The BBC’s Sports Personality of the year awards have always been one of the most prestigious sporting awards to win. Although last year with no female nominees they were shrouded in controversy.
This year the 59th time the award has been given is likely to be very different and probably one of the biggest and most watched in decades.
This year’s shortlist of finalists has been expanded, not surprisingly following Great Britain’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There will be twelve athletes in the final mix and the judging panel has also been expanded to twelve of which half are female.
Our tip would be for a win to either Heptathlon gold medal winner Jessica Ennis or or double gold winning Olympian Mo Farah, but believe it or not they are currently behind sultry Scot Andy Murray in the betting according to bookmaker William Hill.
Paralympian Ellie Simmonds whose personality shone through at the games in a year in which she also had her final school exams is an outsider along with Britain’s first boxing gold medal winner Nicola Adams, who recently broke down an extremely strong wall of resistance in the male dominated sport by picking up an award at the Boxing Writers Club, the first time ever for a woman.
The favourite is cyclist Bradley Wiggins who with his victory in the Tour de France this year became the first Briton to ever win the most gruelling of cycling events. At the Olympics he won gold in the time trial, making him the most decorated British Olympian in the process, with seven medals in total, surpassing the six won by rower Steve Redgrave. This record is now shared with fellow cyclist Sir Chris Hoy who also obtained his 7th Olympic medal in the Olympics.
Yet many say that he may miss out as a result of the doping scandal surrounding cycling and the fall out from Lance Armstrong’s recent ban, one which has seen Wiggins benefit from him being stripped of his tour titles and being installed as third place finisher in 2009. It is believed that the whole doping issue in cycling may well convince the judges to move away from Wiggins for fear that down the track should he be dragged into a similar scandal it could tarnish the awards.
Sadly Cycling’s failure to stay abreast of the developments in doping and take a strong line is having a far reaching impact on the sport and those who are doing the right thing.
All will be revealed in December and in the meantime many will speculate as to who will take out the coveted award. Who knows Rory McIlroy with his record breaking US PGA Championship win may be a bolter. As for the team of the year, Wales won the Grand Slam, Manchester City winning the Premiership in dramatic style, Team GB at the Olympics or possibly the Ryder cup team, not an easy one to judge at all.
Tell us who you would pick.