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Sporting stars attend BT British Olympic Ball

Tom Daley attended the British Olympic Ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel. Picture: /PA Wire Tom Daley attended the British Olympic Ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel. Picture: /PA Wire

Saturday, December 1, 2012
10:33 AM

Britain’s London 2012 heroes walked the gold carpet last night at the BT British Olympic Ball.

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Denise Lewis was among the guests. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA WireDenise Lewis was among the guests. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The athletes gathered at the fundraising event at Grosvenor Park hotel in central London, where they reacted to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award nominations.

Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee admitted he was sad not to make the shortlist.

The selector’s panel for the BBC award said it was a tough decision to leave the inspirational triathlete off the 12-strong shortlist.

But the 24-year-old from Leeds tipped cycling sensation Bradley Wiggins or double gold medallist Mo Farah to win the award.

Alistair Brownlee said he was "a bit sad" not to have made the BBC shortlist. Picture: /PA WireAlistair Brownlee said he was "a bit sad" not to have made the BBC shortlist. Picture: /PA Wire

Brownlee said: “I think the list is kind of fair on the whole, I think everyone knew it was going to be a very, very hard year for British sport and what a fantastic year it has been so it’s hard to pick the list. It is what it is.

“Of course I’m a little bit sad not to be on it but someone picks that and it’s up to them whether they leave you on or off or not, there’s nothing I could have done about it so I’m not bothered.”

Meanwhile, diver Tom Daley said he would love the winner to be one of the three Paralympians nominated.

The 18-year-old said: “It’s very tough this year, there’s so many worthy people to go on to the Sports Personality list.

Former footballer Fabrice Muamba. Picture: PA WireFormer footballer Fabrice Muamba. Picture: PA Wire

“For me, I’d love it to be, I know this kind of a bit traitor-ish, but I’d love it to be a Paralympian. Sticking with my roots I’d love Ellie Simmonds to go up there, Ellie Simmonds or David Weir, I think they are really deserving winners.”

Victoria Pendleton, another 2012 gold medal winner, said she was not surprised to be left off the list, despite being commended by the selector’s panel.

The cyclist, who was voted off BBC dance competition Strictly Come Dancing last week, said: “I’ve never made the shortlist in my career so I didn’t expect to this time round and with so many winners at the Olympics it’s so hard to choose, I don’t know how they’ve done it. It would have been a close to impossible task, so yeah, it’s cool.”

But the 32-year-old tipped fellow cyclist and double-gold medal winner Laura Trott, another surprising omission from the shortlist, to get another chance to win the award.

Pendleton, who has now quit competitive cycling, said: “I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Laura will have another chance at that because there’s no way she’s going to win any less than two (golds) next time round, maybe more.”

The ball was attended by Team GB Olympians from all 26 summer sports and over 70 London 2012 Olympic medallists including Rebecca Adlington, Anthony Joshua and “Super Saturday” star Greg Rutherford.

The athletes “inspired a nation” with “indelible memories”, according to Lord Coe, who made a speech at the sold-out gathering.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman said: “I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to the athletes of Team GB for the part each of you played in making London 2012 such a remarkable success.

“You inspired the nation. You inspired a generation - indelible memories that will leave a glow for years to come.”

Speaking before the event, Lord Coe said the BOA fundraising event was the start of the long road to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

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