In a stunning turn of events, Mary Earps has emerged victorious as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2023, marking a historic back-to-back win for the Lionesses following Beth Mead’s triumph last year. Let’s delve into Earps’ extraordinary journey and the accolades that have solidified her status as a sporting icon.

Mary Earps secures the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year accolade for 2023, marking a triumphant back-to-back victory for the Lionesses. Her teammate, Beth Mead, clinched the same honor in the preceding year, basking in the glory of her remarkable performances at UEFA EURO 2022.

Mary Earps 2023

Outstanding Victory

Amongst the distinguished nominees, including Stuart Broad (cricket), Frankie Dettori (horse racing), Alfie Hewett (wheelchair tennis), Katarina Johnson-Thompson (athletics), and Rory Mcllroy (golf), Earps emerged victorious.

Stellar Achievements

This prestigious award crowns yet another stellar year for Earps, who played an integral role in the Lionesses’ journey to the World Cup final. Her accomplishments include the prestigious Golden Glove at the tournament, the title of Best Women’s Goalkeeper at FIFA’s The Best awards, and the esteemed recognition as England Women’s Player of the Year.

Who is Mary Earps?

Triumph Over Adversity

What adds an extra layer of awe to Earps’ recent achievements is her contemplation of leaving the sport less than three years ago. In early 2021, with no England caps since November 2019 and her 28th birthday looming, Earps faced an uncertain future. Her Manchester United contract was nearing its end, and the prospect of venturing into business with her brother seemed plausible.

However, the arrival of Sarina Wiegman as England women’s head coach in September 2021 changed the trajectory of Earps’ career. Wiegman designated her as the No.1 goalkeeper, a position she has steadfastly held since.

Expressing Gratitude

During the award acceptance, Earps expressed her gratitude, stating, “First of all, I want to say how humbled I am to be on such a list of incredible athletes. I have really enjoyed hearing your stories tonight.”

“I think sport is a fantastic thing where it brings the world together, and to hear you guys talk and hear about your journeys, I think it is unbelievable so congratulations to you all.”

She continued, “Also, thanks for voting for me to everyone who voted for me! I should probably have started with that one!”

“I am very honored and humbled. To me, I think this is the ultimate all-round sporting accolade, and I think as the Lionesses – and Manchester United as well – we have had a couple of incredible years, and this is just…wow.”

Acknowledging Challenges

Acknowledging the challenges she faced, Earps added, “It has not been the easiest journey, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without a number of incredible people in my corner so finally I just want to say thank you to them.”

“I am so glad that I can bring some of my loved ones here today, although I am not going to look at them directly in the eye now because it would be too much [for me].”

“They have been with me through the really, really not so great times, and the last two years have been absolutely unbelievable. I have done more than I could ever have imagined and for that, I am truly incredibly grateful.”

“To Ian Wilcock and Darren Ward, my goalkeeper coaches who are here tonight as well, again, thank you so much to my teammates and my coaches because I wouldn’t be here without you all.”

“I don’t know what else to say, so I am going to get off the stage before I get the boot from Gary Lineker – whey!”

Industry Recognition

The industry panel responsible for selecting this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year included former Lioness and Euro 2022 winner Ellen White, ex-Olympian Colin Jackson, Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, and former Scotland rugby union international Chris Paterson.

Sports journalists David Coverdale (Daily Mail), Rob Maul (The Sun), and Charlotte Harpur (The Athletic) were part of the panel alongside Olympian Katherine Grainger, now Chair of UK Sport.

BBC Representation

Representing the BBC were director of sport Barbara Slater, head of sport content Philip Bernie, and Sports Personality of the Year executive producer Gabby Cook.

Awards Night Highlights

The ceremony also recognized outstanding achievements across various categories:

  • World Sport Star of the Year: Erling Haaland
  • Helen Rollason Award: Fatima Whitbread
  • Young Sports Personality of the Year: Mia Brooks (snowboarder)
  • Unsung Hero: Desmond Smith (co-founder of the Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club)
  • Coach of the Year: Pep Guardiola
  • Team of the Year: Manchester City
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Kenny Dalglish