BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2013

Picture: BBC
Picture: BBC

It is that time of year again; where we toast the greatest sportsmen and women that the UK has to offer.

The 60th anniversary of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year is less than a week away and the final shortlist of ten nominees has been drawn up.

The competition can sometimes be a bit flat when not taking place during an Olympic year, however given the large number of sporting achievements this year it promises to be a special night.

Furthermore, unlike 2011 there are female athletes on the shortlist and quite rightly so following the significant accomplishments of both wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft and 400 metre runner Christine Ohuruogu.

The Nominees 

  1. Sir Ben Ainslie

It is no secret that Sir Ben Ainslie is Britain’s most successful sailor ever after winning Olympic gold for the fourth games in a row at London 2012.

However his nomination this year is down to the integral part he played in the dramatic comeback of Oracle Team US in the America’s Cup.

Ainslie’s team found themselves 8-1 down to New Zealand until the Brit took on the role of tactician, turning Oracle’s fortunes around.

His shrewd tactics as well as natural chemistry with the rest of the team resulted in a 9-8 victory after a winner-takes-all decider.

Many consider it the greatest turnaround in America Cup history.

Ainslie’s next ambition is to be part of the first ever British team to win the competition. Needless to say he has earned his place on this year’s shortlist.

2.  Ian Bell

The English batsman played a key role in the Ashes victory earlier in 2013.

During the series he achieved both his second and third Ashes centuries as well as his 19th test century.

He was vital in England retaining the Ashes as the partnerships he built, particularly with Stuart Broad in the first test and Jonathan Trott in the second, ensured England recovered from any poor starts at the crease.

3. Hannah Cockroft

The wheelchair athlete has had a superb year, retaining her T34 100 metre and 200 metre world titles at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon.

After a massive success at London 2012 where she won double gold and smashed four world records, she followed it up this year with a victory and stadium record at the Anniversary Games.

Not only that but the year begun with her receiving an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen. Nicknamed ‘Hurricane Hannah,’ she suffered severe complications at birth with brain damage and two cardiac arrests 48 hours after being born; meaning doctors thought she would never walk again.

Her nomination for this prestigious award is just another chapter in her remarkable story.

4. Mo Farah

This man needs no introduction.

The double Olympic and now double world champion and creator of the Mobot was extremely unlucky not to feature in the top three of last year’s competition.

He became the first British man to ever win the Olympic 10,000 metres as well as the first British male to join the elite group who have doubled up and also won the 5,000 metres.

This year was again special as he won both events at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

Not only that but he broke Steve Cram’s 28-year old British 1500 metre record and in the process broke  Fermín Cacho’s 16-year old European record.

Throw in the fact he twice broke the national half marathon record then you have to think he is one of the favourites to pick up the award this year.

5. Chris Froome

It appears that British Tour de France winners are like buses; you wait ages for one (99 years in this instance) then they all come at one.

After Sir Bradley Wiggins’s triumph in 2012, fellow Brit Chris Froome matched his feat winning the tour in style.

His victory came during a particular bad year for cycling following the revelations of Lance Armstrong’s substance abuse, but Froome was tested continuously throughout the tour.

He is a much quieter man than Wiggins but he has matched his team mates staggering achievement.

The only thing you may feel will go against him in this competition is that Wiggins won it last year and sprint cyclist Mark Cavendish won back in 2011.

You wonder whether that may play a part in this year’s result.

6. Leigh Halfpenny

Rugby players are not often favourites for this title, which is highlighted by Johnny Wilkinson being the only rugby player to win it back in 2003.

However, Wilkinson is backing Lions Man of the Series, Six Nations Player of the Year and IRB World Player of the Year nominee Leigh Halfpenny in this year’s competition.

The Welsh fullback played a critical part in his country’s Six Nations campaign and was instrumental in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions defeating Australia 2-1 down under.

7. AP McCoy

The jockey is a former winner of the competition back in 2010 following his Grand National victory.

His nomination this year comes mainly as a result of surpassing 4000 career victories which really shows how consistent he has been year after year.

Despite this being an unbelievable achievement you feel a second SPORTY award may be unlikely given who else is on the shortlist and the fact he has won previously.

8. Andy Murray

He is many peoples favourite for the award and how can you really disagree with them?

If 2012 was his breakthrough year after winning Olympic gold and his first grand slam in New York, then 2013 was the year Andy Murray cemented himself as a British sporting legend.

Many of us never thought it would happen in our lifetime but Murray managed it; after 77-years Britain has another Males Singles Wimbledon Champion.

In a brutal 5-set match with arch nemesis (and friend) Novak Djokovic, the Dunblane-born star triumphed and sent Centre Court, Murray Mound and the rest of the UK wild.

The moment he finally wins is something I never tire of watching.

9. Christine Ohuruogu

A perfect example of perseverance as after disappointing seasons in 2009/10 and 2010/11 she managed to get back on track winning a silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

However 2013 saw the re-incarnation of Christine Ohuruogu as she became Britain’s first ever two time 400 metre World Champion breaking the long-standing record of Kathy Cook in the process.

She has had a glittering career as a former Olympic champion but she wants more. A great athlete and her place on the shortlist is certainly well deserved.

10. Justin Rose

There have been many recent disappointments for English golf players in major tournaments, namely Lee Westwood.

However, Justin Rose righted some of those wrongs by winning the US Open and in the process became the first Englishman to win a major since Sir Nick Faldo in 1996.

The last English person to win the event was Tony Jacklin 43 years ago and it propelled Rose to third in the world rankings (his highest standing ever).

It was an extremely emotional moment for him as tears filled his eyes as he looked to the sky when thinking of his late father and mentor, Ken Rose, who lost his battle with leukaemia in 2002.

My Prediction

It goes without saying the achievements of the ten nominees are extremely impressive and all are worthy of their place on the shortlist.

However, everyone has their favourites and I am no different. Being a tennis enthusiast as well as a player and coach I think it is extremely difficult to look past Andy Murray for this year’s award.

After years of disappointment many thought we would never see another male singles champion at Wimbledon.

I also think Mo Farah was hard done by last year and by winning double world championship gold has done something I believe we may never see a British athlete do again.

With that in mind I think the result will be:

1. Andy Murray

2. Mo Farah

3. Justin Rose

Who do you think will triumph?

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