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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 08:48 GMT
Q&A: Sir Steven Redgrave
As the 50th anniversary of BBC Sports Personality of the Year approaches, past winners share their memories.

Sir Steven Redgrave (rowing)
Sports Personality 2000

What are your memories of the night?

I remember being on the programme nearly every year since 1984 and eventually winning it in 2000.

I was a pretty firm favourite to win, but you really never know until it's actually announced.

I remember doing three live TV programmes that day. I was at the Smash Hits awards in Docklands and then Soho Square with Matthew Pinsent for the FA Cup third round draw.

Sir Steven Redgrave
Sir Steven Redgrave won five Olympic gold medals
They had to make sure we were going to be arriving on time for the Sports Review show, so they sent us a car followed by two motorbikes in case we got caught in traffic, and had to transfer to the bikes.

We were in the car with someone who better remain nameless, and Matt said: 'Do you know who's won?"

They said: "No, but I've got an idea who will."

And Matt joked: "Oh great - I've won then!"

How did you feel to be named Sports Personality of the Year?

I'd been nominated on two or three occasions before - the first time was 1986, and I thought that was as much as we were ever going to get.

So I was really pleased when it went to someone from what is considered a minority sport like rowing.

Who were you up against?

Denise Lewis was second, and Tanni Grey-Thompson came third.

How did you celebrate the win?

After we had finished with the photos and interviews, there was quite a big party in one of the studios.

It was absolutely packed. We spent a little time there and sneaked off.

Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent have twice won the team of the year award - in 1992 and 1996

Everyone thinks all sportspeople meet each other quite often, but it's not really the case.

You tend to meet people more at things like functions after television programmes.

What are your memories of that year?

It was a tremendous year - I won every race apart from one and it was great to win the Olympics and make such an impact in Britain and around the world.

What did you do with the trophy?

It's on a windowsill halfway up the stairs.

Where does the award rate compared with your other honours?

The medals themselves are the ultimate, because that's what you have been trying to achieve.

The BBC award is very much representative of the public, and it's nice to get the recognition.

Rowing has always been a successful Olympic sport, but outside the Olympic Games, it doesn't get very much coverage.

However, the BBC has always been good to rowing and has covered every world championships since 1981.

Who do you consider the all-time Sports Personality?

I very much look forward to the future, and I would go for Paula Radcliffe. She's done amazing things in the last couple of years and will win Olympic gold next year, I'm sure.

  • Sir Steven Redgrave was talking to Frank Keogh

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