Sports personality of the year 2022: Gadirova, Mead, Muirhead, Stokes, O’Sullivan, Wightman in the running

(Clockwise from top left) Jessica Gadirova, Beth Mead, Eve Muirhead, Jake Wightman, Ben Stokes and Ronnie O'Sullivan
(Clockwise from top left) Jessica Gadirova, Beth Mead, Eve Muirhead, Jake Wightman, Ben Stokes and Ronnie O’Sullivan
Location: MediaCityUK in Salford Date: Wednesday, December 21 Departures: 6:45 p.m. GMT
Blanket: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app

A shortlist of six candidates has been announced for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022 award.

The nominees are gymnast Jessica Gadirova, footballer Beth Mead, curler Eve Muirhead, cricketer Ben Stokes, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan and athlete Jake Wightman.

Voting will open when broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday 21 December.

Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott will present the 69th Annual Awards.

The programme, filmed at Media City in Salford, will celebrate 12 months of incredible sporting action.

Audiences can vote by phone or online in the evening for the main prize, with full details announced during the show.

Other rewards to be announced include Young Sports Personality of the Year, Team and Coach of the Year, unsung hero and the Helen Rollason Award.

Eight-time sprint gold medalist Usain Bolt will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, while the winner of the FIFA World Cup Lionel Messi is the world sports star of the year.

Sports personality candidates

Jessica Gadirov

Age: 18 Sport: Gymnastic

Rising star of British gymnastics, Gadirova claimed gold on floor on the final day of the world championships.

It was the English gymnast’s third medal at the Liverpool event after winning silver in the team event and a historic bronze medal in the all-around.

It was Britain’s first world all-around medal and Gadirova became only the fifth British gymnast to be an individual world champion.

Gadirova, who won floor gold and team silver at the European Championships, is also on the list of young sports personalities along with skateboarder Sky Brown and diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix.

“I’m so shocked to be on this shortlist with such amazing athletes and to be recognized for my hard work and achievements – it’s amazing,” she told BBC Sport.

Beth Mead

Age: 27 Sport: Soccer

Mead won the Golden Boot and was tournament player as England secured a historic triumph at Euro 2022.

The Lionesses claimed their first trophy at a major women’s tournament with a 2-1 victory after extra time against the eight-time German champions at Wembley.

“It was a proud moment for me and a surreal moment to come out of that tunnel and go and play football in front of a home crowd,” Mead said of the final played in front of a record crowd of 87,192.

“The day in general, the noise in general, the atmosphere was honestly something I will never feel again.”

Mead scored six goals and provided five assists during the tournament as she recovered from the disappointment of not being selected to represent the British team at the Tokyo Olympics a year earlier.

The Arsenal striker was voted the BBC’s 2022 Women’s Footballer of the Year and was a finalist in the Women’s Golden Ball, the award given to the world’s best footballer of the year.

Eve Muirhead

Age: 32 Sport: Curling

Muirhead led the Great Britain women’s team which won gold in curling at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

As captain, she won an elusive gold medal in China for the fourth time, the pinnacle of a career in which she became Scotland’s most decorated curler.

“I look back and still wonder how I got through lockdown, covid, everything. It was such a roller coaster, standing on top of the podium at the end of it all was very, very special” , she told BBC Sport.

In 2014, she was the youngest captain to win an Olympic medal as her team won bronze.

For Scotland, Muirhead has won the European Championships three times and she won a sixth world mixed doubles title earlier this year alongside Bobby Lammie before later announcing her retirement from the sport.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Age: 47 Sport: Billiards

O’Sullivan claimed his seventh world championship to equal Stephen Hendry’s record in the modern era.

Aged 46, he became the oldest world champion in Crucible history, eclipsing Ray Reardon, who won his sixth title aged 45 in 1978.

‘The Rocket’ cemented his position as one of snooker’s greatest ever players with an 18-13 final victory over Judd Trump.

It was a 39th ranked title for the England player who holds almost every major record in the game and also won the champion of champions and the Hong Kong Masters in 2022.

O’Sullivan, who has at times been candid about snooker and his fellow players, told BBC Sport: “The love/hate doesn’t come from hating the game, I’ve always loved the game, just my frustrations would boil over and it looked like I was no longer in love with the game.

“But it was only because I wasn’t playing the game at the level that I wanted to play.”

Ben Stokes

Age: 31 Sport: locust

Stokes, the 2019 Sports Personality winner, starred as England won the Men’s T20 World Cup beating Pakistan in a thrilling final.

Under intense pressure at the iconic Melbourne cricket ground, Stokes was there in the end on 52 not out.

Having inherited a team with one win in their last 17 Tests, Stokes’ England have won nine of 10 in increasingly audacious fashion against New Zealand, India, South Africa and Pakistan.

He steered England to one of their greatest performances abroad, with a bold statement helping secure victory with a record run rate in their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years and putting his team on the way to a historic 3-0 series win.

Stokes told BBC Sport: “I think it shows you don’t have to be stuck in a particular way of playing Test cricket just because it’s been done for so long, so long. It’s different. but it’s exciting to watch.”

Jake Wightman

Age: 28 Sport: Athletics

Wightman produced a stunning run to take 1500m gold at the world championships in Oregon.

The Scot was the first Briton to win the event’s world title since Steve Cram in 1983.

He produced a brilliant final flurry to overtake Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and clinch the title, called home by his father Geoff who was the stadium announcer.

“That’s when you cross the line, it’s just such euphoria, I just wish you could bottle it up because it’s fading a bit soon,” Wightman told the BBC. Sport.

“Disbelief and shock is something I will never have again.”

Wightman also won silver in the 800m at the European Championships and bronze in the 1500m at the Commonwealth Games.

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