What a summer! There has been no greater summer of sport in my living memory (or potentially ever).
What a summer! There has been no greater summer of sport in my living memory (or potentially ever). Sport has gripped and united the nation, whether it be under the banner of Team GB, Paralympics GB or behind the British individuals representing their nation at the top level of their sport. As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, it is almost upsetting that the summer of 2012 has come to an end. All that is left to do is to argue who has been the most successful British athlete of this incomparable year.
There is one competition that can put these athletes head to head. Rather than being settled on the sports field, the sportsmen and women will be herded into a sweaty BBC studio, wearing their finest tuxedos and dresses, where their fate will be in the hands of the British public. Yes it is, of course, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
An undoubtedly prestigious award, that the likes of David Beckham, Dame Kelly Holmes and Sir Steve Redgrave all boast on their CV’s, that celebrates both great sporting achievement and the character of the athlete behind the success. However, which should be rewarded more, the sporting achievement of the personality of the athlete?
Some might say that Andy Murray’s summer has been worthy of winning the 2012 edition of the award. His tears as he narrowly lost out at Wimbledon let the nation know that he was more than just the determined, (sometimes) slightly miserable Scot. He earned himself a place in the hearts of the nation. Couple that with Olympic gold and winning his first Grand Slam, the US Open, you would think he is a shoe in, especially as Greg Rusedski won the award for just reaching the final of the US Open in 1997. Not this year.
London 2012 gripped the nation for two months as our Olympians and Paralympians were amazingly successful on home turf. Jessica Ennis, the poster girl of the Games, dominated in the gruelling Heptathlon and watching her medal ceremony was enough to bring a tear to even my eyes. The awesome Brownlee brothers triathlon performance was truly unbelievable and, in any other year, would make them serious contenders. Not forgetting Mo Farah’s dominant distance running in the 5 and 10k races. His pregnant wife, adorable daughter and extremely memorable celebration give him that slight personality edge on some of his Olympic contenders for the accolade. That’s just a few of our amazing Olympians, not even mentioning Sir Chris Hoy who became the most successful Olympian of all time in London!
It is hard to forget the inspirational Paralympians. David Weir, a.k.a The Weirwolf, was one of many successful athletes, as he racked up 4 gold medals in the T54 wheelchair races. Sarah and Barney Storey, the husband and wife athletes, both scored Paralympic gold, as did Johnny Peacock in the sprint event. All inspirational athletes, yet still not Sports Personality of the Year for me.
Despite all these success stories, there is only one man who truly fits the bill for the accolade in 2012. His performances and personality gripped the nation. Before Frank Turner had even picked up his guitar to open the Olympics, cyclist Bradley Wiggins had done what no Britain had ever done before. After 98 years of the race, the Londoner became the first Brit to win the Tour de France, the most prestigious bike race on the cycling calendar, tackling 3,497 kilometres of gruelling roads and mountain passes quicker than all his rivals. It is without doubt, the toughtest race on the planet. Just a week later, Wiggo took to the streets of London to claim Olympic gold in the time trial event.
On top of his incredible performances, Wiggins also has the personality to match. He has bought the Mod style back into fashion, his unique sideburn look is sweeping the nation (they are on my face too) and he has a cheek about him that makes him an extremely lovable character. Whether it be sitting on the golden throne after his Olympic win with such swagger or his victory speech at Le Tour, Wiggins has an immensely infectious style.
In a sport that has been marred in drugs scandals, Wiggins’ anti-doping approach to the sport is both refreshing and gives hope that clean riders can be successful. Inspirational is the only word for the man. He has inspired me and hopefully man more. Any athlete that can convince me to change my facial hair and buy a bike is a worthy Sports Personality of the Year in my eyes.