Zara Phillips has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2006. The current World and European Eventing Champion beat the bookies favourite golfer Darren Clarke to the title. Gymnast Beth Tweddle, who performed on the night, finished third.
“I’m actually shaking. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Thank you to all the voters, it’s amazing to be here with all these amazing sportspeople. I’m in awe of everyone,” Phillips told the audience at Birmingham NEC.
Zara follows in the footsteps of her mother Princess Anne, who won the award in 1971. This is the first time that two members of the same family have won the prestigious title in its 53-year history. Zara is only the third equestrian to be crowned. She joins show jumper David Broome, who was BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1960, in this elite club.
The public support for 25-year-old current World and European eventing champion flooded in during the two-hour programme, enabling her to hold off strong competition from the other short-listed sports stars. Zara received 32% of the 680,000 public votes, while Darren Clarke received 21% and Beth Tweddle 12%.
British Eventing’s Chief Executive Peter Durrant said: “Zara’s triumph as BBC Sports Personality of the Year is another great success for our sport as a whole. She is testament to the amount of hard work all our riders put in to achieve their goals and the level of determination required to succeed on the World stage. Our sincere thanks to all who voted.”