UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl has been awarded the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) Gold Medal for services to elite sport at the organisation’s 2016 British Sports Awards.
At a glittering ceremony staged at The Pavilion at the Tower of London, Liz received the honour following the incredible success of Team GB and ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016.
UK Sport’s strategic leadership and investment approach over the Rio cycle helped Great Britain become the first host nation in history to better both its Olympic and Paralympic medal haul at the next Games, and finish in second place on both medal tables with 214 medals overall and 255 medallists.
Having joined UK Sport in 1999, Liz has played a pioneering role in the development of the elite sport system in the UK and after becoming CEO in 2010; has been widely credited for her leading role in ensuring successful performances from Great Britain at London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.
Liz said: “It is an honour and privilege to receive this award but I really feel that I am accepting this on behalf of the entire team at UK Sport.
“I am very lucky to work with a hugely talented and motivated team at UK Sport and it is through their work that we have been able to achieve huge sporting success that has helped inspire the nation.
“I look forward to sharing this award with the team as recognition of what we have achieved.”
The ceremony saw tennis star and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray claim the 68th winner of the Association’s Sportsman of the Year award while cyclist Laura Kenny was named Woman of the Year after becoming Britain’s most successful woman Olympian of all time in Rio.
The GB Hockey team were crowned team of the year after their gold medal triumph in Rio while Team GB and ParalympicsGB were given the SJA World Sport Achievement Award.
The Awards in full are as follows:
Sportsman of the Year: Andy Murray (Tennis)
Sportswoman of the Year: Laura Trott (Cycling)
Team of the Year: Great Britain Women’s Hockey
SJA Gold Medal for services to elite sport: Liz Nicholl
The National Lottery Spirit of Sport Award: Sarah Storey (Cycling)
SJA President’s Award: Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (Rowing)
BT Sport JL Manning Award for services off the field of play: Toni Minichiello (Athletics)
SJA Committee Award: Max Whitlock (Gymnastics)
SJA World Sport Achievement Award: Olympic and Paralympic Team GB
SJA Bill McGowran Trophy for achievement in Paralympic sport: Kadeena Cox (Cycling and Athletics) and Will Bayley (Table tennis)
SJA Peter Wilson Trophy for international newcomer: Maro Itoje (Rugby Union)
SJA Chairman’s Award: Jack Laugher and Chris Mears (Diving)
SJA Pat Besford Award for outstanding performance of the year: Women’s Pursuit Team (Cycling)
SJA Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism and the SJA: Caroline Searle