Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill received the lifetime achievement award at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night.
Sheffield’s Olympic heptathlon champion was recognised at the ceremony in Liverpool, following in the footsteps of previous winners Pele and Sir Steve Redgrave.
“I am completely overwhelmed,” said Ennis-Hill. “To be in this room full of so many legends is unbelievable.
“When I first stepped on to the track it was by chance - my mum joked about it being cheap childcare.
“From that moment on I fell in love with the sport and would never have imagined the career I have had.
“I just couldn’t be happier and I am so proud.”
Ennis-Hill won Olympic gold at London 2012 and followed up with a silver at Rio 2016.
She was a three time world champion before retiring in 2016.
Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah upset the odds to be named 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the Echo Arena.
The 34-year-old was the third favourite coming into evening - with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua the bookies’ tip - but finally won the award after a previous best finish of third in 2011.
On a night of surprises, Northern Ireland’s World Superbikes champion Jonathan Rea finished second and para-athlete Jonnie Peacock was third.
Manchester City’s Phil Foden was named Young Sports Personality of the Year after helping England U17 to World Cup glory.
Bradley Lowery’s parents thanked the British public for “helping them get out of bed” as they deal with their son’s death as they collected the Helen Rollason Award from England boss Gareth Southgate and striker Harry Kane.
The Sunderland fan died in July after a brave fight with neuroblastoma - a rare type of cancer - that captured hearts around the sporting world.