The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 will be announced this Sunday. For once, it’s more competitive than a paternity test on the Jermey Kyle Show, with a whole host of athletes who have had stellar years battling it out for the accolade.
Bradley Wiggins is the red-hot odds-on favourite after his incredible year on the bike, but with a range of successful Olympians and Paralympians, a Wimbledon finalist and the greatest Ryder Cup comeback in history, is this the toughest year to pick a winner in living memory?
Here’s our guide to the leading contenders for the award…
Bradley Wiggins – 3/10
First Brit to ever win the Tour de France and then won Gold at the Olympics in the time trial, becoming Britain’s most decorated Olympian with seven medals to his name. Somehow made sideburns fashionable. Might get a sympathy vote after some joker in a Vauxhall Astra knocked him off his bike.
Jessica Ennis – 6/1
The poster girl for London 2012 and a shoe-in for the not yet created Sports Personality and Abs of the Year. Ennis won gold in the heptathlon with a British and Commonwealth record score of 6,955 beating plenty of records on the way. She opted out of the 100 metres hurdle, but her time of 12.54 seconds would have put her right in the mix for a medal in that – which would have been quite an achievement for a non-specialist hurdler.
Mo Farah 7/1
A double Olympic champion winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in London. The noise in the Olympic Stadium as Farah kicked for home in the final of the 5,000m was one of the highlights of the event. On top of that, he was European Athlete of the Year for 2012, adding to the title he won in 2011. Plus, he invented the ‘Mobot’ celebration craze with some help from James Corden.
Andy Murray – 16/1
2012 will be remembered as a year as hugely satisfying excessive fist-pumping for Murray. He won Gold for Britain in the Olympics and broke his Grand Slam duck by winning the US Open. Became the first British male to reach a Wimbledon Final since 1938 but got thumped by Rodger Federer. Broke down in tears, instantly gaining more support.
David Weir – 40/1
The Paralympic athlete won four Gold medals at the games in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon. He won the London marathon for the sixth time and has been described as the greatest wheelchair racer of all time.
Ellie Simmonds – 55/1
The 2008 Young Sports Personality of the Year won four medals at London 2012 including two golds. The 18-year-old Paralympian broke two world records at the games on her way to outstanding success in the pool. Her tenacity and beaming smile make her hugely popular with the British sporting public.
Rory McIlroy – 80/1
Golf’s World Number One and the PGA Championship winner 2012. He won the European Tour Order of Merit, the PGA Player of the Year and the PGA Tour leading money winner. It’s been a brilliant year for McIlroy topped off with that dramatic Ryder Cup win. And things look to be going well very with Caroline Wozniacki. All in all, another great year for silly-pants wearing’s most exciting talent.
Chris Hoy – 100/1
Hoy’s major hurdle is that brilliance is now just expected as standard from him. But the Edinburgh native continues to deliver, winning gold in both the Team Sprint and Keirin at this year’s Olympics. Add to that bronze in the Sprint and gold in the Keirin at the World Championships and you’ve got an impressive record. The odds are against the 2008 SPOTY winner however. Only three people have one the accolade more than once (Nigel Mansell, Henry Cooper and Damon Hill) and in such a competitive year, he’ll find it hard to join them.
Katherine Grainger – 200/1
Grainger may not have to buy quite as much Brasso as some of the other contenders for this year’s award, but her story has the right mix of resilience and excellence to strike a chord with the public. After winning silver medals at the three previous Olympic games, the rower finally landed gold this time around when she partnered Anna Watkins to victory in the double sculls.
Ben Ainslie – 200/1
Ainslie became the most successful sailor in Olympic history when he claimed his fourth gold medal on the bounce this summer. We also claimed gold in the Finn class in this year’s World Championships. More important than all that bling however, he achieved something we all though was virtually impossible – he made sailing cool. The SPOTY has a habit of throwing up some surprise results and having brought the curtain down on his Olympic career, he’s an interesting outsider at a big price.
Nicola Adams – 250/1
Adams claimed a slice of history by becoming the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal this summer. That nugget of trivia is an achievement of scheduling rather than anything else and it’s her performances in the ExCel Arena that deserve the real attention. She dominated the flyweight division this summer (winning her fights by a combined score of 43-20), beaten her nemesis, Ren Cancan of China in the final.
Sarah Storey – 300/1
Few athletes in British sporting history have shown the versatility and dominance of Storey. She win 16 Paralmypic medals (five gold) in swimming before turning her attention to cycling in 2005 and going on to rack up the bling in that sport too. She won four golds at the London games in the Individual Pursuit C5, the Time Trial C4-5 500m, the Individual Road Time Trial C5 and the Individual Road Race C4-5 adding to the two golds she claimed in Beijing.