Women’s sport had another banner year in 2016 and that is reflected in how you voted for the in them Australian Sport Performance Awards.
Of the six women nominated for ABC Sports Personality of the Year four finished in the top five — including winner Chloe Esposito — while two of the top three teams were women’s teams.
Chloe Esposito (19.6%)
Be honest; did you know who Chloe Esposito was before August?
There is a good chance you did not even know what the modern pentathlon was (just in case you forgot, it consists of swimming, fencing, show jumping, running and shooting — because why not?).
Well, chef de mission Kitty Chiller cared enough to take a vested interest in Esposito and it paid off with gold in the niche event at the Rio Games.
What made Esposito’s win more remarkable was that it came immediately after the crushing disappointment of the BMX races that were supposed to deliver numerous medals and brought exactly none.
But Esposito’s come-from-behind effort in the run and gun and her beaming smile on the podium made up for it. Almost definitely the sporting moment of 2016.
Daniel Ricciardo (13.4%)
The 2016 Formula One season was all sorts of entertaining, thanks largely to the sheer bitchiness of F1 drivers, but Daniel Ricciardo’s year was great regardless of that nonsense.
He won in Malaysia and found himself on the lower steps of the podium on seven occasions.
The grinning speed demon also found his voice in 2016, making sure he let people know when he was ticked off but not behaving like a petulant kid a la Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton
With new rules coming into the sport next year, Ricciardo is raring to go after what he called his “best season yet”.
Charlotte Caslick (10.5%)
Everyone loved watching Australia’s women’s rugby sevens squad go around in 2016, but Charlotte Caslick shone particularly brightly.
Her skill and athleticism made her the star of the Aussies’ victorious world series campaign and the first Olympic gold medal win in the sport’s history.
Kim Brennan (8.8%)
Kim Brennan went to this year’s Rio Olympic Games as one of our brightest medal hopes and was one of just a few who actually lived up to the hype.
Her boat almost sank in the early heats, but she shook off the setback and powered to victory in the single sculls, leading the final from go to woe.
Anna Meares (7.8%)
2016 was far from Anna Meares’ best year, but she still managed to win bronze in the keirin, giving her Olympic velodrome bingo after collecting jewellery in the individual sprint, team sprint and time trial at previous Olympics.
It surprised no-one when she retired from the sport in October with six Olympic medals, 11 world titles and eight Commonwealth Games medals to her name.
The rest of the list in order: Paralympic tennis gold medallist Dylan Alcott (5.8%), netball sharp-shooter Caitlin Bassett (5.6%), 100m freestyle gold medallist Kyle Chalmers (4.2%), Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield (3.8%), 400m freestyle gold medallist Mack Horton (3.7%), basketball star Patty Mills (3.5%), surfing world champion Tyler Wright (3.3%), Australian rugby league skipper Cameron Smith (3%), top-ranked golfer Jason Day (2.9%), Paralympic canoe gold medallist Curtis McGrath (2.5%), and walking silver medallist Jared Tallent (1.6%).
Your favourite teams
Two teams utterly dominated the voting for your favourite team of the year, with 20 per cent of the nominees scooping up over half the votes.
Western Bulldogs (29.2%)
Everyone loves the Western Bulldogs. Not only did they win the premiership, not only did they break a 62-year drought, not only did they do it from seventh, not only did they do it with entertaining footy, but they did it with a bloody likable bunch of blokes.
Fan favourite skipper Bob Murphy was sidelined but at the game, prompting emotional scenes when coach Luke Beveridge gave the hobbled captain his Jock McHale Medal.
It was a great win for a great group.
Women’s rugby sevens (26.6%)
The only team that came close to challenging the AFL premiers for popularity in 2016, Australia’s Pearls dominated the world twice over in 2016 — first winning the world title and then taking out Olympic gold in Rio.
Stars like Caslick and Ellia Green were prominently featured in the media before and after the Games as women’s rugby enjoyed a giant moment in the sun.
Coming off their inspirational run at the 2015 World Cup, the Matildas continued to impress this year.
They bossed their way through their qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup and the Olympics gave them another chance to shine, which they grabbed wholeheartedly.
Continuing their entertaining style of play, Australia’s most successful national football team made it through to the quarter-finals against hosts Brazil, where only a penalty shootout stopped their charge.
The rest of the list in order: NRL premiers Cronulla Sharks (7.3%), Trans-Tasman netball champions Queensland Firebirds (6.8%), Orica-BikeExchange (6.3%), wheelchair rugby gold-medal-winning Australian Steelers (5.5%), women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team (4.3%), Australian men’s basketball’s Boomers (2.9%), A-League champions Adelaide United (2.2%).
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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