BT Sport names Action Woman of the Year

​The 26-year-old from Salisbury topped the polls at the inaugural awards, which celebrate women who gave the most dynamic sporting performance of 2013.

Rachel’s win followed a triumphant year. As well as becoming the Women’s Downhill Mountain Bike world champion, she also won the World Cup Series winner – the second time in her career she’s achieved the elusive double. It marked a significant comeback from injuries, including one sustained by collision with a pickup truck in 2009.

Rachel said: “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 shortlist 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.”

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.”

Liverpool Ladies and England striker Natasha Dowie won 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.

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