So the BBC Sports Personality of the Year short list is out and once again it throws up a number of serious contenders.
Jess Ennis is the favourite, followed by Andy Murray and then Tyson Fury, but Lewis Hamilton will feel aggrieved at being only the 4th favourite having just notched up a third F1 world tile, ditto Chris Froome at 5th after winning an unprecedented second Tour de France yellow jersey for British sport and Mo Farah, always on the short list but never close to winning, despite claiming the 5K-10K double ay the world championships last summer.
The remaining names – world road race champion Lizzie Armitstead, women’s world cup hero Lucy Bronze, world champion swimmer Adam Peaty, world long jump champion Greg Rutherford, retiring rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield and gymnastics star Max Whitlock – are all very deserving but will probably fall short of the podium. Strangely Joe Root, man of the series in an Ashes-winning series for England, failed to make the top ten.
So who will win the prestigious award? The bookies are often right and there is no doubt that Ennis bouncing back from time out becoming a mother to regain a world title was a fantastic feat. Murray’s role in claiming the Davis Cup was obvious to all, plus the closeness of the feat to the awards gives him an outstanding chance but my bet is he will make the podium at best but be part of the Team of the Year.
Fury is an interesting one. Personally I hope he does not win because of his questionable antics out of the ring – hardly a role model – but he may yet claim the popular vote. Hamilton will wonder just what he needed to do having joined some of the all-time greats of F1, but maybe having the best car on the grid works against him. Froome suffers from his perceived lack of personality in a sport higely tarnished (although since when has “personality” comes into the vote), and the lingering mud slung at Farah before his incredible summer feats may also prove to be a negative.
Let’s be honest, though. In another year any of the top 6 would be worthy winners. It just goes to show the sporting riches we enjoy in these heady days in Britain. We should rejoice but not get too comfortable. Now is the time to seize the opportunity and build, not smoke our proverbial cigars.
My top 3? Murray, Ennis, Froome. It won’t be this, by the way, but that’s my view.