Sports Personality McCoy celebrates ... with three sprouts

Claire Murphy

HE has just scooped the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, but Irish jockey Tony McCoy won't be celebrating with a lavish Christmas feast.

The champion jockey will instead enjoy a meagre Christmas dinner of three Brussels sprouts, thin slices of turkey -- and a splash of gravy.

While his family is tucking into a massive feast this weekend, the Irish jockey will have just 596 calories as part of his strict diet.

The average person consumes a whopping 6,000 calories on the day.

And it is this strict diet which helped the top jockey take the coveted title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year last night. The 15-times champion is the first jockey to win the award in its 57-year history.

Holding the famous trophy, he said; "This is an unbelievable feeling to be standing in front of so many amazing sports people."

But the jockey is now focusing on keeping his weight down to 10st 10lb so he can race at Kempton Park on St Stephen's Day. He can get down to 10st 3lb for big races.


So the sports star said that extra helpings of ham, roast potatoes and pudding were all off the menu.

But he said that the cutbacks were worth the sacrifice so that he could do what he enjoyed most.

"I never mind having a frugal Christmas dinner as I'm always looking forward to some great rides on Boxing Day," he said.

Tony, his wife Chanelle Burke, from Loughrea, and their daughter Eve (2) will eat dinner after midday Mass, before he takes another bath and heads to bed. He said that former jockeys join Tony and his family at their home in Lambourn, Berkshire for Christmas dinner.

"What I do enjoy is seeing Mick Fitzgerald and Carl Llewellyn loosening their belts before they struggle home," he said.

"I just can't imagine bursting out of my clothes like those two do."

Tony's Christmas festivities start off with two slices of toast with margarine and jam accompanied by a cup of tea with skimmed milk.

The Grand National winner, who is 5ft 10in, will then take a hot bath for up to an hour. This technique is used to sweat out up to 4lb.


"When I get back I'll have a hot bath -- I can easily lose 3lb-4lb when I watch TV in there," he said. "When I get to the races I'll then go in the sauna for half an hour just to get rid of another pound or two but really to get rid of the temptation of eating."

Throughout the year, the champion sports star keeps to a regime of very little food.

An average day's breakfast would include a cup of tea with two sugars, one slice of toast and a glass of orange squash.

For lunch he would have a cup of tea with two spoons of sugar, a slice of chicken and two jelly babies.

Dinner, eaten as early as possible and just four nights a week usually includes fish or chicken. The evening meal is accompanied by steamed vegetables.

The jockey said that he goes to bed hungry three nights a week.

He added: "If you've starved yourself to lose a few pounds, when you do finally eat your body tries to hold on to the food longer and it takes longer to digest."

See Sport