The much awaited list for the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year has been revealed.
The original 10-person list has been upped to 12 to include Andy Murray and Tyson Fury after their recent win with both emerging as the top favourites.
The BBC judging panel met in mid-November but delayed announcing their shortlist aware that Murray could play a central role in leading Great Britain to their historic Davis Cup victory while Fury had the opportunity to become the heavyweight champion of the world by ending Wladimir Klitschko’s nine year reign.
Their respective victories persuaded the judges to extend the list to 12 names instead of the customary 10.
Jessica Ennis-Hill also remains one of the favourites after returning to sports from a break to have a child only to win an expected world heptathlon gold in Beijing in August. She also won admirers for the stance she adopted when Sheffield United considered re-signing convicted rapist Ched Evans.
But Murray’s commitment in helping to deliver Britain’s first Davis Cup triumph in almost 80 years has earned him plenty of support, even if it remains an unusually strong shortlist this year.
Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford have continued their dominance in athletics, while last year’s winner Lewis Hamilton is also listed after successfully defending his Formula One world championship title for the third time. Chris Froome is also nominated, having emerged from such adversity in France in the summer to secure a second Tour win.
The winner will be decided through public vote and announced at a live event from Belfast on Sunday, December 20.
Following are the nominees:
- Lizzie Armitstead (Age:26 Sport: Cycling): Armitstead not only won the World Road Championship but also the Road World Cup and the British National Championship this year.
- Lucy Bronze (Age: 24 Sport: Football): A fine strike against Norway helped England into the quarter-finals of Women’s World Cup this summer and Bronze headed her team two goals ahead in that game against hosts Canada. Named in the FIFA Team of the Tournament of the Year as England finished third, Bronze emerges as a star.
- Jessica Ennis-Hill (Age: 29 Sport: Athletics): Ennis-Hill has made a superb comeback. After taking a year off to give birth to her first child, she was back in action this May and won gold in heptathlon at the World Championships this August.
- Mo Farah (Age: 32 Sport: Athletics): The most decorated man in British athletics, Farah won his second World Championship distance double and broke the World Record over two miles and the European half-Marathon Record.
- Chris Froome (Age: 30 Sport: Cycling): Having won his second Tour de France in three years, Froome also became the first man in 45 years to be crowned both overall winner and King of the Mountains in the same year.
- Tyson Fury (Age: 27 Sport: Boxing): Known more for his controversial views on homophobia, paedophilia and devil worshipping, Fury has emerged as the hot favourite after ending Wladimir Klitschko’s nine year reign as World Heavyweight Champion.
- Lewis Hamilton (Age: 30 Sport: Formula 1): Having won his second consecutive title and third overall, Hamilton is now tied with Sir Jackie Stewart as Britain’s most successful F1 driver. He won the BBC Sports Personality last year by beating golfer Rory Mcllroy.
- Andy Murray (Age: 28 Sport: Tennis): Andy Murray ended Great Britain’s 80 year wait for Davis Cup. Murray contributed to the 11 out of the 12 points the team won throughout the season and all three of those against Belgium in the final.
- Adam Peaty (Age: 20 Sport: Swimming): Peaty burst onto the scene just 18 months ago at the Commonwealth games and since then has won three World Championship medals and made three world records.
- Greg Rutherford (Age: 29 Sport: Athletics): The Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion, Rutherford has won the World Championship with his second longest jump ever. He also won the Diamond League title and became the first British to hold all the major titles at the same time.
- Kevin Sinfield (Age: 35 Sport: Rugby League): The Leeds captain ended his career by captaining the Rhinos to their first treble, played his final match in the Grand Final and kicked the decisive goal.
- Max Whitlock (Age: 22 Sport: Gymnastics): Apart from helping Great Britain to win silver medal in the team event at World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in October, Whitlock also won the individual silver in the Floor Exercise and Britain’s first ever gold at the event on Pommel Horse. All of these despite missing months of competition earlier in the year due to glandular fever.