Sochi champions passed over for Athlete of the Year awards
Great Britain, Switzerland and Belgium announced Athlete of the Year award winners Sunday, with one of the five men’s and women’s individual winners being an Olympic champion in 2014.
That one was Swiss skier Dominique Gisin, who shared Sochi downhill gold with Slovenian Tina Maze. Maze won her fifth Slovenia female Athlete of the Year award this year, joining male winner ski jumper Petr Prevc, who won two medals in Sochi.
Gisin won the Swiss Female Athlete of the Year over Sochi silver medalist biathlete Selina Gasparin, who received the second-most votes.
The Swiss men’s winner was Roger Federer, for a sixth time, but the first time he won the award in a year in which he did not win a Grand Slam title. Cross-country skier Dario Cologna, who won two Sochi golds, was second in voting, followed by tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka, who did win a Grand Slam title in 2014.
In Great Britain, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year went to Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who beat golfer Rory McIlroy and four-time Olympic distance runner Jo Pavey in voting. McIlroy will represent Ireland, not Great Britain, if he qualifies for the 2016 Olympic golf tournament.
Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold was sixth in voting.
In Belgium, Chelsea goalkeeper Thibault Courtois and European Championships bronze medalist heptathlete Nafi Thiam won the men’s and women’s Athlete of the Year honors.
Courtois won over 2012 Olympic tennis player David Goffin and speed skater Bart Swings, whose best finish in Sochi was fourth.
Belgium regularly sends fewer than 10 athletes to the Winter Olympics and hasn’t won a Winter Olympic medal since 1998.