This year’s shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year includes three female cyclists – Dame Sarah Storey, Laura Kenny, and Kadeena Cox. The winner will be announced live, following a public vote, on Sunday December 18.
On a star studded list of just sixteen contenders across all sports – shortlisted by an expert panel – we feel women’s cycling has done pretty well. We will be catching up with each of the three contenders to hear their views on being nominated in advance.
Here, we speak to Kadeena Cox, who is the first British paralympian since 1984 to win gold medals in two sports. At the Rio Paralympics Cox scooped gold in athletics in the 400m (T38), and gold again in the 500m time trial (C4-5) in the velodrome. She is also the world para-cycling champion in this discipline, and all this has been achieved just two years after suffering a stroke and being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when Cox was twenty-three.
Words: Maria David
How did you find out that you had been nominated for an award and what was your reaction?
My sister called me while I was in Cape Verde to tell me and I might have bounced around a bit!
This has been a brilliant year for you. Paralympic Gold medals in athletics and in track cycling, plus awards in the Sunday Times SWOTY and at the Sports Journalism Awards. How have you felt about this phenomenal rise to becoming a high-profile athlete?
It’s crazy, my life has changed so much. I appreciate all the support I get and it’s amazing to be recognised and get awards for what I achieved this summer. I’m not quite sure it’s sunk in yet.
How have you managed to stay grounded?
I’m one of seven children so they bring me back down to earth quite quickly. I’m always just their annoying sister.
What has been your biggest achievement off the bike this year?
Squatting 135 kg in the gym. I live a sad sad life which revolves around training!
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Growing up my biggest inspiration was Allyson Felix the American sprinter but when you spend every day around para-athletes, pushing their bodies beyond the limits and doing what most would think is impossible, these people become my inspiration. They’ve all gone through tough times and have massive boundaries in their way but still do amazing things.
“Para-athletes have all gone through tough times and have massive boundaries in their way but still do amazing things.”