With 2021 drawing to a close, there is a lot for sports fans in the United Kingdom to reflect on this year. England, Scotland and Wales featured in the delayed Euro 2020, with the Three Lions reaching the final, Team GB did well at the Olympics, winning 65 medals, Chelsea were crowned champions of Europe and stadiums, racecourses and venues reopened their doors after a lengthy period without spectators.
Of course, we will get a chance to truly remember the greatest moments of the last 12 months thanks to the upcoming Sports Personality of the Year ceremony — which will take place at MediaCity in Salford on December 19th — while also giving the top sportspersons the recognition they deserve after all their hard work.
That said, read on as we take a look at some of the top contenders for this year’s main award…
Unsurprisingly the heavy favourite in the Sports Personality of the Year 2021 odds, it is hard to look beyond tennis ace Emma Raducanu ahead of this year’s award ceremony. At just 19 years of age, Raducanu won over the hearts of the nation after a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon, which was ended prematurely due to breathing difficulties on court.
However, at the US Open there would be no abrupt ending to her fairy tale as she went from the first round of qualifying all the way to the final without even losing a set before beating her Canadian counterpart Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows. If Raducanu is to win the award, she would be the youngest recipient since footballer Michael Owen (19) in 1998 and one of the youngest winners ever.
Another person who would be a worthy winner, Tom Daley finally stood on the Olympic podium at the Tokyo Games in the summer with a gold medal draped around his neck. It was the 27-year-old’s fourth time representing Team GB in diving at the Olympic Games, and after having to settle for bronze in the 10-metre in London and bronze in the 10m synchronisation in Brazil, Daley’s perseverance paid off.
With partner Matty Lee, who is currently starring on I’m A Celeb, the duo narrowly beat China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen to win gold — edging out their rivals by little more than a point. Daley went on to win his second bronze in the 10-metre later in the Games. It’s fair to say that there certainly wouldn’t be any arguments if he was crowned SPOTY!
In with a shot of matching Andy Murray’s successive awards in 2015 and 2016 and equalling the Scot’s record of three SPOTYs is 2020’s winner Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes Formula 1 driver was given the award last December as he matched Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships, while he also surpassed the German’s total grand prix victories (91).
In contention for a fifth successive F1 title, Hamilton definitely has the grounds to be in the running for the SPOTY award. However, it’s hard to see him taking home the accolade ahead of the aforementioned contenders. We could see him feature in the top three for the fourth year in a row though!
Often heavily backed to win the award in the SPOTY tips, many would argue that Tyson Fury should have one or two Sports Personality trophies on his mantlepiece by now. But his relationship with the organisation has been tempestuous to say the least.
In 2015 there was a petition to have him removed from the shortlist due to prior controversial remarks and last year, he requested to be taken out of contention after beating Deontay Wilder to win the world heavyweight title — which the BBC declined. Another victory over the Bronze Bomber will likely see him feature again. However, we doubt he’ll be in the running for the overall award.