Britain's 17-year-old junior world downhill champion Rachel Atherton has won the Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year award in a gala ceremony held at Old Billingsgate Market in London on Thursday, November 17. The awards honour outstanding achievement at every level of women's sport.
Atherton was up against nominees from mainstream sports such as football, cricket and netball, and was surprised to win. After accepting the award from Lord Sebastian Coe, who is not only a multi Olympic medalist but also Chairman of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Rachel gave an impromptu speech.
After the ceremony, Atherton said, "I was honestly in shock. This is a real surprise. I honestly had no idea that I would win. It is a real honour to be nominated against other such impressive sports women, such high profile sports, so I'm really happy for the sport that we got noticed this way. They showed footage of me racing in Fort William and then Lord Coe commented how different I looked all dressed up for the awards and not in my race kit! He was really interested in the sport and asked me lots of questions."