Zest Editor Mandie celebrates with Jess Ennis and all the inspiring woman that made 2012 a year of female success stories
I was amongst the lucky few who got to cheer, clap, laugh and wipe away more than the odd tear at The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year awards.
It was an amazing night – awards ceremonies can often bring out formality in the most relaxed of people, but instead we had Kath Grainger jokily yelling "everyone to Mahiki's!" as she collected her award for Olympian of the year, Laura Trott's parents recollecting seeing pictures of her kissing her boyfriend on the front page of The Sun ("well, she was sitting behind David Beckham," her dad laughed), and Victoria Pendleton revealing how much she's loving Strictly (she promised not to cry this week but looked a little doubtful).
Find out Victoria Pendleton's get fit tricks
In fact Victoria Pendleton's carefree skip, twirl and – ooh, was that a quickstep? - on to the stage, in a glittering gold (what else?) coat said it all – women's sport is seriously exciting right now, and giving us all plenty to be happy about.
This year there were more categories than usual, and while no one envied the judges' task, there were no surprises when former Zest covergirl Jess Ennis took away the ultimate award of Sportswoman of the Year (but sent her thanks via video as she was turning on the Sheffield Xmas lights - aah!), or Sarah Storey was announced as Paralympian of the Year.
Sarah Storey on fighting fatigue and funding cuts
And there wasn't a dry eye in the house when Claire Lomas, who completed in the London Marathon despite being paralysed from the chest down, collected the WSFF Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration, or three of the women's hockey team spoke of their huge sacrifices and determination to win a medal at London 2012. "We might have got bronze, but it's gold to us," they said.Check out the results of Zest's Most Inspiring Sportswoman of the Year, (voted by you!), in the December issue – out now
The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year
Olympian of the Year
Young Olympian of the Year
Paralympian of the Year
Young Paralympian of the Year
Team of the Year
Tennis duo Laura Robson and Heather Watson shared the award with Team Pursuit cyclists Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell
Coach of the Year
Jenny Archer (coach to David Weir)
Di Redfern, (volunteer for the Riding for the Disabled Association)
Lifetime Achievement Award
UK Sport chair Baroness Sue Campbell
The Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration
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