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.