Following a historic Rio Games for the ParalympicsGB team, it today congratulated the three Paralympic athletes shortlisted for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award; Sophie Christiansen OBE, Kadeena Cox and Dame Sarah Storey.

The three athletes are emblematic of ParalympicsGB’s stunning success at Rio 2016, where the team defied expectations to smash their medal target and win 147 medals including 64 gold, 12% of all gold medals on offer in Rio. It was the British team’s most successful Games since Tel Aviv in 1968 and comfortably secured a second place spot on the medal table, with medals returned in 15 of the 19 sports in which ParalympicsGB competed.

Sophie Christiansen OBE successfully defended her three titles from London 2012, bringing her career total to eight Paralympic gold medals. Competing in her fourth Paralympic Games, the 29-year-old has cemented her position at the top of her sport and was one of two British Paralympians to win three Equestrian gold medals in Rio, alongside Natasha Baker MBE.

Kadeena Cox made her Games debut in style, becoming the first British athlete to win gold medals in two sports at the same Games since 1984. Her first Paralympic gold medal came in the velodrome, where she claimed victory in the women’s C4-5 500m time trial, before swapping to the track to strike gold in the T38 400m final, securing both medals with a world record time. She also won bronze in the T38 100m final and helped the GB women to win silver in the T35-38 4x100m.

One of the most experienced athletes on the team, Dame Sarah Storey marked her seventh Games appearance by becoming GB’s most decorated female Paralympian of all time. Her three Paralympic gold medals, across events in the velodrome and on the road, firmly secured her place in the record books. Since she first made her Paralympic debut at Barcelona 1992, Storey has increased her total haul to 14 gold medals won in both swimming and cycling.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said:

“2016 has been a truly exceptional year for British sport. As always, the shortlist will no doubt create a healthy level of debate and so many more of our athletes could have been nominated given their performances in Rio.  But while we might like to have seen more, the three Paralympians nominated today are representative of a team which delivered outstanding results in Rio. We are proud to raise a toast to their individual success, and that of the team as a whole, on the night of one of the biggest celebrations in sport.”

Penny Briscoe MBE, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, said: 

“I am so proud to see ParalympicsGB represented in this year’s shortlist by three of our most decorated athletes and I would like to congratulate each of the nominees. If you look through the list of achievements from our historic team in Rio, you will see that we are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to potential nominees. It is fantastic to see the recognition of these athletes on the shortlist alongside such incredible sporting talent, and I urge the British public show their support on the night and vote for their Paralympians.”

Today’s news follows the recent unveiling of the shortlist of 10 nominees for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, which features three ParalympicsGB debutants who all struck gold in Rio: Ellie Robinson (swimming), Lauren Rowles (rowing) and Jessica Stretton (archery). The top three will be announced during Blue Peter on December 8.

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 will be decided by public vote during the live show on the evening of December 18. Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan will present the programme from 18:40 GMT on BBC One, with further coverage on BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website.