The outstanding sportswomen of 2017 who I considered for my choice of world sportswoman of the year:
Svetlana Kolesnichenko the Russian who won four golds in synchronized swimming at the world championships.
Laura Dahlmeier the German who won five gold medals at the world biathlon championships, including three of the four individual events.
Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson won three golds at the world championships orienteering and two more at ski orienteering.
Marit Bjørgen, the Norwegian all-time great won four more golds at the cross-country skiing world championships.
America’s Tatyana McFadden won another four golds at the world para athletics championships.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström won three golds at the World swimming championships and set two world records. She came close to making my top four but my shortlist for 2017 is:
Cecilia Brækhus, Norway’s world professional welterweight boxing champion, the first woman in any weight class to hold the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titles simultaneously. She defended those titles three times to extend her professional record to 32 wins from 32 fights. It is hard for a boxer who only has a few fights a year to do enough in any one year to win my award so I am taking career achievement into account. It is time to recognise Cecilia Brækhus who has dominated her weight division for years.
Kim Rhode of the USA was already a great name in shooting. She is the first woman to medal in six consecutive Olympics at any sport, but in 2017 won a gold medal in the team skeet at the world championships and in the World Cup won three out of four events setting a world record in the first one which she equalled in the fourth round of the Cup.
In taekwondo Britain’s Bianca Walkden had an amazing year. She won her second world title and won each of the four Grand Prix titles, the most important events of the year outside the championships. This was the first time anyone had ever done this in the Grand Prix since it started in 2013.
Bianca came very close to winning but my choice as World Sportswoman of the Year for 2017 is Evgenia Medvedeva. In 2017 this Russian figure skater set new standards in her sport. She took part in seven competitions and won them all including the European and World Championships. This is good in itself but her scores in doing so were fantastic. She set eight world record marks over the three separate scores of short programme, free dance and total score. She first broke the total score record which had stood since 2010 at the Europeans and then again at the Worlds with the first score over 230. At the world team trophy she went on to add another ten points to that mark setting records for the other two parts of the event as well. This brilliance makes her my choice.Embed from Getty Images
2016 Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming) Runners-Up: Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland – Athletics), Rachel Atherton (Great Britain – Mountain Bike), Simone Biles (USA – Gymnastics), Katinka Hosszu (Hungary – Swimming)
2015 Gwen Jorgensen (USA – Triathlon), Runners Up: Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming), Anita Włodarczyk (Poland – Athletics)
2014 Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming): Runners up Tatiana Kashirina (Russia – Weightlifting), Sandra Perkovic (Croatia – Athletics)
2013 Kaori Icho (Japan – Wrestling) – won her 8th world title and 154th consecutive fight, an all-time record:Runners-Up: Tatyana McFadden (USA – Para athletics), Tora Berger (Norway – Biathlon)
2012 Marianne Vos (Netherlands – Cycling) Olympic and world road race champion, Giro winner and world cyclo-cross champion: Runners-up: Kaori Icho (Japan – Wrestling), Missy Franklin (USA – Swimming), Katie Taylor (Ireland – Boxing), Hannah Kearney (USA – Freestyle Skiing)