England and Manchester United goalkeeper, Mary Earps has been voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year for 2023.
“I am going to try this Christmas to get some time to reflect and think about it all,” Earps said. “It has been an incredible couple of years and I just feel really, really grateful to have been given an opportunity to fulfil my wildest dreams. It is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I cannot believe I am standing up here – and I had a long walk in this dress and these heels. It’s a bit ridiculous.”
Earps, 30, was dropped from the Lionesses in 2019 and thought about international retirement. She said the experience had helped her to develop as a person. “I think what I’ve learned over the last couple of years is you’ve got to show a lot of resilience in life, a lot of character,” she said.
“It’s never easy. We all go through hard times. And in whatever walk of life we’re in, I think football is a vehicle, and we can all change the world in some small way. So that’s kind of what I’m trying to do.”
The 30-year-old was a key part of the Lionesses side which reached the Women’s World Cup final in the summer, and won Fifa’s Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament.
Earps saved a penalty from Spain’s Jenni Hermoso in the final, but England were unable to add to their 2022 European crown as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat in Sydney.
Retired England cricketer Stuart Broad finished second in the vote, while world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson was third.
Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, jockey Frankie Dettori and golf star Rory McIlroy were the three other sports luminaries who made it on to the shortlist for the prestigious prize.
Earps’ success last night made her the third successive female winner of the award, after US Open champion Emma Raducanu in 2021 and Earps’ England team-mate Beth Mead last year.
Last season Earps kept 14 clean sheets as Manchester United finished second in the Women’s Super League.