Rebecca Adlington and Natasha Baker have won multiple Olympic and Paralympic golds and Martin Offiah has played through the pain barrier against some of the world’s toughest men.
But these greats on the Pride of Sport 2016 judging panel all agreed helping to choose the finalists and winners of 2016 was one of their hardest tasks ever.
“I’ve read some amazing stories, some of which I’ve never heard about before,” said rugby league legend Martin. “It’s such a tough job to pick the winners.”
Five-time Paralympic dressage gold medallist Natasha agreed, saying: “There are so many amazing, worthy people and it’s so tough to decide who comes out on top. I just think that everybody is so deserving of these awards.”
And Rebecca, Britain’s most successful Olympic swimmer of the last 100 years, with two gold and two bronze medals, added: “It’s so hard to pick winners.”
Rebecca, Natasha and Martin were joined on the panel by our host Ben Shephard, Rachel Lock from our partner TSB, Sarah Marl from the English Federation of Disability Sport, 2015 Pride of Sport winner Chris Graham and the Mirror’s Shiraz Lalani, sports editor David Walker and editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley.
It took two hours of passionate debate in the Spencer Suite at London’s Grosvenor House to select the finalists and winners from the shortlist, whittled down by the research team from thousands of inspirational entries.