Footballer Beth Mead pays powerful tribute to teammates after winning Sports Personality of the Year

Beth Mead

England Lionesses star Beth Mead paid tribute to women athletes as she won BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022.

The LGBTQ+ hero, who helped propel England to victory at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 this summer, was voted winner of the prestigious award by the British public during Wednesday’s (21 December) live show on BBC One.

Upon receiving the award, Mead said: “I’m speechless for one. I’m incredibly honoured to win this award.

“I’ll keep saying, it’s cliché, but I wouldn’t have done it without the girls over there and a 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 dad, my mum and all my family. 

“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 keep doing the right thing.”

Mead, who is just one of many out LGBTQ+ players in the England women’s football squad, had previously won the coveted Golden Boot for most goals scored in the Euros and was also named player of the tournament.

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The Arsenal player was the odds-on favourite to take this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award this year and beat off competition from other nominees including cricketer Ben Stokes and snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan.

At the awards, England’s Lionesses were named BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year 2022, while head coach Sarina Wiegman picked up the Coach of the Year award.

Beth Mead. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Beth Mead is just the second out LGBTQ athlete to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Beth Mead, who is in a relationship with Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema, is just the second out LGBTQ+ athlete to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year, after world champion figure skater John Curry in 1976.

Dame Kelly Holmes, who came out publicly as a lesbian in June, also won the award in 2004 – 18 years before sharing her sexuality with the world.

Mead revealed earlier this year that she’d never had to physically come out as gay because LGBTQ+ players in women’s football are more accepted than in the men’s game.

“I get how difficult it is for some people and I get that it is not always socially accepted,” the Yorkshire-born star told Sky Sports.

“In the women’s game, it is more the norm. Actually, I’ve never physically come out and said I’m gay, I’m with a girl because I’ve not had to. I’ve just been me.”

Olympic diving champion Tom Daley narrowly missed out on winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2021, ending the public vote in second place behind tennis star and US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

Despite being pipped to the post last year, Daley did make waves on the night with an emotional speech in which the sports star paid tribute to his late father, husband Dustin Lance Black and son Robbie.

“I’m married, I have a kid who’s three-and-a-half, to be able to say that I’m a gay man that was able to compete at an Olympic Games, and feel comfortable in myself to be able to do that,” Daley said at this time.

He added: “It’s important that we make sport accessible and inclusive for everyone and that everyone has a space.”

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