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Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 22:43 GMT
Lewis heads sporting honours

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 1999.
Lennox Lewis, heavyweight boxer.

Lennox Lewis, world heavyweight champion, has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Lewis: No 1
Lewis, crowned undisputed champion following his controverisal rematch against American Evander Holyfield last month, paid tribute to his family and fans as he recieved the UK's most prestigious sporting honour.

He said he hoped his 10-year fight to reach the pinnacle of boxing would act as an inspiration to young sporting hopefuls everywhere.

"This is a great honour for me," he said.

"I'd like to thank the team behind me and my country. It's been 10 years and there have been trials and tribulations trying to acheive this goal.

"They made me box 24 rounds for it so I can say I earnt it.

"For all the young people out there, may my trials and tribulations be a level of success for them.

"I'd also like to thank my fans for bringing me through."

Record: WBC champion, 1992-1994, 1997-1999. WBC, WBA, IBF champion 1999.

Newcomer of the Year
Dean Macey, decathlete.

Macey was virtually unknown until this year's world athletics championships when he burst onto the international scene with a string of stunning performances in the decathlon.

Macey: Former lifeguard and trainee at Arsenal FC
It was the 21-year-old Essex athlete's first major championships and he ended them with a silver medal.

In six of the ten events he recorded personal bests.

Macey went to Seville just three months after crashing out of the U23 Championships in Gothenburg, when he was forced to retire after a disastrous 110m hurdles.

But he bounced back and Macey, who gave up the chance of a football career at Arsenal to concentrate on athletics, now has the record of Britain's greatest ever decathlete, Daley Thompson, in his sights.

"I would not have done it without the backing I have had from everyone, my sponsors, my family and my girlfriend," said a modest Macey.

"They have worked just as hard as me."

Team of the Year
Manchester United

Manchester United created British footballing history this year by becoming the first side to complete a unique treble.

Historic night: Schmeichel lifts the European Cup
They were crowned the kings of Europe after their breathtaking 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup, which followed domestic triumphs in the Premiership and FA Cup.

Their record this year reads: Played 58 games, Won 39, Scored 115 goals and earned four trophies.

"Winning in Barcelona was the highlight of the year," said their coach, Sir Alex Ferguson.

"The club wanted it because it had been a long time since 1968. It was a truly special day.

"What we have comes from the players themselves, they have a self-dtermination and if you put them together it has a powerful effect."

Coach of the Year:
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager

Ferguson's place as a footballing great is assured not just at Old Trafford, but in the annals of British sporting history.

Ferguson: The man non-Reds love to hate
During his thirteen-year reign, the club have dominated the English game and swept up an astonishing number of trophies.

There is no man Manchester United fans love to hate more than Ferguson, and he that has sometimes been his biggest strength.

His straight-talking Scottish manner manages to deflect pressure from his players while at the same time winning their admiration and unquestioning loyalty.

The son of Govan was awarded an OBE in 1984 and is only the eighth football manager or player to receive a knighthood.

"Once you get to know the gaffer, he is fantastic. He's a winner. We go out not just to play for him but as a team, that's why we're successful," said striker Dwight Yorke.

Helen Rollason Award:
Jenny Pitman, race horse trainer.

Jenny Pitman, who retired earlier this year from her beloved sport, is one of the biggest names in national hunt.

Pitman: Battle against cancer

She has fought her own battle against cancer and is the first winner of this new accolade, awarded in recognition of outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity

For some years Pitman was admired for her acheivements as a woman, becoming the first female trainer of a Grand National winner, Corbiere.

But by the end of her 25-year career she was regarded as one of national hunt's greatest trainers, male or female, winning two Grand Nationals and two Cheltenham Gold Cups.

Last year she was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours List for services to racing.

"For a number of years I have been coming here to see people collecting awards and it's a great honour that I recieve this Helen Rollason award," she said, close to tears.

"She was a very good friend to me and a true professional.

"I think sometimes in our job we can be called hard or tough. She was a tough lady but she also had an incredible warmth.

"In a way I wish I wasn't receiving this award because I wish she was still here."

The award was presented by Helen's daughter Nikki.

Overseas sports personality of the year
Maurice Greene, sprinter

Greene was the star of this year's world athletics championsips in Seville, taking three gold medals.

Greene: They call him The Phenomenon
There, the American became the first man to win gold in both the 100m and 200m in the same global championships.

Nicknamed the Kansas Cannonball, Greene also led his team-mates to the 4x100m relay gold (ahead of Britain) to complete a remarkable treble.

Greene has already equalled the 9.79-seconds world record set illegally by a drug-fuelled Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics - and believes he can run even faster.

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See also:
12 Dec 99 |  Sport
Ali crowned Sportsman of Century
14 Nov 99 |  Lewis v Holyfield The sequel
Lewis crowned undisputed champ
12 Dec 99 |  Sport
Stars of the century
26 Aug 99 |  World Athletics
Magnificent Macey snatches silver
26 Aug 99 |  World Athletics
Dean Macey: The great unknown
26 May 99 |  Football
United crowned kings of Europe
12 Jun 99 |  Queens birthday honours
Knighthood for treble-winner Ferguson
21 Mar 99 |  Sport
The first lady of horse racing
18 Aug 99 |  UK
Mourners remember Helen Rollason
27 Aug 99 |  World Athletics
Greene flies to historic double
Links to other Sport stories are at the foot of the page.