Wiggins is favourite for Sports Personality of the Year

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins on the way to winning Olympic gold in the men's individual time trial. Photo credit: EMPICS Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins on the way to winning Olympic gold in the men's individual time trial. Photo credit: EMPICS

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
9:04 AM

Bradley Wiggins is the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award after his historic triumph in the Tour de France and gold in the Olympics time trial.

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The cyclist from Kilburn has been named in a 12-strong shortlist - extended from the usual ten - which this year is dominated by stars of the London 2012 Olympics.

Golfer Rory McIlroy is the only one of the dozen names not to have won medals this summer.

Fellow Londoner Mo Farah, a double gold medallist in the 5,000 metres and 10,000m during the Games is also among the hopefuls, as is Andy Murray, who became the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open and also won an Olympic gold for good measure.

He is ranked third favourite with the bookies just ahead of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.

David Weir, the wheelchair athlete who won four golds in London, is ranked by the bookies as the leading Paralympian.

After last year’s all-male list, five women have been named in the line-up but the strength of the competition meant even the only two British women who won double gold medals at the Olympics - cyclist Laura Trott and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin - did not make the shortlist.

Barbara Slater, the director of BBC Sport who chaired the shortlisting panel, admitted that leaving out such names had been painful.

Slater said in a BBC blog: “We had already extended the shortlist for the main award this year from 10 to 12, but at times we all wished it was nearer 15 or 20.

“It was very difficult to leave off Olympians and Paralympians of the calibre of Charlotte Dujardin, Alistair Brownlee, Jade Jones, Sophie Christiansen, Laura Trott, Jonnie Peacock, Jason Kenny and Victoria Pendleton, to name just a few.

“The panel also reflected long and hard on the heroics of stars from other sports such as (Ryder Cup golfer) Ian Poulter during the ‘Miracle of Medinah’, the continued brilliance of (boxer) Carl Froch and the ‘magnificent seven’ from champion jockey Richard Hughes.

“In any other year these sports people would probably be front-runners to win the overall award.

“If we ever needed reminding just how special a sporting year it has been, then the list of those sports people who did not make the final 12 is testament to that.”

The expert panel included national newspaper sports editors and three former award nominees, Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Denise Lewis.

The panel also selected the winners of the coach of the year, team of the year and overseas personality. The main award will be chosen by public vote and announced at the Sports Personality of the Year show from London’s ExCeL centre on December 16.

You can’t vote on the official BBC award until the night but you can on London24 in our poll to get an idea of who might win.

Shortlist (in alphabetical order): Nicola Adams (Olympic boxing), Ben Ainslie (Olympic sailing), Jessica Ennis (Olympic heptathlon), Mo Farah (Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m), Katherine Grainger (Olympic rowing), Sir Chris Hoy (Olympic cycling), Rory McIlroy (world number one golfer and USPGA champion), (Andy Murray, Olympic tennis and US Open champion), Ellie Simmonds (Paralympic swimming), Sarah Storey (Paralympic cycling), David Weir (Paralympic wheelchair athlete), Bradley Wiggins (Olympic cycling and Tour de France winner).