The 2015 Sports Personality of the Year contestants have been announced. The winner will be announced on December 20th but before that comes the annual gripe over those that have been left out, and discussion about which of the twelve selected will take home the award.
Here’s SBC’s look, including their odds to win and our pick. The four favourites (from left Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Lewis Hamilton, and Tyson Fury)
(All odds are best priced as according to Oddschecker at the time of writing)
Andy Murray – 6/5 (Sportingbet)
Andy Murray’s had quite a year despite a disappointing start losing the Australian Open final to Djokovic. Alongside his brother Jamie and the rest of the team, he won the Davis Cup for Great Britain. This is a feat not achieved since 1936. He’s now ranked second in the world ahead of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Note: he won Sports Personality in 2013.
Jessica Ennis-Hill – 7/4 (Bet365)
Having given birth to son Reggie in July 2014, to even make the list is quite a feat for the athlete, let alone be amongst the favourites. Ennis-Hill is included not on principle however, she’s had quite a 2015. She won gold at the Beijing World Athletics Championships in the heptathlon event having only begun training in autumn 2014.
Tyson Fury – 10/1 (Skybet)
A victory which rocked the boxing world, as Wladimir Klitschko, unbeaten since 2004, had his crown and belts removed by Tyson Fury after a unanimous points win. Fury also beat Christian Hammer in February this year. Aged 27 and 6 ft 9 inches, he’ll now set about prolonging his unbeaten record for as long as possible. Despite a bold statement from the boxer that he won’t win because he’s “too controversial and outspoken”, the bookies mostly place him as third favourite ahead of F1 champ Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton – 18/1 (Stan James)
Hamilton matched Sir Jackie Stewart’s British record as he sealed his third World Championship at the US Grand Prix in October. He claimed pole in eleven of the first twelve races, winning seven. Hamilton also surpassed his hero and racing legend Ayrton Senna’s record of 41 career wins.
The others (from top left Kevin Sinfield, Chris Froome, Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, Adam Peaty, Lizzie Armitstead, Max Whitlock and Lucy Bronze)
Kevin Sinfield – 25/1 (Betfred)
Aged 35 and in his final season with Leeds Rhinos Sinfield led his side to a memorable treble as they won the Super League, the Challenge Cup, and the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time in club history.
Chris Froome – 50/1 (Unibet)
After his historic Tour de France win in 2013 was followed up with a disappointing 2014, Froome more than made amends this year by becoming the first British cyclist to win the Tour twice.
Mo Farah – 80/1 (Bet365)
Farah had a very successful year as he took home two golds at the World Championships for the 5,000 and 10,000 metres respectively. This earned him the terribly named but no less impressive honour of being the first man to pull off a triple-double, that is winning two events at two world championships and an Olympics.
Greg Rutherford – 150/1 (Paddy Power)
The athlete became only the fifth Brit to hold the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles at the same time after winning gold in the long jump at the Worlds in Beijing. He beat his nearest rival’s jump by a huge 17cm.
Adam Peaty – 150/1 (Coral)
An impressive achievement for the swimmer making the list at 20 years old, Peaty has had a record breaking year. He became the first Brit to win three golds at a World Championship, and he broke world records in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.
Lizzie Armitstead – 200/1 (BetVictor)
The cyclist won three road world cup races and took the overall title for the second consecutive year.
Max Whitlock – 250/1 (SkyBet)
Whitlock became the first man to win a gold for Great Britain at the World Gymnastics Championships this year. This achievement was particularly remarkable given that the 22 year old spent the first part of the year recovering from glandular fever.
Lucy Bronze – 250/1 (Unibet)
England’s women’s team earned serious accolades as well as a host of new fans due to their fantastic World Cup displays which saw them reach the semi-finals. Bronze, a defender for Man City, was a vital part of this and was shortlisted amongst seven others for the golden ball player of the tournament award.
SBC verdict: With both Murray and Hamilton having won it in previous years (only three people have ever won twice), and Fury arguably not being far off the mark with his comments regarding his own chances, a good bet is Jessica Ennis-Hill. Writers called her achievements this year the “mother of all comebacks” and she certainly deserves recognition.