Michael Phelps to receive Lifetime Achievement award at Sports Personality of the Year ceremony

The most decorated Olympian of all time will cap off a stellar 2016 with the prestigious prize

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2016 may have been hailed a terrible year by many, but for one person it’s turned out to be pretty golden. Michael Phelps travelled to Rio last summer for his fifth – and final – Olympic Games, increasing his tally of medals to 28 (including 23 golds). But now he can add one more accolade to what is no doubt already a heaving mantlepiece…

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The American swimmer is to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at tonight’s Sports Personality of the Year ceremony to mark a 16-year career that has seen him become the most decorated Olympian of all time. 

“I’m thrilled to receive the prestigious Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement award and follow in the footsteps of so many sporting greats,” said Phelps. “It is a fitting way to end what has been an unbelievable year for me and I’m looking forward to what will be a great night.”

Phelps – who retired from the sport after the summer games – will be presented the award at the Genting Arena in Birmingham this evening in front of an audience of 12,000, plus millions of viewers at home. 

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BBC’s director of sport, Barbara Slater, added: “For Michael Phelps to have stayed at the top of his sport for so many years, breaking so many records and earning so many medals is a massive achievement and something to be very proud of. The Lifetime Achievement is the BBC’s way to mark what has been a glorious professional career.”