SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
WITH Andy Murray below his best in 2017, there is sure to be a new winner of the trophy. Athletics has been the dominant sport over the last 60 years with 17 wins and the next best is motor racing with seven. Athletics boasts 49 top three placings with football
(20) the next best.
No athletes have won though since Kelly Holmes triumphed in 2004, though Jessica Ennis-Hill was in the top three four times.
Mo Farah has only been third once and that was way back in 2011.
The boxer Anthony Joshua is odds-on favourite and Farah is vying for second favourite with footballer Jermaine Defoe and cyclist Chris Froome, who has boosted his chances with a win in the Vuelta completing a unique tour double.
It’s worth noting that some athletes such as Brendan Foster in 1974 and Steve Ovett in 1978 won the award primarily on winning European titles and Farah has won more global titles than the other SPOTY world championship winners – Steve Cram, Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Fatima Whitbread, Jonathan Edwards, Liz McColgan and Paula Radcliffe put together.
Who would have thought 20 years ago that a British runner could win 10 global titles and not win the award. The failure of Chris Froome to win – a four-time Tour de France winner – would also be unthinkable and last year, he did not even make the short list.
It may be a factor that Froome was not born in the UK, lives abroad, does not compete in Britain, and is part of a controversial team. Some of those accusations have also been levelled at Farah and while he competes in the UK (and unlike Froome he came through the British system), the British athletics supporters love Farah.
He is not always popular among some sections of the media and a lot of grassroots athletes would probably prefer he had put aside financial reasons and run more Nationals and National road relays and less of the predictable Birmingham-type events where a win was obvious as soon as the field was announced.
A London Marathon win might tip the balance in future years though.