Sport writer Dan Hunt profiles the six nominees for BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, as several Brits achieved great things despite the pandemic
After a topsy-turvy year, sportsmen and women have faced unique challenges but thrived nonetheless. The BBC’s annual Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award recognises a sportsperson who has achieved the most in that year, with the winner decided by a public vote. Here are all the nominees, and why they deserve your vote.
Despite the start of the season being postponed from March to July as a result of the pandemic, Hamilton has had another exceptional year in Formula One, winning his seventh driver’s title and breaking Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins. This year’s seventh championship win also puts Hamilton level-pegging with the German, and after four straight titles, Hamilton is in as strong a position as ever to make it five in a row next year.
Broad started the year as somewhat an outsider from England’s core group. Although picked to the 13-man squad to face the West Indies, he was not selected for the first test, much to his ire. Broad was then selected for the second test, which England went on to win, and was instrumental in England winning the Wisden Trophy 2-1. The fast bowler took ten wickets in the third test and went on to win player of the series.
Broad also passed 500 test wickets in test cricket, a feat achieved by only three other fast bowlers (Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath, and fellow team-mate James Anderson). Not exactly bad company.
This year Doyle broke her record, with 120 wins despite a shortened racing series. She became the first woman to win five races on the same card at Windsor and also won for the first time at Ascot. Doyle also won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, previously won by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dame Kelly Holmes, and Paula Radcliffe.
Fury won against Deontay Wilder in February to become two-time world heavyweight champion, after a comeback following his struggles with depression and drug abuse. In response to being nominated, the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ asked the BBC to ‘take me off your list’ and in a video posted on his social media claimed ‘I’m the people’s champion and have no need for verification or any awards.’ The BBC has declined Fury’s request.
With a sixth world title at the Crucible, at 44 years old O’Sullivan became the oldest champion since 1978. Having won 37 events and 20 Triple Crown titles, it is perhaps surprising that this is O’Sullivan’s first nomination for the award since the start of his professional career in 1992.
Liverpool captain for their first league title since 1990, the Reds’ first in the Premier League era, Henderson scored four goals and set-up another five in 30 appearances. In fact, of the 30 Premier League games the England international played, Liverpool won 27 of them, and he played a key role in Jurgen Klopp’s system from the centre of midfield.
The current favourite to win has to be Hamilton, but in the year of a pandemic and Southampton (briefly) topping the Premier League table, anything can happen.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year is on Sunday 20th December at 8:00 pm. Voting opens during the show.
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