Monday, August 15, 2016

Early suggestions for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

I know many disregard BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Since the BBC lost the coverage of significant sporting events, their end of year of review hasn't been as good as it use to be. A lot of people tend to focus on the word "personality" and seem to exclude who don't think are exciting enough to be a "personality". Remember the term "personality" has many different meanings (I remember the podcast "No Such Thing As A Fish" defined personality as a special person and used the term "TV personality" as a comparison).

However SPOTY (the acronym for Sports Personality of the Year) gives rise to the intrigue of trying to compare different sporting achievements. With Rio 2016 halfway through, most of the focus will be on athletes who have excelled at the Olympic Games. Here are just a few suggestions for names that will be in the hat in December:

1. Adam Peaty
There was a lot of pressure for Peaty coming into these Games. He was the world record holder and world champion for his marquee event - the 100 m breaststroke. He showed he can handle the pressure by breaking his world record in becoming Olympic champion and giving Team GB their first gold medal of Rio 2016. He is also contributed in the 4 x 100 medley relay, helping the British team gaining silver.

2. Jason Kenny
Kenny moved into a tie with Wiggins and Redgrave as male Olympians with five gold medals, after winning in the individual and team sprints. He was already world champion, having won the individual sprint earlier in the year in London. If Redgrave and Wiggins can get knighthoods for wining five gold medals, surely there will be a Sir Jason Kenny coming soon?

3. Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins returned to track cycling after finding success on the road in the Tour de France and the Olympics. He won the madison with Mark Cavendish in this year's world championship and he gained his fifth Olympic gold with the win in the team pursuit. With that medal he becomes the most decorated sportsperson in British Olympic history. And for the people who are fickle that the winner of SPOTY has to have personality, Wiggo has plenty in abundance.

4. Laura Trott
The other half of British cycling's celebrity couple, she is no slouch herself. Going into Rio, she had already world champion at the scratch and omnium. Trott added the team pursuit to those accolades and became the only British female Olympian with three gold medals.

5. Mo Farah
I have no idea why Farah has not won a Sports Personality of the Year award. In the non-Olympic years of 2011 and 2013, he won both the 5000 m and 10000 m world championship. He already has won the 10000 m in Rio, despite falling down and he could retain the 5000 m later in the week. Surely his time is due.

6. Max Whitlock
If Louis Smith had been Team GB's gymnastic star in 2012, Max Whitlock has been the sensation in 2016. He helped Team GB win the team bronze and then going on to win two individual gold medals (Britain's first in gymnastics) in the floor and pommel horse.

7. Katherine Grainger
By winning a medal (silver) in the double sculls, Grainger became Britain's most decorated female Olympian with five medals (one gold, four silvers) and doing this at the age of 40 years.

8. Justin Rose
There were several golfers who shied away from the Olympics. Rose fully embraced being an Olympian. He attended the opening ceremony, despite it being six days before the start of the golf tournament. He carded the first hole-in-one on the first round and it got better from there. On a thrilling last day, he edged out Henrik Stenson to win the first Olympic golf gold in 112 years. He could further improve his odds of winning SPOTY by helping Team Europe retain the Ryder Cup in September. A honourable mention should include Danny Willett for winning the Masters in April.

9. Andy Murray
I have to declare my bias as I'm an Andy Murray fan. He won last year after helping Great Britain win the Davis Cup, where he really should have been someone else and the team win just Team of the Year. However it is difficulty to ignore his achievements this year. He has reached the finals of the Australian and French Open, becoming only the tenth player to reach all Grand Slam finals. He won WImbledon again in July and now he has become the first tennis to retain the single's title and win twice in the Olympic tennis tournament. He still has the US Open, the Davis Cup and the World No. 1 spot left in his calendar. Could this be the first time SPOTY has been won in successive years?

We still have half the Olympics plus the whole of the Paralympics to look forward to. Let's hope Great Britain's sporting achievements continue.

(N.B. Team of the Year should be Leicester City, defying the odds of 5000-1 to win the Premier League title.

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