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BBC Sports Personality Award: Andy Murray heads SPOTY list

Published 28/11/2016

Andy Murray celebrates winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2, London. (PA file photo dated 20-11-2016)
Andy Murray celebrates winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2, London. (PA file photo dated 20-11-2016)

Andy Murray heads an unprecedented 16-strong shortlist for this year's BBC Sports Personality Award which will be announced in Birmingham on December 18.

After winning his second Wimbledon title and finishing the tennis year ranked world number one, Murray is the strong favourite to be crowned the first three-time winner in the show's history.

Thirteen gold medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics are included on an extended shortlist, up from 12 nominations for both the 2012 and 2015 awards.

The three non-Olympians or Paralympians to be nominated are footballers Gareth Bale and Jamie Vardy, and Masters golf champion Danny Willett.

Champion cycling couple Jason and Laura Kenny are both nominated while at the age of 58, Nick Skelton becomes the oldest athlete to feature on the show's published shortlist.

The shortlist was drawn up by a panel consisting of media representatives and sports stars including Ryan Giggs and Victoria Pendleton.

Among the notable omissions from the list are Tour de France winner Chris Froome and IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

While the bookmakers make Murray a strong odds-on favourite, Alistair Brownlee will also have his supporters after retaining his Olympic title then hitting the headlines for helping ailing brother Jonny over the finish line at a Triathlon World Series race in Mexico in September.

Max Whitlock became the first British gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal when he won both the floor and pommel disciplines in Rio, while Kadeena Cox won Paralympic gold medals in both cycling and sprinting, becoming the first British Paralympian in 32 years to win golds in multiple disciplines.

The 16 nominees

Profiles of the 16 names on this year's shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award:

NICOLA ADAMS

Became the first British boxer to defend an Olympic title in 92 years when she beat Sarah Ouhramoune to retain her women's flyweight title in Rio.

GARETH BALE

Helped Real Madrid win the Champions League, surpassed Gary Lineker as the highest scoring Briton in Spain's Primera Division and inspired Wales to reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

ALISTAIR BROWNLEE

Retained his Olympic triathlon title and received acclaim for helping ailing brother Jonny over the finish line at the Triathlon World Series event in Mexico in September.

SOPHIE CHRISTIANSEN

The Ascot 29-year-old claimed three equestrian gold medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, taking her career total of Paralympic gold medals to eight.

KADEENA COX

Cox won gold medals in both cycling and sprinting in Rio, becoming the first British Paralympian to win titles in two sports since Isabel Barr in 1984.

MO FARAH

Farah completed the 'double-double' by successfully defending his Olympic 10,000m and 5,000m titles in Rio - and finished the year with his third straight win at the Great North Run.

JASON KENNY

Kenny's three cycling gold medals in Rio took his career tally of Olympic titles to six and made him the joint most decorated British Olympian alongside fellow cyclist Sir Chris Hoy.

LAURA KENNY

As Laura Trott, she retained both her team pursuit and omnium titles in Rio, an achievement which made her the most decorated track cyclist in Olympic history.

ANDY MURRAY

The all-conquering Scot won his second Wimbledon title and also retained his Olympic crown before ending another stellar year by winning the ATP Tour finals in London and usurping Novak Djokovic as world number one.

ADAM PEATY

Peaty clinched Great Britain's first gold medal in Rio when he surged to victory in the 100m breaststroke, beating his own world record and becoming Britain's first male swimming gold medallist in 28 years.

KATE RICHARDSON-WALSH

Veteran captain Richardson-Walsh led the Great Britain women's hockey team to an historic gold medal in Rio after a thrilling victory over Holland on penalties.

NICK SKELTON

At the age of 58 and in his seventh Olympic Games, Skelton won his second Olympic gold medal when he steered his horse Big Star to victory in the individual showjumping event.

DAME SARAH STOREY

Won time trial and road race titles in Rio to take her career tally of Paralympic gold medals to nine, making her the most successful British female Paralympian in history.

JAMIE VARDY

Vardy set a new record for scoring in 11 consecutive Premier League games, a feat which helped his team Leicester march all the way to their improbable title win.

MAX WHITLOCK

Claimed Great Britain's first Olympic gymnastics gold medal with a surprise win in the men's floor programme in Rio - then doubled his tally less than two hours later with victory on the pommel.

DANNY WILLETT

Overhauled leader Jordan Spieth to become only the second English golfer to win the US Masters, a win which also saw him break into the world's top 10.

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