances by the British public.
Consequently, she becomes the first female footballer to have ever been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and her year in 2022 makes it clear why.
On the way to winning Euro 2022 with England women’s team – their first-ever international tournament victory, Mead took home the golden boot and officials named her the player of the tournament.
Her six goals and five assists at Euro 2022 in front of a home crowd endeared her to the nation, and, in the Ballon d’Or Feminin, Mead also finished as runner-up to Spaniard Alexia Putellas, capping off a brilliant year.
She didn’t only perform well for England, though, with her Arsenal displays also extremely impressive. In the 2021/22 season, Mead became the Women’s Super League (WSL) all-time assists leader.
Overall, Mead managed 14 goals and 19 assists in 34 starts across the season, a phenomenal return and giving credence to the many nominations for player of the year awards she received at the end of the campaign.
Before suffering her season-ending ACL injury in November, Mead had started the WSL season brightly, too, with three goals and four assists in seven games.
However, that injury means it is likely she will miss the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in July and August, as England aim to win back-to-back trophies under manager Sarina Wiegman.
Elsewhere, Lionel Messi has been named the World Sport Star of the Year in the awards, after the Argentine finally lifted the World Cup trophy on Sunday.