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Rachael Blackmore wins World Sports Star of the Year at BBC awards

Tipperary jockey tops public vote in recognition of her historic year.

Blackmore topped the public vote on a list which included Max Verstappen, Tom Brady, and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Blackmore topped the public vote on a list which included Max Verstappen, Tom Brady, and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

RACHAEL BLACKMORE ADDED another first to her groundbreaking year as she became the first Irish athlete to win the BBC’s prestigious World Sports Star of the Year award.

The Tipperary jockey, 32, made history at the Cheltenham Festival in March when becoming the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle and also to lift the leading rider award.

She then topped even that at Aintree in April when guiding Minella Times to victory in the Grand National, making her the first woman to win the world’s greatest steeplechase.

Blackmore — who was named RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year on Saturday – topped the public vote on a list which included Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, NFL legend Tom Brady, and double-double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.

She had flown over from Ireland to attend Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality awards ceremony in person but was delayed at Manchester Airport.

She told Gabby Logan and Clare Balding in the studio: “I made it as far as Manchester Airport!”

Of her achievements in the saddle, Blackmore said: “I never even dreamt they could happen to be honest. It’s far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. It’s just been an incredible year.

“The reaction has been brilliant, obviously for me personally they are such massive things to achieve but I think when you can bring a bit of joy to other people that makes it even more special.

“The reaction from everyone at home has been incredible and I feel very privileged to have had the year I’ve add.”

She added: “The Grand National was incredible, I felt I was exactly where I wanted to be (in the race). I visualised how I’d like things to work out and they seemed to just happen. You need a lot of things to fall into place for that to happen. It was just incredible.”

After being announced as the winner, she said: “The support has been incredible and I got such a kick out of being on that list of nominees.

“It’s kind of overwhelming. It’s unbelievable.”

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Meanwhile, US Open champion Emma Raducanu capped her extraordinary 2021 by being named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

The 19-year-old completed a fairytale in New York in September as she became the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Raducanu claimed this year’s prize ahead of Olympic gold medallists Tom Daley and Adam Peaty.

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