After watching this year’s version of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, you could be forgiven for thinking that it has merely become the lifetime achievement awards for athletes that have been at the top of their game for many years. Last year was Ryan Giggs’ turn to receive the award for his achievements under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, and this year was no different as the top two in votes were both rewarded for their services in each sport.
Second place went to the most finely tuned athlete the competition had to offer, World Darts Champion Phil “The Power” Taylor, with first place being awarded to jockey Tony McCoy. It’s hard to tell why these deserved it more than people like the golfing pair of Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood, or even cyclist Mark Cavendish, but there are a great deal of theories flying round.
If you look at the top three Jessica Ennis, Taylor, and McCoy, two of them enjoy widespread coverage on the BBC, with Taylor obviously the “sabotage” choice. Does this mean that the people voting only watch the BBC?
If you solely view the BBC, you’d have no clue that Graeme McDowell won the US Open, or watch events at the Ryder Cup unfold live. You also wouldn’t have much chance to watch Lee Westwood’s march to being the number one golfer in the world, or known that any of this country’s cyclists even exist. You’d be safe in the knowledge that McCoy won the Grand National, a really small guy jumped of a load of high boards, and that we have a champion at the Heptathlon.
I’m not knocking any of these sporting achievements for one second, it’s just that McDowell seemed more deserving of it. It should really be retitled “Personality of the BBC’s Sporting Year,” and if you really want to hand out a lifetime achievement award, give it to McCoy and not to David Beckham. Becks being lauded over was, however, by far the best part of the whole two-hour shebang.
As far as the bookies are concerned, Graham Sharpe from William Hill had already said before the ceremony took place that: “This year’s award has really struck a chord with punters and with the racing industry getting behind McCoy’s cause we have seen a wholesale gamble on McCoy winning. If he does we face a six figure hammering, but as Tony is such a great ambassador for racing, and therefore betting, we won’t be unhappy to pay out. One online McCoy fan has gambled the biggest ever Sports Personality bet of £7000 on McCoy at odds of Even money.”
Well at least the sports betting and online sports betting companies had some fun with it. Who will be the top item on the BBC sports news agenda next year then. I’d hedge my bets on David Haye, but there’s no way his fight will be on the BBC, so who knows. Attention will inevitable move towards the sport of lawn bowls.