Wednesday, 10 December 2008

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

The annual BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year Award is to be held this Sunday with a fantastic list of contenders to scoop the prestigious prize. The ten listed contenders are:

- Rebecca Adlington

- Ben Ainslie

- Joe Calzaghe

- Nicole Cooke

- Lewis Hamilton

- Chris Hoy

- Andy Murray

- Christine Ohuruogu

- Rebecca Romero

- Bradley Wiggins

Many people are predicting a straight fight between Lewis Hamilton, Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington for the top three places in the voting, and whilst all three would be worthy winners of the award after some truly outstanding achievements in 2008, it will be Ben Ainslie that will be getting my vote.

Ainslie is a truly phenomenal athlete and unquestionably the greatest sailor this country has ever produced. His list of achievements over the course of his career are quite staggering. He has won three gold medals in successive Olympic Games, dating back to the Sydney Olympics in 2000, to go with the silver he won in Atlanta in 1996 when he was just 19 years of age. He has also been named British Yachtsman of the Year on four occasions and was ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1998 and 2002.

Now I am realistic enough to know that someone of Ainslie’s low profile is unlikely to ever win BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year but I think this merely reflects the culture we live in today. The back pages of newspapers are always dominated by sports such as football, cricket and rugby, sports where we have achieved very little success over recent years, whilst born winners like Ben Ainslie are pushed out of the spotlight that they so richly deserve to be in.

Of the three main contenders for this year’s title my preference would be for Hoy to win the event. Not only for his success in becoming the first British athlete since 1908 to bring home three gold medals from a single Olympic Games, but also for this quote that he gave to a national newspaper which shows a refreshing attitude in these days of the egotistical sportsman. When asked by a reporter from The Guardian;

“In the last 24 hours everyone has been offering an opinion on Chris Hoy. But what does Chris Hoy think of Chris Hoy”

Hoy replied with: “Chris Hoy thinks that the day Chris Hoy refers to Chris Hoy in the third person is the day that Chris Hoy disappears up his own arse.”