Tennis star Andy Murray became the first British player to win a tennis grand slam in 76 years. In any other year, he would’ve been a cinch to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award. This year, he’s been priced by oddsmakers from anywhere between 12/1 to 18/1.
The same thing can be said for Olympians Jessica Ennis (gold medalist in Heptathlon at the London Olympics) and Mo Farah (gold medalist in the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the London Olympics), both of whom have been priced anywhere from 5/1 to 9/1.
Heck, even Rory McIlroy, the world’s number 1 ranked golfer and the winner the PGA Championships, is a longshot at 100/1.
Taking these odds into the equation, what kind of accomplishment does somebody need to have to not only be considered the favorite, but to, in some ways, usurp the accolades these men and women achieved in their sport this year?
The answer, apparently, is to win the Tour de France AND follow that up with a couple of your own Olympic gold medals.
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, the first British man to win the Tour de France, has been penciled in as the odds-on favorite to claim the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award. With odds ranging from 2/7 to 1/3, it seems that it would take a monumental upset given the odds of the nearest challengers, Ennis and Farah, for Wiggins not to win the prestigious award.
We’re not here to underscore Wiggins’ accomplishments this year in any way. Winning the Tour AND taking home the gold medal in road time trial at the Olympics are impressive feats and certainly worth all the accolades he’s received throughout the year. But was all of that enough to make him the favorite?
On the surface, probably not. If you dig deeper, though, it makes all the sense in the world.
The successful year Wiggins has had isn’t so much about the Tour title and the Olympic gold medal, it’s the significance of those accomplishments taken in context with what he’s accomplished for his entire career. We already know why his Tour win is historic because he’s the first British cyclist to ever do it. In addition to that, the Olympic gold medal he won at the Olympics was the seventh of his career, putting him on par with teammate Chris Hoy for most Olympic medals won by a British athlete with seven in total. And arguably the most important argument for Wiggins is him entering the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the first cyclist to win the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in the same year. Considering that the Olympics only happens once in every four years, that achievement alone speaks for itself.
So in case you’re wondering why Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Andy Murray, and a lesser extent, Rory McIlroy, have all been tabbed as long shots to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, all you need to do is take a look at what Bradley Wiggins accomplished this year.
That’s all the case he needs to make to justify him winning the award.