Saturday, 18 December 2010

SOPTY Time is Apon Us Again…

Sunday sees the BBC’s once good now rather excruciatingly smug roundup of the sporting year. The glitzy glamour and razzmatazz rather masks the poor year that BBC sport has had, with the corporation receiving all manner of brickbats in relation to its lazy coverage of the World Cup, not to forget the games played in relation to their failed attempt to pick up the free-to-air Ashes highlights contract (which eventually went to…  um…  ITV4).

The centrepiece of the old Sports Review of The Year programme used to be the Sports Personality of the Year award (pictured, right), which like some sort of lethal virus has grown and taken over the programme.  So much so that the programme has now taken on the name Sport’s Personality of the Year, as the awards aspect has side-lined the sports review aspect (with the addition of "Team of the Year", "Coach of the Year",  Overseas awards and Outstanding Contribution awards).  One look at the nominees underlines why the review section might have gone on the slide.

The favourite should be the Northern Irish golfer Graeme McDowell, who won the US Open, 40 years on from the last British triumph in that tournament.  There is also the small matter of his contribution to Europe’s Ryder Cup win in Wales in October.  His Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood is also nominated.  Though he did not win a major, his nomination is down to his unseating of Tiger Wood’s as Golf’s number one player.

The Heptathlete Jessica Ennis is nominated for the second year in a row, she added a European Championship to the World Championship she will defend next year, she should be close as well.  I would also like to see Mark Cavendish do well too.  In 3 Tours, Cavendish has won 15 stages and holds a reputation as a deadly finisher on the flat stages.

Of the others, Haye’s anti-climatic defeat of Audley Harrison might count against him, people are split on Horse racing, so AP McCoy is an outsider, as is the teenage diver Tom Daley.  Graeme Swann might make the top three, depending on his performances during the ongoing test in Perth.  Amy Williams is another outsider, even though she is the first Brit to win an individual winter Olympics gold medal in 30 years.  The Dart’s lobby might also push Pill Taylor into the top three.

I think that McDowell will win, ahead of Ennis and I think that either JP McCoy or Phil Taylor will sneak into third, depending on who get’s their vote out.  After last year’s shock win for Ryan Giggs, its not a confident prediction.

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