The 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) Awards are still a way off but that hasn’t stopped us from looking at who this year’s contenders might be. We also have the latest odds for the award, courtesy of Paddy Power.
The shortlist for the award has not been announced for the award ceremony just yet. It starts off with all of the potential winners and that then gets whittled down to a shortlist as the ceremony approaches. The winner is determined on the night by a public telephone and online vote.
Lewis Hamilton won the award in 2020. One of F1’s all-time great drivers, he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles with his fourth consecutive championship in 2020.
In a public vote, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson finished second while jockey Hollie Doyle was third.
With the 2021 sporting calendar as back to normal as it currently can be, there are going to be a lot of contenders for the 2021 award. With Euro 2020 and the Olympics both taking place competition will be fierce. So just who is currently in the running?
When Is SPOTY?
Sunday 12th December 2021
Who’s In The Running?
Emma Raducanu – 1/12
The brightest star in British tennis, Emma Raducanu made history by being the first wildcard to ever win a Grand Slam and she did at the US Open on September 11th 2021.
The 18-year-old shot to fame at Wimbledon, just weeks after collecting her A-Level results, and quickly became the hope for British tennis glory. Her victory over Leyla Fernandez catapulted her up the ranks and straight into poll position for this year’s Sports Personality of the year award.
Tom Daley – 9/2
Tom Daley is the British diver and Olympic gold medallist in the men’s synchronized 10-metre platform event at the 2020 Olympics. He is also a double world champion in the FINA 10-metre platform event, an event he first won in 2009 when he was just fifteen.
He won Olympic medals in the 2012 platform event, the 2016 synchronized event, and the 2020 platform event, making him the first British diver to win four Olympic medals. All that and he’s just as popular for his knitting pics on Instagram!
Lewis Hamilton – 12/1
The 2020 winner could be back again if his winning ways continue. He holds a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles (tied with Michael Schumacher), and holds the records for the most wins (98), pole positions (100), and podium finishes (171), amongst others.
He was also knighted in the 2021 New Years Honours and is now Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Adam Peaty – 12/1
One of the stars of the 2020 Olympics, British swimmer Adam Peaty won his first gold medal in the 100 metre breaststroke at the 2016 Summer Olympics. It was the first by a male British swimmer in 24 years.
Five years later and he retained the title at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in 2021, the first British swimmer ever to retain an Olympic title. A phenomenal talent, he is also an eight-time World Champion, a sixteen-time European Champion and a three-time Commonwealth Champion.
Sarah Storey – 25/1
Storey is a British Paralympic athlete in cycling and swimming and six times British national track champion.
Her total of 28 Paralympic medals including 17 gold medals makes her the most successful (by gold medals) and most decorated (by total medals) British Paralympian of all time as well as one of the most decorated Paralympic athletes of all time.
Mark Cavendish – 33/1
With one of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history Mark Cavendish has garnered an enormous number of new followers.
Considering he had been talking about possible retirement, with no teams appearing to be interested in hiring him after a long spell in the wilderness, his stage wins in this year’s Tour De France are a major achievement. While he didn’t win the Tour de France outright, he was certainly one of the best riders that took part this year.
Raheem Sterling – 66/1
The Manchester City sticker had plenty of detractors going into Euro 2020 but quickly silenced them with his epic performances in the group games.
Fast on his feet and well able to find the back of the net, he is one of the most consistent players on the English squad. But is it enough to win the Sports Personality of the Year in 2021?
SPOTY Outsiders 2021
Harry Kane – 100/1
It may have taken him a few games to get off the mark in Euro 2020 but once Kane found the back of the net against Germany, he was on a roll.
The captain of the England football team, Kane plays Premier League football for Tottenham Hotspurs and is the sixth-highest goal scorer for his country.
Josh Taylor – 100/1
Could a boxer win the Sports Personality of the year in 2021? In with the best chance is Josh Taylor, the undisputed light-welterweight champion, having held the WBA, IBF, and Ring magazine titles since 2019 and the WBC and WBO titles after defeating José Ramírez in May 2021.
Past SPOTY Winners
Lewis Hamilton – 2020
One of F1’s all-time great drivers, he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles with his fourth consecutive championship in 2020.
He was also knighted in 2021 and at the time of writing this is second in the Formula 1 Drivers Standings behind Max Verstappen.
Ben Stokes – 2019
An incredible 2019 for Ben Stokes saw him with the award after being an integral part of England’s Cricket World Cup-winning side and the Ashes squad. Who will ever forget those incredible performances at Lords and Headingley? Watch the moment Ben Stokes was announced as the winner.
Geraint Thomas – 2018
The 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas rode on a wave of public support to win the award. He was the fourth cyclist since 2008 to win the award after Sir Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Mo Farah – 2017
The Olympic hero had been a 50/1 outsider with bookmakers to win the award, with the boxer Anthony Joshua considered the overwhelming favourite. Perhaps an indication that any of the contenders can take home the 2020 award.
Sports Personality History and Trends
Sir Christopher John Chataway was the first winner of the award, back in 1954. This came following a Gold Medal in the ‘3 Miles’ event at the 1954 Commonwealth Games.
Bobby Moore was the first footballer to win the award in 1966, being an integral part of the first and only England football team to win a major honour clearly helped his chances. England will be one of the favourites to win the 2021 European Championships, so several players could fancy their chances of winning the 2021 award.
Andy Murray currently has the most award wins with three. He won it last in 2016 when he won an Olympic Gold Medal alongside the Wimbledon title.
Since its inception, 18 SPOTY winners have come from the Athletics world, and only five winners have been footballers. There has also been an obvious shortage of female recipients of the award so will that change this year?
Looking through the list of winners, there does seem to be specific visible trends. Being part of a successful team or event can undoubtedly increase your chances. Bradley Wiggins took home the 2012 award, but that could have gone to any of Team GB’s heroes from the 2012 Olympics. Andrew Flintoff won in 2005 after playing an important role in England regaining the Ashes.
Tips for Sports Personality of the Year
Wait until much closer to the ceremony to pick a sports personality to back. The outcome of Euro 2020 and the performance of Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics will more than likely determine who will take the award this year.
The BBC Sports Team of the Year Award is also presented on the night. The current holders are Liverpool FC. Unlike the main award, it’s not decided by public vote.
With many sporting competitions set to be decided over the next few months, there is plenty of time for contenders to emerge. With back to back semi-finals in major tournaments, the England Football team will fancy their chances of lifting silverware this year.
Head to Paddy Power for all the latest odds on the 2021 Sports Personality of the Year.
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