Forget 1966 – London’s Olympic year of 2012 is the greatest ever in the history of British Sport. That is why winning this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Award will carry extra significance for the winner.
Simply getting nominated is an achievement in itself this year and the BBC’s shortlist for the Top 12 is a remarkable roll call of extraordinary sporting heroes. Britain can be proud whoever gets the people’s vote. And we could genuinely make a strong case for every one of these incredible men and women.
The most emotional triumph for me was watching Sir Chris Hoy make it six Gold medals. But this was the year that his good friend Bradley Wiggins put the cherry on top by winning the Tour de France.
It has been a traumatic year for the sport following the exposure of Lance Armstrong as a drugs cheat. But Wiggins and the rest of our great British cycling stars are now deservedly the envy of the rest of the world – and Wiggo this year stands out from the crowd, not just for his sporting achievements, but also as a wonderful personality with style, poise and an impressive aura that makes him the pride of 2012.
Age: 30 Sport: Boxing – First woman to win an Olympic boxing title
Age: 35 Sport: Sailing – fourth straight Gold made him most successful Olympic sailor
Age: 26 Sport: Athletics – Olympic poster girl set three personal bests on way to Heptathlon Gold
Age: 29 Sport: Athletics – first Briton to win Olympic Gold in both 5,000m & 10,000m at the same Games
Age: 37 Sport: Rowing – struck Gold in rowing after three silvers at successive Olympic Games
Sir Chris Hoy
Age: 36 Sport: Cycling – emotionally made it a British record six Olympic Gold medals
Age: 23 Sport: Golf- youngest winner of US PGA Championship since Seve ballesteros and a Ryder Cup winner
Age: 25 Sport: Tennis – ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a Grand Glam champion in epic US Open final after Gold at the Olympics
Age: 18 Sport: Swimming – won two Paralympic Golds to add to the two she secured as a 14-year-old four years earlier.
Age: 35 Sport: Cycling – four cycling titles at Paralympics to complete a British record-equalling total of 11 gold medals.
Age: 33 Sport: Athletics – clean sweep of four gold medals at Paralympics for the ‘Weirwolf’
Age: 32 Sport: Cycling – first Brit to win Tour de France and then took his fourth Olympic Gold