Former rugby union giant Jonny Wilkinson, part of England’s World Cup-winning squad in 2003 and BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner.
I’ve been asked many times who my most respected opponents and teammates were. My answer is always based on two simple criteria, maybe with a third thrown in.
The first one is how they go about their business. I have always admired the ruthlessly professional ones who consistently drive their standards and force everyone else to follow suit. There is another step up from this reserved for a very select group who somehow manage to create an aura of invincibility through their consistency of excellence.
The second criterion is a natural gift. These guys are seemingly blessed, born to do what they do. They intuitively know what to do and when, and they make everything look exciting, heroic and enjoyable. They are the entertainers who inspire people to watch and to smile.
The final important quality is the person themselves. The leaders are those who exude confidence and belief but in a way which assumes nothing. They radiate respect for others. They naturally stand tall and strong.
For competitors, there is no way to dislike them even if they are desperate to find extra motivation. It’s impossible. With this rare breed you simply have to accept they are just that good, that gifted and that nice. They have deserved every single success they have ever achieved.
I am pretty sure I have just perfectly described AP McCoy. Congratulations for everything and thank you for giving us the perfect example of how to play professional sport.