British sports stars honor nation’s spirit and talent

By | Sport
Andy Murray is being tipped as one of the early favourites for the award - @British-Postal-Museum-Archive

Remarkably it is already that time of year where we all take a moment to appreciate twelve months of British sporting highs, acknowledging the extraordinary achievements of selected athletes in their respective sports and the British sporting portrait.

The final shortlist, released last night, includes athletes Mo Farah, Christine Ohuruogu, and Hannah Cockroft, who all achieved fantastic success at the World Athletics Championships and the IPC World Athletics Championships respectively. Sailor Sir Ben Aislie, who tactically masterminded Oracle Team USA’s incredible comeback victory in the Americas Cup, is on the list as well. Cricketer Ian Bell, who equalled an English batting record to help guide England to Ashes glory, is there. Cyclist Chris Froome, who emulated his compatriot and last years winner Sir Bradley Wiggins by winning the titanic Tour de France, is there. Rugby Union full back Leigh Halfpenny, named man-of-the-series during the victorious Lions tour of Australia, is there. Jockey AP McCoy, who became the first jockey to ride an unprecedented 4,000 winners, made it. Tennis player Andy Murray, who ended Great Britain’s of 77-year draught for a Wimbledon champion, is on the list of course. And finally, Golfer Justin Rose, who became the first Englishman to win the US Open since 1997, is on the list.

An expert panel of directors, journalists, and former sports figures work together to compile the select list of ten athletes who they believe have displayed exceptional success and character over the last twelve months. This lengthy nomination process is clearly a challenging one, with a plethora sports men and women showing outstanding accomplishments on an annual basis, staking a substantial claim for a place on the final shortlist. It is through this very nature of the shortlist compilation that public and professional debate is sparked over the figures that have been overlooked. This is a welcomed debate as it encourages people to recognize sporting effort and attainment in a wider, deeper sense.

Of course last years sporting calendar was nothing short of remarkable, with a whole host of global events taking place, including the London Olympics, the European Championships, the Ashes, and the Tour de France. In such a rich sporting year full of British success, creating a shortlist was always going to be a challenge, particularly when you consider that almost every athlete involved in the games could have justifiably been included in the final line up.

To gauge the weight of this award, the calibre of past winners boasts an impressive list. The previous winners’ list has names such as Sir Henry Cooper, Bobby Moore, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Ian Botham, and most recently Sir Bradley Wiggins. For this year’s candidates, the prospect of being associated with such illustrious and legendary company will undoubtedly instil immense pride for all of them.

The beauty of this award is that it gives the nation an opportunity to reflect on the incredible highlights and proud memories made by athletes over the course of the year. Showcasing an event to celebrate individual and team achievements is most certainly something to cherish, as it has become all too common to dwell on the more adverse coverage published.

This award is made even more special in that the victor is voted for by the public. On the night of the show, people can select their favorite candidate via telephone or online, giving the power to the viewing public, the audience of these great sporting achievements. This format gives a unique sense of intimacy between the candidates and the public, who have the platform to directly acknowledge and personally reward the athlete’s impressive feats.

Naturally there is a strong case for every single candidate nominated; however, there is always a number of stand out favorites to come away with the famous silver camera award. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year award ceremony provides a refreshing, and emotionally nostalgic look back at a year of treasured sporting history. At the same time, it gives giving the nation a hopeful outlook into the future, and the promise of further golden moments that are yet to be written.

The winner will be announced during a live televised awards ceremony on the BBC on Sunday, 15th December 2013.

The full shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 2013:

  • Sir Ben Ainslie
  • Ian Bell
  • Hannah Cockroft
  • Mo Farah
  • Chris Froome
  • Leigh Halfpenny
  • AP McCoy
  • Andy Murray
  • Christine Ohuruogu
  • Justin Rose

Who from this final shortlist do you feel will win this years award? Who else would you have included? And what has been your sporting highlight of 2013?

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