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The awards recognise the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite athletes, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational women.

Now in their 30th year, the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards in association with Vitality are among the most prestigious and influential in the British Sporting Calendar.

    1988 - Present

    Winners of the Sportswoman of the Year accolade

  • 1988   Olive Jones

    The inaugural winner, a swimming teacher and sports administrator, was honoured for her 50-year involvement with the Rhos-on-Sea swimming club in Colwyn Bay

  • 1989   Kim Thomas

    The only rower to receive the main accolade won several major international regattas while studying for an engineering degree

  • 1990   Denise Smith

    A wheelchair athlete and multi-sports competitor whose greatest triumph was becoming disabled water ski world champion

  • 1991   Sally Gunnell

    The 400m hurdler won a silver medal at the world championships in Tokyo in a national record time of 53.16sec

  • 1992   Tanni Grey-Thompson

    One of Britain’s most decorated stars, inset, was honoured after an excellent sporting summer that included four track gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics

  • 1993   Sally Gunnell

    Spectacularly added world 400m hurdles world title to 1992 Olympic crown after a record-breaking victory in Stuttgart

  • 1994   Denise Lewis

    Made senior breakthrough with heptathlon gold for England at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada

  • 1995   Lynn Simpson

    Became kayak world champion in Nottingham, a year after completing her economics degree in same city

  • 1996   Laura Davies

    Consolidated her position as the world’s leading female golfer and the best England has ever produced by winning 10 tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic, including two majors

  • 1997   Alison Nicholas

    The diminutive Nicholas won the women’s US Open golf title, at Pumpkin Ridge in
    Oregon, in what was the pinnacle of her playing career

  • 1998   Denise Lewis

    Received the main award for a second time after heptathlon wins at the Europeans in Budapest and the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur

  • 1999   Paula Radcliffe

    The runner broke Zola Budd’s 14-year-old Commonwealth 3,000m record and then won 10,000m silver at the world championships in Seville

  • 2000   Denise Lewis

    Overcame painful leg injury to secure Britain’s first Olympic heptathlon title since Mary Peters at the 1972 Munich Games

  • 2001   Ellen MacArthur

    After 94 days at sea, the 24-year-old became the youngest person and fastest woman to sail the world single-handed, as she finished second in Vendée Globe race

  • 2002   Paula Radcliffe

    Wins in London and Chicago marathons – with a world best time in the latter – justified the switch from the track to long-distance road running

  • 2003   Pippa Funnell

    Completed the Grand Slam of eventing following an unprecedented clean sweep of wins at Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley

  • 2004   Kelly Holmes

    After years of injury and heartbreak, she became a sporting legend by winning Olympic 800m and 1500m gold within six sensational days in Athens

  • 2005   Zara Phillips

    The Queen’s granddaughter won individual and team gold medals at the European eventing championships at Blenheim Palace

  • 2006   No Award

  • 2007   Victoria Pendleton

    The first cyclist, inset, to lift the main award won three gold medals at the track cycling world championships in Mallorca

  • 2008   Nicole Cooke

    Seven weeks after winning Britain’s first gold of the Beijing Olympics, in the road race, the Welsh cyclist triumphed in the same event at the road world championships

  • 2009   Chrissie Wellington

    The triathlete completed a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon in a course-record time to win a third straight Ironman world championship title in Hawaii

  • 2010   Maggie Alphonsi

    The Saracens flanker was the standout player of the sixth women’s rugby World Cup finals as England finished runners-up on home soil to New Zealand

  • 2011   Sarah Stevenson

    Dramatically won the taekwondo 67kg world title in the South Korean city of Gyeongju – despite taking a four-month break from her sport to care for her critically ill parents

  • 2012   Jessica Ennis-Hill

    On Super Saturday, the poster girl of the London 2012 Games fulfilled her potential by winning Olympic heptathlon gold on the same night when Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah won gold medals

  • 2013   Christine Ohuruogu

    At the world championships in Moscow, Ohuruogu regained the 400m world title she had won six years earlier. A photo-finish was required, though, with just four-thousandths of a second separating the east Londoner from Amantle Montsho of Botswana in second

  • 2014   Charlotte Dujardin

    The double Olympic dressage champion enjoyed another stellar year, winning two gold medals at the world equestrian games in Normandy, riding to success on her trusted horse Valegro

  • 2015   Jessica Ennis-Hill

    Only 13 months after she gave birth to son Reggie, ‘Supermum’ Jessica Ennis-Hill made a triumphant return to athletics, winning the world heptathlon title for the second time

  • 2016   Laura Kenny

    The track cyclist became Britain’s most decorated female Olympian following her two gold medals at the Rio Games.