The annual gathering to celebrate the past twelve months of sporting excellence in the world of British sport (with a sprinkling of overseas’ talent thrown in) at the two and a half hour televised event that is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards' ceremony, takes place this evening in Glasgow before an expected 12,000 crowd at the SSE Hydro.

‘SPOTY’ as it has commonly become known serves as a showcase of the year’s best sporting action, with a focus on British success and failure, and interviews with the main protagonists. To win the prestigious main award itself is something that many young sportspeople aspire to achieve during their careers, as a marker that they can indeed be classed among the best this nation has ever produced across all sports. At the end of the night the top three as voted for by the public will be announced in reverse order, before the winner is finally known and receives the iconic silver four-turret lens camera award, the award that tennis champion Andy Murray deservedly took last year.

The bookmakers have installed the golfer Rory McIlroy as favourite to prove victorious after a stellar year in golf, with two major titles and a key part in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory to his name, not to mention claiming the World Number one ranking. If successful, he would be the first golfer to be named as the winner since Sir Nick Faldo in 1989. Not far off the likely pace is the Formula One title winner Lewis Hamilton, but in total there are ten sporting 'giants'  shortlisted for the main award, spread across a typically diverse selection of sports, including able bodied and Paralympians. Besides McIlroy and Hamilton, there is the new Galactico at Real Madrid of Gareth Bale, stars from gymnastics and swimming at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Max Whitlock and Adam Peaty, besides the heroines from the Winter Olympics of Lizzy Yarnold (skeleton) and Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher with her guide Charlotte Evans. To complete the shortlist there are three further sporting greats in top boxer Carl Froch, double Olympic champion for dressage Charlotte Dujardin and the indomitable distance athlete Jo Pavey,

It promises to be a night of glitz and celebration as these sporting stars get the opportunity to mix with each other in a truly unique atmosphere. Expect plenty of coverage from an amazing twelve months that has witnessed a men’s football World Cup, Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. A distinctly Scottish flavour is expected to run throughout the show which includes performances by the group Simple Minds, the violinist Nicola Benedetti and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Besides the main award there will be seven additional awards presented during the night including ‘Team of the Year’, ‘Overseas Personality’ and the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ that is believed to be being presented to the proud Scot ,Sir Chris Hoy this year, in recognition of his six Olympic gold medals and an illustrious cycling career. No less deserving will the winners of the ‘Helen Rollason Award’, ‘Coach Award’, ‘Young Sports Personality of the Year’ and ‘Unsung Hero Award’.

The historic event will be celebrating its 60th anniversary and the past winners read like a who’s who of the top names in British sport over the decades since its inauguration in 1954, when the legendary distance runner Sir Chris Chataway was the first winner.

Through the ‘60s such star names as Sir Stirling Moss, England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore and Olympic hurdles’ champion David Hemery were among the winners.

Into the ‘70s, Sir Henry Cooper claimed his second award in 1970 (after winning it in 1967), Princess Anne became the first Royal to feature on the Roll of Honour (a feat emulated by her daughter Zara in 2006), and the head to head battles between athletes Steve Ovett and Lord Sebastian Coe saw them also trade ‘SPOTY’ awards at the end of the decade.

Into the 1980s and the stardust was no less glittering as Sir Ian Botham, Daley Thompson, Torvill and Dean (the only partnership to win the top award) and Nigel Mansell were all bestowed with the honour.

England’s near miss in 1990 saw Paul Gascoigne’s tears ‘rewarded’ with the statue, Damon Hill was twice a winner (1994 and 1996), and athletics provided three of the winners in the 1990s in Liz McColgan, Linford Christie and Jonathan Edwards.

Into the new century, the ‘00s brought success for Sir Steve Redgrave, David Beckham, Jonny Wilkinson, Andrew Flintoff and Hoy among others.

Given the shortlist this year, whoever adds their name to such an illustrious list of past winners will have deserved their inclusion among them.



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