Monday, 24 November 2014

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015

It is that time of year again for the nominees for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year, following the low point of 2011 when not a single female British sports person made the short list there are four on this year's shortlist, only one less than the Olympic year (when there were 12 nominees) but the most in the now traditional 10 person shortlist.

So who are they:

Gareth Bale the Welsh international, had a successful first season for Real Madrid which saw him scoring the winning goal in the Copa del Rey, the second of his team's four goals in the Champions League final in the first city derby final, the first time a Welshman had scored in that match. At the start of this season he helped his team lift their third trophy in his time with his team when his assist led to to Cristiano Ronaldo's goal in their 2-0 win the UEFA Super Cup. The last footballer to win was Ryan Giggs in 2009 the sport has five wins.

Charlotte Dujardain of "dancing horses" fame, didn't get nominated in 2012 despite her double gold and Olympic record performances on Valegro. She followed this up with double gold in Individual and Spécial Dressage in last year's European Championships, but this year became the first British Equestrian to hold Olympic, European and World Titles simultaneously when she and Valegro again combined for the double of Individual and Special Dressage. The last equestrian (not racing) to win was Zara Philips in 2006 Olympic Equestrian events have three wins none in dressage.

Carl Froch in boxing since 2006 with exception of 2 periods that total about 12 months has held one of other of the world titles at Super-Middleweight. However, despite those years of success this is the first time that he has been nominated for SPoTY, other boxers of course have been nominated in a sport that we have a good history of. The last boxer to win was Joe Calzaghe in 2007 the sport has five wins.

Kelly Gallagher is the visually impaired Paralympian skier who took Great Britain's first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal along with her guide Charlotte Evans in the Women's Super-G. She comes from my home town of Bangor. No Paralympian has ever won SPoTY, the nearest any have come is Tanni Grey-Thompson who was third in 2000. No skier has ever won, the last Winter Sports win was in 1984 for Jayne Torville and Christopher Dean.

Lewis Hamilton has twice stood on the second step of the SPoTY podium on his debut season in F1 matching his position in the drivers' championship that year. The following year when he won the championship he again came 2nd in SPoTY. This year marks his second F1 title during which he took 11 wins making him the most successful British winner with 33 wins in total, which included two runs of five and four consecutive wins. The last Formula 1 driver to win was Damon Hill in 1996 the sport has six winners.

Rory McIllroy makes it two for residents of North Down in the top 10 this year. Rory secured back to back golfing majors when he picked up the Open and PGA Championship. By lifting the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool he became only the second player in Open history to lift the silver medal for low amateur and then the main prize. In so doing he became the first European to win three of the four majors, and joins only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in doing so before the age of 25. In between the two majors he also picked up his first World Golf Championship event and return to world number one. The last golfer to win was Nick Faldo in 1989 the sport has two winners.

Jo Pavey proved that motherhood and age are no barrier to being a successful athlete. Ten months after giving birth to her second child and just over a month shy of her 41st birthday she became the oldest woman to win a European Athletics title in the 10,000m, going one place better in Zurich that 2 years earlier in Helsinki. She had earlier in the month taken bronze in the Commonwealth Games 5,000m. The last athlete to win was Kelly Holmes in 2004 the sport is the most successful in SPoTY history with 17 wins.

Adam Peaty is the new golden boy of British swimming. First he took gold in 100m breastroke and 4x100m medley, and silver in 50m breaststoke at the Commonwealth Games (both wins in Games Records). Within 10 days he was in Berlin at the European Championships taken four golds in the three disciplines from the commonwealth plus the 4x100 mixed medley. He also secured two world records in the 50m and the mixed relay with Jemma Lowe, Chris walker-Hebborn and Fran Halsall. The last swimmer to win was Anita Lonsborough in 1962 the sport has two winners.

Max Whitlock the gymnast kicked off a very successful year at the European Championship with Pommel Gold and Team Silver. Before taking five medals at the Commonwealth Games All Around, Team and Floor Gold, Pommel Silver and Parallel Bars Bronze. But in qualification at the world in Nanjing he seemed to have failed, not qualifying for any apparatus finals, nor the individual. But after the team competition Nile Wilson had to withdrawal from the all-around. Max who was third in the GB team qualifying stepped up putting his poor qualification behind him, performed well on all six pieces to take silver behind the five time world champion Kohei Uchimura. No Gymnast have ever won the closest was Beth Tweddle coming third in 2006.

Lizzy Yarnold is a women who throws herself literally head first into her sport. For she is the most successful female winter Olympian in what is fast becoming GBs most successful Winter Olympic Sport. For the fourth games in a row the female skeleton team have medalled and for the second time in a row it is gold. Lizzy entered Sochi as favourite having secured the Skeleton World Cup Title winning four of the eight races. No Skeleton racer has ever won and the last Winter Sports winners were Torville and Dean in 1984.

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