So it’s nearing the end of 2012 and amongst the inevitable novelty Christmas singles, bad TV specials and God-awful animated films, the television viewing public of Great Britain were treated to the annual glitz-fest that is BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
This was a chance to look back at what was dubbed the “Summer of Sport” and the achievements of Jess, Mo, Andy, Tom, Jonnie and the rest. At the time, everyone on our little island couldn’t help but be instilled with pride by Team GB, Paralympics GB and Murray (let’s just ignore the England football team for now shall we) so it’s perfectly understandable that the majority of candidates for the accolade were Olympians and Paralympians. In fact, with the exception of Rory McIlroy, everyone on the twelve-strong shortlist was a medalist at London 2012.
However, it’s my opinion (perhaps controversially) that simply winning a medal at the Olympics is not enough to warrant crowning someone the proverbial King of athletes. There are sportspeople who compete in non-Olympic events and tournaments who, in any other year would have stood more than a chance of winning the award. On top of this, looking at everyone on the BBC’s shortlist, there were Olympians who, this year, have also attained outstanding achievements outside of London. Andy Murray’s triumph at the US Open against world number one Novak Djokovic springs immediately to mind. For this reason I wonder, did this year’s eventual winner, gold medal winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins, actually deserve the title?
Yes Wiggins did also win the Tour de France, becoming the first Briton to do so, but in what way is this any more worthwhile than Murray’s victory in America, where he became the first Briton to win a grand slam title in 76 years? As far as I can see, winning gold and wearing the yellow jersey are Wiggins’ only achievements this year, and to be quite frank all he did was ride a bike around a bit – I’ve seen the thirteen-year-old chavs that hang out down the park doing that! Whereas Murray also became the first British player to get to a Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938, shattering an entire national stereotype (which is a bloody difficult thing to do!) as well as winning two (count them Wiggo, TWO!) medals at the Olympics. In my opinion, Murray deserved much more than his third place position that he was awarded on the night. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that he deserved the title outright. Certainly he shouldn’t have been beaten to second place by Jessica Ennis, who seems to have hypnotised the entire country into thinking that winning ONE race makes her the greatest athlete ever.
In the end, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (or SPOTY – someone’s not thought that through have they?) is voted for by the British public so obviously I’m in a minority and some people must think that Bradley Wiggins is a worthy recipient. But please, I urge you, next year think more carefully, otherwise we’ll end up giving it to someone really undeserving of sporting recognition… John Terry, perhaps?