BBC
Sports Personality
of the Year 2016

01 December 2016

For sports fans in the UK, the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award is one of the highlights of the year.

This annual event shortlists some of the sportsmen and women who have shone throughout the year in some way, and to be nominated alone is a huge accolade.

 

With previous winners including Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton, Ryan Giggs and Zara Phillips, this is a pretty exclusive club to be a part of, and this year out of the 16 nominees, there are 2 from equestrian sports.

 

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The legend that is...
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One of the legends in Jumping...

...the 58 year old brought home individual Gold at this year’s Rio Olympics, on his partner Big Star.  Rio was his 7th time at the Olympics, and Nick’s reputation precedes him - even if you are not an avid equestrian fan, you will most likely have heard of him.

 

Being in the sport for over several decades comes with its rewards.  Starting back in 1978, he broke the world record for the highest jump on a horse, with Everest Lastic at Olympia, London where they cleared an incredible 2.32 metres.

 

34 years later at the London 2012 Olympics he became the first UK equestrian athlete to bring home a gold in 60 years.  This is made all the more impressive when you consider that he came out of retirement to do this after breaking his neck in 2 places in 2000!

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"Ferociously determined"
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This was how she was described when she won a "Women of the Future" award in 2015.

Sophie Christiansen is an eight time Paralympic gold medalist in Para-Dressage, with Cerebral Palsy, and is the second Equestrian athlete to be nominated this year.

 

Born 2 months prematurely, Sophie has battled with her challenges for the past 29 years that include mobility and speech impediments, but that hasn’t stopped her from bringing home no fewer than 8 Paralympic golds since 2008.

 

She went into the history books for being the youngest equestrian athlete ever to compete at the Paralympics, when she rode at the 2004 Games in Athens aged just 16.  

 

Her "ferocious determination to succeed" is even more evident in her alter-ego as a statistical analyst at investment bank Goldman Sachs, where she works 2 days per week.  Positions like this don’t come to just everyone, but then Sophie does hold a first class Masters degree in mathematics!  

 

The winner will be announced at a live show at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, UK on on Sunday, December 18 2016.

 

To find out more, head over to the BBC website for more info.

 

Images by Cara Grimshaw & Liz Gregg/FEI