Posted on 20/12/2016
Courtesy of the British Equestrian Federation/Jon Stroud Media
Sophie Christiansen OBE has been voted the top female athlete and the top Paralympian at this year's Sports Personality of the Year.
Coming in fifth overall, Sophie received almost 40,000 votes, putting her well ahead of other household names, including footballer Jamie Vardy and cyclist Laura Kenny.
“I’ve been really competitive all my life, and when I found a sport I could excel at, I wanted to be the best I could be,” she told Clare Balding at the ceremony.
A year of successes
Sophie has had an outstanding year, winning three gold medals at Rio 2016; Team Dressage, Individual Dressage and Individual Freestyle. She equalled the record she set at London 2012, where she became the first woman ever to win three Olympic gold medals. She has competed in four Paralympic Games, winning 10 medals, 7 of them gold.
Sophie told us, "Obviously there were so many amazing performances on the sporting stage this year and my sport isn’t as well-known as athletics, cycling or swimming so I wasn’t expecting it at all. It means a lot to me to be nominated as a Paralympian as it touches on where I’d like to see disability sport go in the future."
Studying and sport
Sophie studied Mathematics at Royal Holloway, completing her BSc as well as her MSci, which she finished in 2011. Sophie became an Honorary Fellow of the College in May 2012, and was rewarded for her success in London by a gold post box outside of the Windsor Building.
Royal Holloway offers a variety of scholarships for students who complete in international and elite sport. You can find out more and apply on our sports scholarships pages.