Each year the sporting community comes together to celebrate their achievements through the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) . With an unforgettable season in cycling, it seemed the only event that could possibly compete against a second consecutive win in the awards would be the unprecedented success of the London 2012 Olympics.
Notwithstanding their accomplishments, the British voting public had other ideas. With a resounding 30% of the nation’s votes, Bradley Wiggins came up tops. He was followed by Heptathlete Olympic Gold winner, Jessica Ennis, and Tennis Ace, Andy Murray coming second and third respectively. Bradley seemed to be in awe when associated with such personalities, saying:
To be ahead of Jess and Andy, it’s probably my greatest sporting achievement.”
Was this ever in doubt?
The following morning, a sporting colleague remarked “He’s won the Tour de France and is the joint holder of winning the most Olympic Medals for our country. Yes, I’m happy with the result.” It’s refreshing to hear this from people who don’t call cycling their first sport. With so much negative news on bicycling – from doping, corruption, to silly cyclists, it’s all too easy to be cynical and fear for the popularity of the two-wheeled sport. When you take into account the viewing population of the Tour, compared to say Athletics, Rugby and Tennis, let alone Football, it’s understandable why Wiggins had butterflies and many British Cyclists were reaching for their voting phones that Sunday night. With an estimated 1.6 million votes cast on the evening, it may not represent the whole nation, but with Sir Chris Hoy winning 4 years ago; Mark Cavendish winning last year, and Wiggins crowning his 2012 yellow jersey with a SPOTY win, the acceptance of cycling as an official British Sport can no longer be in question.
Albeit, the BBC Sports website banner still doesn’t carry ‘Cycling’ as a main link!
Who knows? It’s worth noting that British Cycling’s Performance Director, and Team Sky Manager, David Brailsford was honoured a second time in 4 years as Coach of the Year. As continuing head of both team and country, further successes will not just be expected, but surely will be in his sights. As the world witnessed the women stealing the Olympic Road Race show, it would only be right to back a winning Women’s Team. Lizzie Armistead , Nicole Cooke, and Junior World Champ, Lucy Garner would certainly make a dream team.
We’re just a month away from the Tour Down Under, and with it, the possibility of having double race leaders on Team Sky. Both Froome and Wiggins are eager to chase the Maillot Jaune later in the summer. Only time and chance will tell.
Success and Security?
The good news doesn’t stop on our shores. Flanders favourite, Tom Boonen wins Belgian Sportsman of the Year. A remarkable feat, as he convincingly closes a less memorable 2011 season. Instead, Tornado Tom is looking forward and taking his team into 2013. Decathlete Hans Van Alphen, and fellow cyclist Philippe Gilbert were also in contention thanks to the voting journalists. Rest assured Gilbert won’t be too hung-up, he’s the current World Champion and has won his nation’s award before, 3 years consecutively!
Christmas for us all
Okay, so the new season is on the horizon, but for now we can still celebrate the remarkable and well-earned success of Bradley Wiggins. Thanking him for being one of the many great British athletes who have brought inspiration to us all.