Legendary Sportsmail journalist Ian Wooldridge celebrated Corinthian spirit
Established in honour of Sportsmail legend Ian Wooldridge, who died in 2007, this annual award is voted for by you.
It celebrates the sporting genius and Corinthian spirit so beloved of ‘Woolers’.
Last year the winner was Roger Federer, who added a 20th Grand Slam title to his record-breaking haul.
Now we invite you to nominate a sportsperson from this year. Email your vote to [email protected]
Here, our writers offer some suggestions…
Tennis star Roger Federer was the recipient of the Ian Wooldridge Award last year
Nominee: Alastair Cook
There can only be one winner this year. How Ian would have loved to have been at The Oval last summer to see Alastair Cook mark his final Test with a hundred in a winning cause.
I’m sure Woolers would have been on his feet applauding like the rest of us. This was the perfect goodbye for an outstanding cricketer and, most pertinently, an outstanding individual who represented all the qualities our great columnist so held dear.
Ian would have admired the dignity Cook always demonstrated off the pitch and the sheer will to win and character he showed on it to make the very best of his ability.
How Ian would have loved to have been at The Oval last summer to see Alastair Cook’s hundred
Nominee: Lizzy Yarnold
Her competitive record is testament to the spirit Ian so cherished, even before the obstacles she overcame are put into the equation.
A village near the A20 in Kent is not the most auspicious place to be brought up for an individual aspiring to win medals in the skeleton, though Yarnold never seemed to see difficulties as impediments.
Defending her Sochi Winter Olympics gold in South Korea last February meant overcoming chronic back pain, a severe chest infection and the vestibular disorder which made her dizzy and disorientated after her first run.
She prevailed, becoming Britain’s most successful Winter Olympian.
Lizzie Yarnold overcame the odds to become Britain’s most successful Winter Olympian
Nominee: Tyson Fury
NOBODY loved a maverick more than Woolers and Tyson Fury is the godfather of all sporting non-conformists.
While he may have been uneasy about the extreme beliefs Fury expresses, Woolers would have been the first to salute his journey along the hard road to redemption.
My much-missed colleague also relished a comeback and would have applauded Tyson’s return to the ring at the forefront of the heavyweight division with that last-round resurrection in his epic draw with Deontay Wilder.
Nominee: Tommy Fleetwood
I suspect this twinkle-eyed Lancastrian would have won Ian’s admiration. His odd couple partnership-friendship at the Ryder Cup with Francesco Molinari was the pivot around which Europe dismantled the Americans.
It was not just the precision of Fleetwood’s play, but the joy with which this grounded and likeable individual embraced the pressure on his debut.
Him being carried aloft by fans, his straggly hair bouncing around, will become one of the Ryder Cup’s most enduring images.
Nominee: Georgia Hall
Woolers was in his element when covering the Open, and how he would have enjoyed the story of the golf-mad plasterer’s girl who won the women’s equivalent at Royal Lytham.
Born during Sir Nick Faldo’s third Masters triumph at Augusta in 1996, and duly named in honour of his achievement, she achieved something to place alongside his feats with a stunning success, calmly holding off the world’s best in front of an adoring crowd.
Woolers would have enjoyed the story of the golf-mad plasterer’s girl Georgia Hall
Nominee: Billy Monger
Geraint Thomas might have won the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award after his Tour de France glory, but in Birmingham that night one young motor racing driver stood alone for his extraordinary courage.
Billy Monger was only 17 when he was involved in an horrific crash in an F4 British Championship race at Donington in 2017. He needed to have both legs amputated.
But Billy hasn’t just learned to walk again with the aid of prosthetic legs. He is back behind the wheel of a racing car modified to his requirements after gaining the approval of the FIA and finished third in a British Formula 3 race at Oulton Park on his return.
One imagines Ian would consider him more than worthy of the award named in his honour.
Nominee: Alastair Cook
Woolers would surely have appreciated the unlikely ‘rebel’ in Alastair Cook, the one blithely out of step with the Instagram-style whirl of modern sport. Defying every known fad, he was a devotee of deer-stalking rather than tattoo parlours.
It was for his decency and his shunning of personal glory as much as his record 12,472 Test runs that The Oval crowd stood in long and sincere tribute when he signed off England duty with a century.
The people recognised that he had delivered every last ounce of his talent through patience, dedication and concentration.
Nominee: Dina Asher-Smith
Immense quality and not a trace of ego. One story that goes some way to summing up the latter centres on trips to her local coffee shop.
She went in there for six months and was simply known by her name, her order and her tendency to get into chats with the staff. It was only when she went to Berlin in August and won three European sprint titles that the shop’s manager had any idea of her other life because Asher-Smith had never brought it up.
Now she is the arguably the leading British female in any sport and you sense she is only getting started.
European champion Dina Asher-Smith is arguably the leading British female in any sport
Email your vote to [email protected]