Sports Personality of the Year – Early Runners and Riders
It’s been another memorable summer for British sport. England exceeded all expectations in reaching a World Cup semi-final, Geraint Thomas continued the British dominance of the Tour de France, Lewis Hamilton has rediscovered his form in the race for the F1 Driver’s Championship, and Dina Asher-Smith this week announced herself as the new queen of British Athletics at the European Championships.
That can mean only one thing – the race to win this year’s Sports Personality of the Year award has been thrown wide open.
With only a few months to go until this year’s winner is crowned, who is looking in good shape to seal one of the biggest prizes in sport? Here are the early runners and riders…
Who’s your current pick for SPOTY?
Current odds with Marathonbet: 7/4
Reason he’ll win: On the list for becoming the first England player since Gary Lineker in 1986 to win a World Cup Golden Boot. Combined with another free-scoring season for Spurs, it’s perhaps no surprise Kane is currently one of the big favourites to scoop up this year’s SPOTY trophy. A rare case of a footballer popular across the board with both club and country – even Arsenal fans might vote for him.
Reason he won’t: Whilst no-one can take the Golden Boot away from him, Kane didn’t necessarily shine throughout the competition. Are there more worthy contenders?
Current odds with Marathonbet: 11/8
Reason he’ll win: The Welsh wizard surprised everyone – including his own team – by holding firm and taking the Yellow Jersey in this year’s Tour de France. It caps an incredible career for the 32-year-old, arguably outstripping even his two Olympic golds. As an unlikely champion, Thomas perhaps has the best ‘storyline’ of all the likely winners after his long career in a supporting role. Will also have the Welsh vote firmly behind him.
Reason he won’t: Cyclists have a mixed record of success in this competition, perhaps unsurprisingly given the controversies that can surround the sport. Can the Welshman fare better than four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome who has still never topped the public vote?
Current odds with Marathonbet: 6/1
Reason she’ll win: The stars are aligning for Asher-Smith to become the face of Team GB ahead of Tokyo 2020 after three golds in Berlin. She’s also got the likeability factor too which can’t be underestimated – and could add votes to her tally on the night.
Reason she won’t: Memories of this summer’s European Championships may well have faded by the time we reach December, and athletes tend to perform better in an Olympic year where the sport dominates the front and back pages.
Current odds with Marathonbet: 14/1
Reason he’ll win: Would hit a notable milestone if he can edge out Sebastian Vettel and secure a fifth Driver’s Championship. A closer title fight this year could also work in his favour. Voting also takes place just weeks after the end of the F1 season which could play into Hamilton’s hands with memories still fresh.
Reason he won’t: Voter fatigue – as a previous winner of this event, and such a consistent performer in his sport, will the interest in Hamilton’s story be there among the British public? He might have to settle for a Lifetime Achievement award later down the line.
Current odds with Marathonbet: 16/1
Reason he’ll win: If the ‘personality’ aspect of the award comes into play, there can be no more deserving winner. One of the most charismatic sports stars currently on the circuit, if he beats Alexander Povetkin at the end of the month, he will surely be one of the strongest contenders in the field.
Reason he won’t: Whilst boxers often prove popular with the voting public (five winners), their chances of winning often depend on the timing of the fight and how long it lingers in the memory. Joshua didn’t win when heavily-backed last year – could he suffer the same fate this time around?
Current odds with Marathonbet: 33/1
Reason she’ll win: A double Olympic Champion, winning gold in Pyeongchang sealed her place as the greatest Winter Olympian in British sporting history.
Reason she won’t: The timing of SPOTY can be cruel for certain athletes and the Winter Olympics now seem a lifetime ago – even if they were only in February.
Current odds with Marathonbet: 33/1
Reason he’ll win: Continues to break record after record, and currently looks the class act in his sport, with even his closest rivals simply aiming to close the gap rather than knock him off his pedestal.
Reason he won’t: Swimming remains a tough sell – Peaty would probably be a firm favourite in any other sport, but may struggle for the recognition he deserves with swimming still a relatively niche interest among the watching public outside of an Olympic year.
Who’s your early pick for 2018 Sports Personality of the Year?
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