Rachel Atherton scoops first ever BT Sport action woman of the year award

The dominant figure in Women’s Downhill Mountain Biking, Rachel Atherton, has topped the polls at the inaugural BT Sport Action Woman of the Year Awards, an award celebrating women who gave the most dynamic sporting performance of 2013. The 26-year-old from Salisbury became the first ever winner of the award. 

Atherton was crowned the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year on last night’s (January 25) Clare Balding show on BT Sport 1, following a public vote on btsport.com. 

Atherton secured the Award following a triumphant year where she became the Women’s Downhill Mountain Bike world champion and World Cup Series winner - the second time in her career in which she has achieved the elusive double. It marked a significant comeback from injuries, including one sustained by collision with a pickup truck in 2009. 

Liverpool Ladies and England striker Natasha Dowie, from Hertfordshire, narrowly missed out on the top spot receiving second place in the public vote followed by World Champion triathlete, Non Stanford. Other nominees included: Christine Ohuruogu, Laura Robson, Katie Summerhayes, Heather Knight, Sophie Christiansen, Charlie Hull and Ellie Simmonds. 

Rachel Atherton said: “Wow!! I'm absolutely gobsmacked to have won the first ever BT Sport Action Women Awards! The first thing I have got to say is a massive thank you to every single person who voted for me and our sport, allowing me to showcase what a jaw dropping sport Downhill Mountain Biking is. This is a huge milestone in my career! 

“The short list for this award was stacked with women who I personally take inspiration from, and being considered alongside these women means the world to me and gives me even more motivation for the coming race season! 

“Thanks also has to go to all my fantastic sponsors, my amazing team and family, without whom I would be less than nothing. Of this I have no doubt. 

“Adding this award to my World Titles goes a long way in saying thank you to all these people, because it's true that you really are only as good as the team around you. That team now includes everybody who voted in such a prestigious award, and the family of BT Sport, for making such a huge salute to the world of Women's Action Sports. Thanks guys!” 

Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, said: “BT Sport created this award to recognise the fantastic performances and achievements by female athletes in this country. After an outstanding year in women’s sport, we are proud to award Rachel Atherton with the first ever BT Sport Action Woman of the Year Award, recognising her outstanding achievements and contribution she has made to sport.”