European champion voted third in 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Jo Pavey made the BBC Sports Personality of the Year podium on Sunday, the European champion voted third behind golfer Rory McIlroy and winner Lewis Hamilton, who won his second Formula 1 world title in November.

Pavey’s third place in SPOTY follows her hat-trick of wins in the AW Readers’ Choice Awards as she received the most votes in the British female, British masters and moment of the year categories. She also won the British Athletics Writers’ Association’s Cliff Temple Award for female athlete of the year.

The 41-year-old inspired many with her performances on the track this summer as she battled to a brilliant bronze over 5000m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before gaining a gutsy gold over double the distance at the European Championships in Zurich. That victory in Switzerland saw her become the oldest ever female European champion at the age of 40.

This was all after having only returned to the track in May following the birth of her second child, Emily, in September 2013.

“My team-mates call me granny,” she said on stage. On her European gold she added: “Maybe I’m a slow learner, but it was worth waiting for, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot more.”

Kelly Holmes was the last winner of SPOTY from the sport of athletics, the double Olympic gold medallist having claimed the award in 2004. Seb Coe, Daley Thompson, Fatima Whitbread and Paula Radcliffe are other athletics stars to have claimed the top honour in the past.

Also among the award winners were this year’s Invictus Games competitors who were presented with the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity by Prince Harry.