One of the biggest television nights in the sporting year is the BBC’s Sports Review of the Year and the presentation of the Sports Personality of the Year Award. Bradley Wiggins is a short priced favourite but there might be some value in betting in the Without Wiggins market.
Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France in July. He followed that historic achievement by winning the Time Trial at the Olympics. The odds for him to win the BBC award seem short in view of the fact that another cyclist, Mark Cavendish, was last year’s recipient.
Another factor that could possibly count against Wiggins is the bad publicity for the sport due to the Lance Armstrong doping affair. The sport surely lost some credibility when one of its most famous riders was shown to be a drugs cheat and his seven Tour de France wins were removed from the records.
In terms of selecting a winner this year’s Sports Personality contest has produced any number of worthy candidates. Most of course are Olympians but it seems difficult to compare and judge the achievements of say Mo Farah and Ellie Simmonds, one of the undoubted stars of the Paralympics.
In a non-Olympics year Rory McIlroy would be a leading contender but he is unlikely to be in the first three. He became the youngest multiple major champion since Severiano Ballesteros in 1980 when he won the US PGA Championship and reached the pinnacle of the world rankings, a position he is unlikely to relinquish over the next few years.
The leading candidates to win the award or be second behind Wiggins are Farah, Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and David Weir. In any ordinary year their achievements would make them certainties to win the award but 2012 was a year unprecedented in terms of British sporting achievement.
If Any Murray had reached the Wimbledon final and won the US Open in a year when there was no Olympics or World Cup he would enjoy a landslide victory. Even adding in his Olympic gold medal he still looks the least likely of the four to be placed behind Wiggins.
David Weir could claim to be the greatest Paralympics athlete in history. He won three medals on the track and then won the Marathon to prove himself to be the most versatile non-able bodied athlete of all time.
Mo Farah’s races were the sporting highlights of two consecutive Saturday nights in the summer. He won both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the Olympics and the crowd noise in the Olympic stadium towards the end of his second race was unmatched throughout the Games.
However, it is Jessica Ennis who could well be second to Wiggins and she could even defy the odds and win the award. She was the poster girl of the Olympics and was the first of Britain’s high profile athletes to compete. She just about nailed all seven events in the Heptathlon and shades the others in terms of sporting achievement in 2012.
Back next Friday.