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Wednesday, September 12, 2012
As Britain’s vintage year of sport continued this week, Eastern Daily Press writers gave their views on who they think should win Sports Personality of the Year.
Britain’s golden year of sport continued as Andy Murray won the US Open. And while the nation celebrated his epic victory, speculation started to mount about who will win this year’s coveted Sports Personality of the Year.
In a normal year, the 25-year-old Scot would be a shoo-in for the BBC gong after ending Britain’s 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion. He also reached the Wimbledon final and won Olympic gold this summer.
Similarly, Bradley Wiggins would have been a firm favourite after becoming the first ever Brit to win the Tour de France and winning gold just a matter of weeks later at the Olympic Games.
But achievements by their fellow Olympians and those who competed at the Paralympic Games have complicated things.
Team GB brought home 65 medals from the Olympic Games - 29 of which were gold - and 120 medals from the Paralympic Games, including 34 golds.
Each medallist is a worthy winner of SPOTY in their own right.
Mo Farah accomplished the greatest Olympic double by a British athlete at the same Games by winning both the 5,000m and 10,000m, golden girl Jessica Ennis was in a class of her own when she won the heptathlon and Sir Chris Hoy became the greatest British Olympian ever when he surpassed Sir Steve Redgrave’s tally.
But what about Ellie Simmonds, David Weir, Sarah Storey, Greg Rutherford, Jonnie Peacock, Jade Jones, Nicola Adams or Laura Trott?
And what about away from the Olympic and Paralympic Games? Who could forget Rory McIlroy’s triumph in the 2012 PGA Championship?
Here are the sportsmen and women who will be getting our vote on December 16:
In any other year, Bradley Wiggins’ stunning cycling achievements would have made him an almost automatic choice as winner of the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
But the success of Team GB’s athletes at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games, and Andy Murray winning a first Grand Slam title since 1936 - a few weeks after winning tennis gold and finishing as a runner-up at Wimbledon - has meant it’s certainly just got harder to pick this year’s SPOTY.
While the likes of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Ellie Simmonds, David Weir, Sir Chris Hoy and Rory McIlroy are all in with a shot of the lifting the top gong, for me Wiggins’ Tour de France triumph is still at the front of the breakaway group.
To create history and become the first British cyclist ever to win the Tour de France, and then follow it up with a gold medal in the time trial at the Olympics, makes Wiggins my top choice.
Normally the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award is fairly certain. You can usually look through the achievements of the year and an obvious candidate stands out. But how do you pick between this year’s champions when you admire them all so much? Jess Ennis, Andy Murray, Mo Farah and David Weir are among the stand outs. All would win pretty much any other year, but for me Bradley Wiggins just, and I mean just, edges Andy Murray. To win the Tour de France, surely one of the world’s toughest sporting challenges, and then follow it up just weeks later with a gold medal is an amazing achievement. Although, if Andy Murray wins the end of season masters and finishes world number one for the year, I might have to reassess.
It is no easy task choosing who to vote for as this year’s Sports Personality of the Year. Following what has been a monumental summer of British sport, the term “crowded field” has never seemed more appropriate..
Mo Farah’s historic Olympic double over 5,000m and 10,000m - not to mention his infectious smile and Mobot celebration - makes the long-distance runner a most worthy and popular candidate.
And Andy Murray not only ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a male individual Grand Slam champion and took gold and silver at the Olympic Games but also won over the nation by shedding a tear following his Wimbledon final defeat.
But for me, the coveted title should go to Bradley Wiggins. To become the first Brit to win arguably the toughest race on this planet, the Tour de France, is one thing but then to follow it up weeks later with Olympic gold, is a truly outstanding achievement. Furthermore, he did it all with class, style and heaps of personality.
The title of Sports Personality of the Year should go to someone who has combined personality with achievement. For that reason, Bradley Wiggins stands out. Becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France was the single greatest ever sporting triumph by someone from these shores. And – unlike the magnificent but monotonous Andy Murray – it was done with style and sideburns. As if that were not enough, Wiggins defied saddle-soreness and aching legs to win Olympic gold in the time trial – becoming one of the most decorated British Olympians in the process. He is a super human and superhuman.
A few weeks ago it seemed obvious who would be Sports Personality of the Year. I didn’t think Bradley Wiggins could not be beaten after winning the Tour de France and gold in the Olympic time trial.
But David Weir’s heroics over the last two weeks after winning four gold medals in the Paralympics gets my vote. To win the wheelchair marathon after winning three gruelling events on the track is superhuman and is an inspiration. Weir, Wiggins and Andy Murray would be my top three choices when we celebrate a stunning year of sport in December.
I’d still put Bradley Wiggins slightly ahead of the pack, with Mo Farah in second and Andy Murray in third. All amazing achievements but for the scale of effort put in to win both the Tour de France and the Olympic gold I’d say Wiggins. Also for his manner and attitude away from the sport - a great example for others. Amazing to think that someone like Jessica Ennis might not even figure in the Sports Personality of the Year top 3 this year.
Mo Farah’s achievements in London were historic – a true high point of the Olympics. The greatest GB long distance runner getting it right for the two days that mattered was a colossal achievement.
But two men stand taller for me. Andy Murray’s heart and drive in winning the US Open was something to behold; the way he won his final with Novak Djokovic so enduring. Many doubted, but propelled by his own London 2012 gold Murray single-handedly ended his and this country’s tennis pain.
And tallest of all is Bradley Wiggins. Gold in London, yes. But before all that he took on the cycling world in the one road stage race everyone adores and re-wrote every perception of Britain in the sport. Wiggins has broken barriers, climbed mountains, and taken a nation’s view of the sport with him. Now that’s legacy.
The hardest question of the summer, but for me it has to be Bradley Wiggins. For starters, I like his attitude, his manner, his character: he has an edge, rather than an eye for the quick buck. Then there’s his achievements: riding 3,497 kilometres of the Tour de France on a razor blade of a seat, up and down killer mountain stages, in danger of not only of the risk of a lung exploding, but with a rock hard road just inches away from bare skin. The energy required, physical and mental, is immense. To follow up less than a fortnight by winning Olympic gold in the time trial was remarkable. And he’s still at it, in the Tour of Britain. True Brit.
Who do you think should win Sports Personality of the Year? Vote for your sporting hero online at www.edp24.co.uk.