Past winners

Sally Gunnell with Mary Peters in 1991

1988 Olive Jones
Our inaugural winner, a swimming teacher and sports administrator from Colwyn Bay honoured for her 50-year involvement with Rhos-on-Sea swim club

1989 Kim Thomas
Only rower to receive the main accolade, winning several international regattas while studying for an engineering degree

1990 Denise Smith
Wheelchair athlete and multi-sports competitor whose greatest success was becoming disabled water ski world champion

1991 Sally Gunnell
Essex girl rose to prominence with silver in 400m hurdles at the world championships in Tokyo in national record time of 53.16sec

1992 Tanni Grey-Thompson
Easily Britain’s most recognisable Paralympian, honoured after a superb sporting summer in which she won four track gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics

1993 Sally Gunnell
Added world 400m hurdles title to Olympic crown won in 1992 with a world record-breaking run in Stuttgart

1994 Denise Lewis
Former part-time secretary from Wolverhampton won heptathlon gold for England at Commonwealth Games, aged 22

1995 Lynn Simpson
A year after completing her economics degree in Nottingham, Simpson won kayak gold at the canoe slalom world championships

1996 Laura Davies
Underlined her position as world’s best female golfer by winning 10 tournaments, including two majors

1997 Alison Nicholas
Reached the pinnacle of her career at Pumpkin Ridge, Oregon, beating the world’s best women golfers to win the US Open

1998 Denise Lewis
Her second triumph was helped by heptathlon victories at European championships in Budapest and Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur

1999 Paula Radcliffe
Announced herself as world-class distance runner, breaking Zola Budd’s 14-year-old Commonwealth 3,000m record and winning 10,000m silver at world championships

2000 Denise Lewis
Overcame painful leg injury to secure Britain’s first Olympic heptathlon title since Mary Peters achieved the feat in Munich 1972

2001 Ellen MacArthur
After 94 days at sea, the 24-year-old became the youngest person and the fastest woman to sail the world singlehanded, finishing second in Vendée Globe race

2002 Paula Radcliffe
Wins in London and Chicago marathons — with a world best time in the latter — justified switch from long-distance track events to road running

2003 Pippa Funnell
Received £165,000 bonus and 18-carat gold Rolex watch after an unprecedented clean sweep of wins at Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley gave her the Grand Slam of Eventing

2004 Kelly Holmes
After years of injury heartbreak she became a sporting legend by winning Olympic 800m and 1500m in six sensational days

2005 Zara Phillips
The Queen’s granddaughter was recognised for success in European eventing championships at Blenheim Palace, where she clinched individual and team gold medals

2006 No award

2007 Victoria Pendleton
First cyclist to lift the main award, she had won three gold medals at the track cycling world championships in Mallorca

2008 Nicole Cooke
Only weeks after winning Britain’s first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics in the road race, the Welsh cyclist triumphed in Varese, Italy, in the same event at the road world championships

2009 Chrissie Wellington
Triathlete completed a 2.4- mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon in a course-record time just shy of nine hours to claim a third straight Ironman world championship title in Hawaii

2010 Maggie Alphonsi
The Saracens flanker steamrollered all opposition on the way to the women’s rugby World Cup final, where England were runners-up to New Zealand on home soil

2011 Sarah Stevenson
After a four-month hiatus to look after her critically ill parents, Stevenson returned to action and dramatically won the taekwondo -67kg world title in Gyeongju, South Korea

2012 Jessica Ennis-Hill
On Super Saturday, without doubt the greatest session in British athletics history, the poster girl of London 2012 fulfilled her potential by becoming Olympic heptathlon champion

2013 Christine Ohuruogu
At the world championships in Moscow, Ohuruogu regained the 400m world title she had won six years earlier. As usual she left it late, a powerful surge allowing her to clinch victory in a photo-finish, an astonishing four-thousandths of a second separating the east Londoner from Amantle Montsho of Botswana

2014 Charlotte Dujardin
After double dressage gold at the London Olympics two years earlier, Dujardin, riding Valegro, won two individual gold medals and a team silver at the World Equestrian Games and was crowned World Cup freestyle champion

2015 Jessica Ennis-Hill
Missed 2014 through pregnancy but it was as if she had never been away when the athlete from Sheffield turned up in South Korea and won her third heptathlon world title

2016 Laura Kenny
Arguably, Britain’s outstanding performer at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Victory in the team pursuit meant that she became the first British woman with three Olympic gold medals to her name. By the time the cyclist left Brazil, she had an overall haul of four gold medals

2017 Elise Christie
The Scot became the first British woman to win a speed skating world title at the short-track championships in Rotterdam, where she claimed both the 1,000m and 1500m crowns

2018 Dina Asher-Smith
The star of the European athletics championships in Berlin. The ever-smiling Asher-Smith, 22, won both the 100m and 200m and was a key part of Great Britain’s victorious sprint relay team, also becoming the first British woman in history to run below 22 seconds for 200m

2019 Dina Asher-Smith
At 23, Asher-Smith became the first British athlete in history to win three medals at a World Championships when she triumphed in Doha in September, and the first British woman to win a world sprint title when she took gold in the 200m. She is the first woman to win the accolade for two years running in its 32-year history.

2020 Hollie Doyle

The 24-year-old, recently beat her own record for the most wins by a female jockey in a Flat season and in August 2020, she became the first woman in history to ride five winners in a day at Windsor, beating cumulative odds of 899-1.

2021 Emma Radacanu

In 2021, aged 18, she won the US Open, becoming the British No 1 and the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since 1977.

2022 Eilish McColgan

McColgan won 10,000m gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham during the summer, and in doing so broke the Games record set by her mother, Liz, 32 years earlier.