Sports Personality: AP McCoy receives BBC lifetime award

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
AP McCoy's lifetime achievement award
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015
Venue: SSE Arena, Belfast. Date: Sunday, 20 December. Time: 18:50-21:00 GMT.
Coverage: Live on BBC One, Red Button, Radio 5 live and online

Twenty-time champion jump jockey AP McCoy received a lifetime achievement award at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show on Sunday.

The 41-year-old Northern Irishman, who retired in April after a record-breaking career, was honoured at a star-studded ceremony in Belfast.

He joins a list of winners that includes Pele and Seve Ballesteros.

"It's a huge honour and I'm thrilled to be accepting it so close to home in Belfast," McCoy told BBC Sport.

The former jockey, from Moneyglass in County Antrim, joked: "Like the main award, it's very prestigious, only with the lifetime award, you aren't going to win any more after that. That is the only disappointing thing about it."

AP McCoy

McCoy, who rode more than 4,300 winners, revealed he had put on nearly two stone in weight after retiring but had come to terms with a decision he took reluctantly.

"I got pretty heavy but I've lost a bit of weight in the last six weeks or so. I'm about just over a stone above my riding weight now," said McCoy, who is 5ft 10in tall, but wasted down to as low as 10 stone during his career.

"I'm quite a stubborn, forward-thinking person so I don't really ever look back.

"It happens to everyone, it's time to move on. Sure, I'd like to be riding and some days I go to the races and I'd like to be having a go, but my time has been. I'm fine. I'm over it."

AP McCoy in numbers

A career like no other

McCoy was the first jockey to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year, after winning the Grand National at the 15th attempt on Don't Push It in 2010.

He was champion jockey every year of a professional career that saw him overcome a succession of injuries, including puncturing his lungs twice.

"A previous Sports Personality of the Year winner and widely regarded as one of the greatest jockeys of all time, AP was the biggest superstar of racing until his retirement this year," said Barbara Slater, BBC director of sport.

"It's an honour to celebrate his illustrious career in Belfast, Northern Ireland, his home nation, with the lifetime achievement award."

As well as his Grand National success, McCoy won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, three Champion Hurdles and the Champion Chase.

AP McCoy: A tribute to the jump racing legend

"It's great to receive the lifetime achievement award. There's some fantastic names on the trophy, like Sir Alex Ferguson and George Best," he said.

The Sports Personality awards, hosted by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan in front of a crowd of 7,500 at the SSE Arena, was held in Northern Ireland for the first time.

"It will be nice to receive the award there," said McCoy, who finished third in the main category in both 2002 and 2013. "Sport has done a lot for Northern Ireland.

"I'll be very proud. I'm going to have four Sports Personality of the Year trophies in my house so that's kind of a nice thing to have.

"The main award is voted for by the public and it's nice to have that respect for what you've achieved.

"I felt very lucky that the racing public got behind me, and it was pretty much down to them that I was able to win it. It's a great occasion and a great trophy and the best sportspeople have won it."

Recent lifetime award winners
2014: Sir Chris Hoy (cycling)2013: Sir Alex Ferguson (football)
2012: Lord Coe (athletics)2011: Sir Steve Redgrave (rowing)
2010: David Beckham (football)2009: Seve Ballesteros (golf)
2008: Sir Bobby Charlton (football)2007: Sir Bobby Robson (football)
2006: Bjorn Borg (tennis)2005: Pele (football)

Life after retirement for McCoy

Time away from racing has given McCoy, a father of two and occasional TV pundit, more time with his family, to follow his beloved Arsenal and play golf.

"I run and still ride out, and I'm still involved with [racehorse owner] JP McManus and school his horses some mornings. My golf handicap is probably down to 12 now," he said.

However, suggestions McCoy might take up competitive amateur cycling appear to be wide of the mark.

"I've been cycling a few times, but I had a friend who was cycling and was knocked off his bike by a lorry. I like the idea of cycling, but it's the dangers of it that I'm not too sure about," he added.

AP McCoy weeks at number one

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