The Sports Personality of the Year award (SPOTY) is back once again and with the official shortlist announced, a lot of attention will be placed on the great work of Tyson Fury in the boxing ring, Raheem Sterling on the football pitch or Emma Raducanu on the tennis court. The event is designed to recognise sporting achievement and with so much difficulty over the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will be brilliant to see a packed-out Salford MediaCity for the ceremony.
While there are plenty of worthy sportspeople in contention when it comes to the BBC sports personality of the year odds, we thought we’d look at the people who missed out on a place on the shortlist, and why we feel they may have been overlooked.
Perhaps the greatest British driver and indeed, one of Formula 1’s greatest ever driver’s, Lewis Hamilton took home the 2014 and 2020 SPOTY award but was omitted from this year’s ceremony after Max Verstappen passed Mercedes to win one of the most exciting, albeit controversial finishes to an F1 season in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton has always divided opinion when it comes to personality, with many feeling his egotistical and arrogant personality, alongside tax haven criticism have overshadowed the consistency and brilliance he has shown over the last few years. Despite appeals, Mercedes will still miss out on the World Championship, and Hamilton a place in the SPOTY shortlist — simply not able to replicate the brilliant 2020 he had where the 36-year-old equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles whilst protesting and showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Joe Root has scored over 1,000 more runs this year than England’s second-highest scoring batsman — if that isn’t enough to convince you he is England’s best cricketer at the moment, we’re really not sure what will. Root almost single-handedly carried England through the test series against Pakistan, and with the Ashes in full swing, although the coronavirus pandemic and some poor weather are doing everything in their power to prevent it, Root will once again be called upon by his country. However, he hasn’t done enough to earn a place amongst the sports personality of the year nominees 2021.
As much as England have disappointed internationally, Root has flourished, as well as putting in some stylish batting performances in the inaugural season of The Hundred, where he turned out for Trent Rockets, who reached the semi-final but were ultimately beaten by eventual winners Southern Brave.
A big part of the SPOTY nominations is the community work that an athlete does. While Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield may not have had the best season coaching Leicester Tigers’ defence, it is the work he has done raising over a million pounds for his running that certainly deserves some recognition. Sinfield ran 101 miles in 24 hours for motor neurone disease after completing seven marathons in seven days last year in aid of Rob Burrow, a former team mate who was diagnosed with the disease in 2019.
“The support along the route has been incredible right from the start. It was certainly a battle – we wanted a battle and we certainly got one.” He said: “I’m broken – I don’t know when I’ll be able to run again.
“Rob knows how much we love and care about him. For those really dark moments you have to think of Rob.”
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