Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: BBC Sports Personality of the Year should not be popularity contest

By Ali Gordon

BBC Sports Personality of the Year has always been a bit of a mystery.

What does it mean? Do you have to win top honours? Is it simply a popularity contest? Or is it a combination of the two?

The BBC say the accolade should go to the sportsperson "whose actions have most captured the public's imagination" and, if that's actually the case, then there is one stand-out winner.

If it's personality in terms of charisma, then Lewis Hamilton has got to be out. His achievements on the track this year were incredible, winning his second world title in Abu Dhabi last month, but he is as dull as dishwater out of the car - and that's where his problem lies. People think he's boring.

Distance runner Jo Pavey, on the other hand, may have left it late to win her first major championship gold, but she did it in such sensational fashion, with such personality and sheer emotion.

Just shy of her 41st birthday and 11 months after giving birth, Pavey ran one of the most controlled and convincing races in recent years to become the oldest athlete to win a European 10,000m title. She captured the public's imagination and is surely a contender.

Then there's our own Rory McIlroy whose achievements undoubtedly out-weigh Pavey's. Four-time major winner and one of the most talented and inspiring athletes the world has ever seen. Just look at increasing levels of golfing participation and securing of big names and events for Northern Ireland if you needed confirmation of that.

He has to win. He deserves it anyway.

But then again, it wouldn't be the first time the competition has caused a few upsets.

Just look at Ryan Giggs.

Belfast Telegraph

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