Sportswomen of the Year 2011: Mark Cavendish wins BBC prize

After all the kerfuffle about the BBC failing to include a woman on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist, cyclist Mark Cavendish picked up the prize at last night’s ceremony.

Watching the programme, it was very obvious that the criticism about the long- and short-listing process had cut to the quick. Viewers were reminded that women had achieved much in sport this year; as presenter Jake Humphreys introduced the cricket round-up, he mentioned the victories of the women’s team before moving directly to talk to Stuart Broad after a lengthy wrap-up of the men’s year. Would it have been so hard to give some of that interview time to Charlotte Edwards? Or perhaps Claire Taylor, seeing as she’s stepping back from international cricket now?

Gary Lineker, meanwhile, made a few nudge-nudge comments in a part-embarrassed fashion; when interviewing golfer Rory McIlroy he urged him to work towards becoming world number one in 2012 – “Can’t let the girlfriend beat you!” he HILARIOUSLY joked, in a reference to McIlroy’s partner Caroline Wozniacki, the tennis world number one. No, Gary, he couldn’t possibly let his girlfriend be more successful in her sport than he is! That would be terrible!

Plenty of fantastic sportswomen were at the ceremony – but mostly to wear a pretty dress, present awards, and act as decoration. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and world champion swimmer Keri-Anne Payne were just two of those reduced to that particular role.

Congratulations, though, to Lauren Taylor, the teenager who became the youngest ever winner of the ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship this year, and who was named Young Sports Personality of the Year (out of an all-female shortlist – not that they were trying to over-compensate or anything).

Did you watch the broadcast? What did you think?

Next week, I’ll be doing a roll of honour of all the sportswomen F-Word readers have nominated as worthy of recognition for their achievements this year. If you’ve not had your say already, name your sportswoman of the year in the comments, or drop me an email (carrie DOT dunn AT gmail DOT com).

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