TONY McCOY reck­ons 40-1 outsider Nick Skel­ton is the man to back for the BBC Sports Per­son­al­ity Of The Year award, even though he pre-dates the award and prob­a­bly pre-dates the BBC.

Skel­ton (above) won gold at the age of 58 in his sev­enth Games – when you’re that old you don’t ex­pect Games to end in gold, you ex­pect them to end in shouts of ‘house.’

Skel­ton is a showjumper and that was enough for both Princess Anne and Zara Phillips to win the Beeb award, though Skel­ton lacks their rags-to-riches ap­peal.

He re­tired 16 years ago af­ter break­ing his neck in two places and vowed on his re­turn to the sad­dle that he would never go to those places again.

Skel­ton helped GB to their great­est Olympic medals tally-ho and will surely be re­mem­bered come De­cem­ber by BBC vot­ers, although at his age he prob­a­bly won’t re­mem­ber them.

He’s the old­est GB gold medal win­ner at an Olympics since Joshua Mill­ner in 1908 at shoot­ing (mus­ket).

A few decades ago showjump­ing en­joyed huge pop­u­lar­ity in Bri­tain and the Horse Of The Year Show was al­ways a rat­ings win­ner, par­tic­u­larly the year Princess Anne won SPOTY, but it has largely slipped from con­scious­ness.

For Skel­ton, most things have. But he has now rekin­dled in­ter­est to such an ex­tent that his out-of-print au­to­bi­og­ra­phy is fetch­ing £75 a copy on Ama­zon – it’s as though in Rio he jumped the Ama­zon.

The book doesn’t have a dust-jacket, just a smok­ing jacket. At 40-1 he has to be in with a shout.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.