Why the BBC Sports Personality Award is still relevant

Why the BBC Sports Personality Award is still relevant

Andy Murray was crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a second time on Sunday 20th December 2015. Taking over the crown from 2014’s winner Lewis Hamilton, the Scotsman was rewarded for the role he played in the historic Davis Cup win for Great Britain. It is a remarkable achievement for Murray to win the award twice in three years and it’s hard to argue with the public’s choice. However, is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award still an important accolade, or is it just a meaningless celebrity showcase? We thought we’d chuck our oar in… Today’s sportsmen face different pressures to their predecessors Few would deny that sport in the 21st Century is a completely different phenomenon when compared to the past. Nowadays, virtually everything a sportsperson does is analysed, scrutinised and released to the mass media. News breaks across a variety of sources 24 hours a day. No act or comment can go unnoticed. Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram mean that our sporting idols can speak directly to the public, removing the previously imposed filters that official interviews entailed. It is commonly believed that sports stars, particularly footballers, are more badly behaved nowadays than they were 30 years ago. But is this really the case? One could argue that whilst undoubtedly the “lad culture” within English football encourages a certain level of indecent behaviour, the only reason footballers nowadays have such a bad reputation is that all their antics are recorded. Whether it’s a camera phone, the glare of the paparazzi’s lenses or the constant spotlight of social media,...
Three sporting selection gambles that paid off

Three sporting selection gambles that paid off

England’s batting debacle at Lord’s last weekend prompted countless calls for change so it got us thinking about sporting selection gambles that paid off. England’s selectors eventually plumped for Jonny Bairstow for the third Ashes Test – with Alex Hales, James Taylor, Eoin Morgan and even Kevin Pietersen among those mentioned. With five centuries and an average of over 100 in the County Championship by the time of his call-up, Bairstow’s selection in favour of the out-of-form Gary Ballance was hardly controversial. Picking the big hitting Hales or Morgan would have been a braver – or possibly more reckless – option. Not to mention England outcast Pietersen. Only time will tell if England’s misfiring top order will improve, but while we are waiting to find out here are our top three sporting selection gambles that paid off. David Steele becomes England’s unlikely Ashes hero in 1975 Grey-haired Northants plodder Steele was about as unspectacular as it gets. Averaging just 31 in 12 seasons of first-class cricket, he was plucked out of obscurity after England skipper Tony Greig asked various umpires to identify the hardest batsman to dismiss in county cricket. Low and behold, Steele was thrust into the cauldron of an Ashes series, while Aussie pace duo Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson ripped through the England order in a fashion that rings some all-too-familiar bells 40 years later. Fast forward a few months and Steele averaged over 60 – making four half centuries in three Tests – and was awarded Sports Personality of the Year. Toto Schillaci wins the 1990 World Cup Golden Boot Swarthy goal poacher Salvatore “Toto”...