Rachel Atherton called it “the perfect end to the perfect season” after the mountain biker was crowned the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year.
Since its inception in 2000, the annual awards ceremony celebrates the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with the greatest achievements fans have admired throughout the year.
The 29-year-old beat surfing world champions John Florence and Tyler Wright, snowboarder Chloe Kim, skateboarder Pedro Barros and freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru to the illustrious award in a star-studded ceremony in Monaco on 14 February.
Atherton was voted by Laureus Academy members for a season in which she completed a clean sweep by winning all the World Cups—taking her winning streak to 15 consecutive races—as well as being crowned world champion for a fourth time.
Watch Atherton in action:
The Briton from Salisbury, who had to miss the ceremony because of a training camp in the United States, said:
I’m absolutely gutted I can’t be there tonight. When I heard I’d won this award, I was totally shocked. To have you recognise downhill mountain biking is huge not only for me but for the sport.
The 2016 race season saw me complete the first ever perfect season, winning every single World Cup and the World Championships. Coupled with last season, that’s the 15 rounds undefeated. This award marks the perfect end to the perfect season.
Previous winners of the award include: Jan Frodeno (triathlete), Kelly Slater (surf) and Jamie Bestwick (BMX).
Featured image of Rachel Atherton at Red Bull Fox Hunt in 2016. Photo: Rutger Pauw/Red Bull Content Pool