The BBC has just announced the short list for the Sports Personality Of The Year 2012 and with such a great year for British Sporting achievement it is no surprise that the list of personalities has been extended from10 to 12.
It could be argued that with an amazing summer of sport with the Olympics and Paralympics, success at the Tour de France and long awaited success in the world of Tennis that the shortlist could have become much, much longer!
It comes as no surprise to find many Olympic Gold winners on the shortlist including cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, tennis star Andy Murray, and athletes Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, rower Katherine Grainger, boxer Nicola Adams and sailor Ben Ainslie all find themselves deserving contenders.
Cyclists Bradley Wiggins and golfer Rory McIlroy also make it to the Sport Personality of the year shortlist along with Paralympians Sarah Storey, Ellie Simmonds and David Weir.
So who do you think is most deserving of this prestigious accolade? Well you could be forgiven for thinking it a difficult decision as there has never been so many well deserving paragons of their respective sports in the running.
Bradely Wiggins became the first British man to win the Tour de France, and then went on to claim the fourth Olympic gold medal of his career.
“It had to be gold today or nothing. What’s the point of seven medals if they’re not the right colour?”
Wiggins made the leader’s yellow jersey his own from early on in Le Tour’s gruelling 20-stage, 2,173-mile race. His victory in the men’s time trial at London 2012 gave him a record-equalling seventh Olympic medal for a British sportsman.
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Mo Farrah won golds on successive Saturday nights, becoming the first Briton – and only the seventh man in history – to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m at the same Olympic Games.
“Those two medals are for my two girls that are coming. They’re twins so there’s one for each.”
His wife Tania gave birth to twin girls just weeks after the Olympics finished.
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Jessica Ennis set three personal bests in the seven events as she swept to gold in the Olympic heptathlon. Her total of 6,955 points was 306 ahead of German silver medallist Lilli Schwarzkopf and victory kick-started a golden hour for British athletics with subsequent victories for long jumper Greg Rutherford and runner Mo Farah.
“The atmosphere when you walk into that Olympic Stadium, it’s like someone gave you 10 cups of coffee. I was pumped up so much”. Said Ennis after her final event.
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Andy Murray ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a British major tennis champion with victory in an epic US Open final against Novak Djokovic.
“It is what I have been working towards for the last 10 years of my life. It means the world to me.”
Two months earlier, the Scot was beaten in the men’s final at Wimbledon by Roger Federer, but reversed that result to win Olympic gold and also picked up a mixed doubles silver with partner Laura Robson.
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David Weir – nicknamed ‘Weirwolf’, won a clean sweep of four gold medals at his home Paralympics. He dominated the T54 category, winning the 800m, 1500m, 5,000m and marathon titles to give him a career total of 10 Paralympic medals.
“In the marathon, people were howling as I went past and wearing ‘Weirwolf’ masks. It was just a great atmosphere”
Earlier in the year, he triumphed in the wheelchair race at the London Marathon for a record-equalling sixth time – matching Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson.
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Ellie Simmonds won two Paralympic swimming golds in London to add to the two titles she secured as a 14-year-old four years earlier.
“The crowd going mental definitely pushes you on and gives you that home advantage you need.”
Simmonds broke her own world record to win the SM6 200m individual medley final, just two days after gold in the S6 400m freestyle. She also won silver in the S6 100m freestyle and bronze in the S6 50m freestyle.
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Rory McIlroy made a stunning eight-shot victory at the US PGA Championship and earned him his second Major making him the youngest player to achieve that feat since Seve Ballesteros.
He then featured in Europe’s Ryder Cup comeback victory over the United States and also topped the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, to secure the world number one spot.
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Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy won Two cycling titles in London and gained him a British record six Olympic golds in all – one more than rowing great Sir Steve Redgrave.
“I can’t put into words what it means to me. It’s one of the greatest feelings I have ever had.”
Having won on the first night of the track cycling in the men’s team sprint, Hoy’s emotional triumph in the keirin was the perfect velodrome finale for Team GB.
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Ben Ainslie took his fourth straight gold medal to add to his tally along with a silver he won in 1996 becoming the most decorated Olympic sailor in history overtaking Dane Paul Elvstrom’s record of four golds that had stood since 1960. Ainslie was driven to success after the tactics of his rivals upset him, famously stating “They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry”.
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For Katherine Grainger It was a case of fourth time lucky as she finally gained an Olympic rowing gold medal after three silvers at successive Games.
She and Anna Watkins surged to victory in the final of the women’s double sculls for their 23rd consecutive win. Grainger became the first female British athlete in any sport to win a medal at four successive Olympics.
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Nicola Adams fought her way into the history books when she became the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title. Despite having been beaten twice in previous world championship finals by her opponent Ren Cancan, Adams overcame the Chinese fighter 16-7 in the gold medal bout.
“I just like being the normal Nikki Adams – walking the dog, doing day-to-day things. It’s probably going to change but I’m going to try to stay like that.”
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Sarah Storey’s Paralympic career reached new heights in London as she added four cycling titles for a British record-equalling total of 11 gold medals.
“I can’t quite believe that I’ve been so lucky to win in my home country with my home crowd.”
Her overall total of 22 medals is as many as the Olympic record held by swimmer Michael Phelps and come from two sports. She previously won five golds in swimming before switching to cycling for the 2008 Games.
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