A CLUTCH of Scots are among those being honoured as part of the 2013 Olympic Athlete of the Year Award.
The British Olympic Association yesterday included Andy Murray, Elise Christie, David Florence, Scott Brash and Eve Muirhead’s world champion curling quartet in a list of 35 athletes nominated by their sport’s governing bodies to receive the award.
Murray, of course, followed up a momentous 2012 – during which he clinched both the US Open and an Olympic gold medal – by ending Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s singles champion at Wimbledon. His straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic also earned him a landslide victory in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award earlier this month.
Prior to taking time out from tennis to undergo a back operation, Murray also helped guide Great Britain back to the Davis Cup World Group for the first time since 2008 with September’s victory over Croatia.
In curling, Muirhead skipped Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton to victory over Sweden at the World Championships in March. The team also won the Players’ Championships to cap their most successful season ever.
Now show-jumping’s world No 1, Brash was crowned overall GCT champion following his victory at the Global Champions Tour headline grand prix in Doha, while Christie established herself as Britain’s most successful female short track speed skater ever by winning World Championship bronze – and finishing the season ranked world No 1 in the 1000m.
Florence’s double gold in canoe slalom at the World Championships in Prague made him the first British man to win both the C1 and C2 double in the same year – a feat only achieved by one other man in history
The Olympic Athlete of the Year Award was introduced by the BOA in 2005 to mark the organisation’s Centenary Anniversary. The BOA invites each of its summer and winter Olympic-sport National Governing Bodies to nominate the top-performing athlete from their sport to receive the honour.
Other notable winners are England’s Fran Halsall, who played her part at Glasgow’s “Duel in the Pool” at the weekend. Halsall’s 50m freestyle bronze medal was Britain’s sole medal of the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
In golf, Justin Rose’s achievement in clinching his first major title – the US Open – is recognised. His victory at Merion was the first in the tournament by an Englishman for 43 years.
British Olympic Association chief executive Officer Bill Sweeney said yesterday: “I am delighted to see so many athletes of varying experience, across the full spectrum of Olympic sport, building on the momentum of Team GB’s performance at London 2012 by setting new standards of sporting excellence in 2013.
“I would like to congratulate each and every one – as well as the performance directors, coaches and National Governing Body personnel who have helped these athletes in making 2013 another successful year.
“Many of these athletes have achieved a number of record-breaking firsts for British Olympic sport over the last year and we were delighted to work with the National Governing Bodies, who have played an integral role in the nomination and selection.”
Aquatics: Fran Halsall
Archery: Patrick Huston
Athletics: Mo Farah
Badminton: Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock
Basketball: Johannah Leedham
Biathlon: Scott Dixon
Boxing: Andrew Selby
Canoeing: David Florence
Curling: Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton
Cycling: Liam Phillips
Equestrian: Scott Brash
Fencing: James Davis
Golf: Justin Rose
Gymnastics: Max Whitlock
Hockey: Barry Middleton
Ice Hockey: Saffron Allen
Judo: Sally Conway
Luge: AJ Rosen
Modern Pentathlon: Nicholas Woodbridge
Sailing: Bryony Shaw
Shooting: Amber Hill
Short Track Speed Skating: Elise Christie
Skeleton: Shelley Rudman
Ski and Snowboard: James Woods
Table Tennis: Liam Pitchford
Taekwondo: Lutalo Muhammad
Tennis: Andy Murray
Triathlon: Non Stanford
Weightlifting: Jack Oliver
Wrestling: Leon Rattigan