LGBTQ+ footballer Beth Mead wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award

The England star is the first-ever female footballer to collect the prestigious award.

Beth Mead smiling after winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Image: Twitter: @bmeado9

English LGBTQ+ footballer Beth Mead has been crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2022. She was awarded the prestigious honour on the evening of Wednesday, December 21, after receiving the most votes from the British public during the BBC One live show.

Mead finished on top of the polls ahead of England Test cricket captain Ben Stokes who came in second, and Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead who took third place. Other nominees on the shortlist included gymnast Jessica Gadirova, 1,500-metre world champion Jake Wightman and snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The 27-year-old is the first-ever female footballer to collect the award, and completed a hattrick of wins for the England Women’s team at the ceremony. The Lionesses, of which the winger plays a huge part, won Team of the Year, and their manager Sarina Wiegman earned Coach of the Year.

Mead was one of the key players in the squad that emerged triumphant from the 2022 Women’s Euros. She was the top scorer of the competition with six goals, and also collected the Player of the Tournament award as chosen by UEFA’s technical observers.

Upon receiving the Sports Personality of the Year award, Beth Mead emotionally explained that she was “incredibly honoured” and paid tribute to her teammates.

“I wouldn’t have done it without those girls over there and the team that have backed me. Yes, I’ve got this accolade, I did my job, I scored a few goals but I wouldn’t have done it without them.

“And I certainly wouldn’t have done it without my mum, my dad and all my family,” she added.

“But most of all, this is for women’s sport, and for women’s sport heading in the right direction. So let’s keep pushing girls and let’s keep doing the right thing.”

Among those to congratulate the star on her historic victory was Mead’s Arsenal teammate Katie McCabe. The Republic of Ireland captain can be seen celebrating the announcement in a social media video uploaded by her club, and she additionally shared, “Nobody deserves it more” on Instagram.

Beth Mead is openly queer and is in a relationship with Arsenal teammate and Dutch star Vivianne Miedema. England’s number 7 earned praise in November of this year after announcing that she would not be supporting the Qatar World Cup due to its views on homosexuality being “the complete opposite” of what she believes in and respects.

“Although I’m cheering for the boys who are going to play football there, from the minute it was announced I thought it wasn’t the best idea,” she said. “We’re in the 21st century and you fall in love with who you fall in love with. It doesn’t matter who they are.”

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