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Published 19 December 2023 4 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Mary Earps wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023

Written by:

Frank Smith

England Women's goalkeeper Mary Earps has continued her incredible year with yet another award

Mary Earps has been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023.

Earps has made it back-to-back SPOTY winners for the Lionesses after team-mate Beth Mead secured the award last year after her heroics at UEFA EURO 2022.

The goalkeeper was one of six nominees, finishing ahead of Stuart Broad (cricket), Frankie Dettori (horse racing), Alfie Hewett (wheelchair tennis), Katarina Johnson-Thompson (athletics) and Rory Mcllroy (golf).

The award comes after Earps enjoyed another stellar year, playing every minute of the Lionesses’ run to the World Cup final and picking up multiple awards, including the tournament’s Golden Glove, Best Women's Goalkeeper at FIFA's The Best awards and being named England Women’s Player of the Year.

Earps’ achievements in recent years are even more impressive when you consider she was seriously considering walking away from the sport less than three years ago.

In early 2021, with no England caps to her name since November 2019 and her 28th birthday fast approaching, Earps’ Manchester United contract was coming towards an end and she was considering moving into business with her brother.

But when Sarina Wiegman arrived as England women’s head coach in September 2021, she installed Earps as her No.1 and she has stayed there since.

Mary Earps received her award in front of a packed out crowd at Media City in Salford
Mary Earps received her award in front of a packed out crowd at Media City in Salford

When collecting her award, Earps said: “First of all, I want to say how humbled I am to be on such a list of incredible athletes. I have really enjoyed hearing your stories tonight.

“I think sport is a fantastic thing where it brings the world together and to hear you guys talk and hear about your journeys, I think it is unbelievable so congratulations to you all.

“Also, thanks for voting for me to everyone who voted for me! I should probably have started with that one!

“I am very honoured and humbled. To me, I think this is the ultimate all-round sporting accolade and I think as the Lionesses – and Manchester United as well – we have had a couple of incredible years, and this is just…wow.

“It has not been the easiest journey and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without a number of incredible people in my corner so finally I just want to say thank you to them.

“I am so glad that I can bring some of my loved ones here today, although I am not going to look at them directly in the eye now because it would be too much [for me].

“They have been with me through the really, really not so great times and the last two years have been absolutely unbelievable. I have done more than I could ever have imagined and for that, I am truly incredibly grateful. And to Ian Wilcock and Darren Ward, my goalkeeper coaches who are here tonight as well.

“Again, thank you so much to my team-mates and my coaches because I wouldn’t be here without you all. I don’t know what else to say so I am going to get off the stage before I get the boot from Gary Lineker – whey!”

BBC Sports Personality of the Year is the latest in a long list of awards for Mary Earps
BBC Sports Personality of the Year is the latest in a long list of awards for Mary Earps

The industry panel for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year included former Lioness and Euro 2022 winner Ellen White, ex-Olympian Colin Jackson, Paralympian Ellie Simmonds and former Scotland rugby union international Chris Paterson.

Sports journalists David Coverdale (Daily Mail), Rob Maul (The Sun) and Charlotte Harpur (The Athletic) were on the panel alongside Olympian Katherine Grainger, now Chair of UK Sport.

Representing the BBC were director of sport Barbara Slater, head of sport content Philip Bernie and Sports Personality of the Year executive producer Gabby Cook.

See below for a full list of the awards presented on the night:

Sports Personality of the Year
Mary Earps

World Sport Star of the Year
Erling Haaland

Helen Rollason Award
Fatima Whitbread

Young Sports Personality of the Year
Mia Brooks (snowboarder)

Unsung Hero
Desmond Smith (co-founder of the Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club)

Coach of the Year
Pep Guardiola

Team of the Year
Manchester City

Lifetime Achievement award
Kenny Dalglish

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