BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016: who is favourite for the award?

This year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award is set to be the most fiercely contested in years. Team GB’s most successful ever Olympic games has produced a whole host of deserving names for the award; some new and some familiar. The winner will be decided a public vote in December but, in the mean time, who do the bookies make the favourite to lift the iconic trophy? Callum Davis looks at the leading contenders.

As GB’s Olympic heroes return, who will win this year’s SPOTY award?

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah does not believe he will ever finish in the top three for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 33-year-old is one of the bookmakers’ main contenders this year after he emulated Finnish track great Lasse Viren by retaining his Olympic 5,000 metres and 10,000m titles in Brazil.


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Every medal won by Team GB at the Rio Olympics
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But despite his achievements at London 2012 and Rio 2016, Farah – who finished fourth four years ago – feels he is unlikely to be in the running.

“I’ve never been in the top three of Sports Personality. And I won’t be in the top three again.


Mo Farah

Mo Farah

Credit:
GETTY IMAGES

“You have just got to accept what it is. What drives me is winning medals and going out there and enjoy it.

“The public do get behind me. And whenever I compete in Britain they give me massive support.”

Following GB’s success at the Rio Olympics there are a number of contenders for this year’s award. In fact, it’s one of the tightest contests in ages.


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Most memorable moments from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
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Farah did the ‘double double’, Andy Murray won Wimbledon and a second Olympic gold and Jason Kenny now has six Olympic golds from three Games, – more than Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Bradley Wiggins – after winning three in Rio.

His partner – Laura Trott – has won four Olympic gold medals, more than any other British woman, after claiming two in Brazil, while GB gymnast Max Whitlock also became a double Olympic champion. He delivered the first ever British gold in his sport and became the first Briton to win two individual golds on the same day in the process.


Max Whitlock

Max Whitlock

Credit:
GETTY IMAGES

Katherine Grainger become Britain’s most decorated female Olympian with a silver in the rowing double skulls, while Nicola Adams, Nick Skelton, Wiggins, Alastair Brownlee, Adam Peaty, Jade Jones, Jack Laugher, Justin Rose, Liam Smith, Giles Scott, Joe Clarke, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning and all the other gold-medal winners in Brazil are in with a shout.

And let’s not forget Chris Froome. He may not have won gold in Rio – he had to settle for bronze – but he is now a three-time Tour de France champion. And Danny Willett became the first Briton to win the Masters in 20 years.

By the time this year’s SPOTY takes place on December 18, Lewis Hamilton may have won his third Formula One title and there’s a chance for the European team to hold the Ryder Cup for the ninth time in 11 stagings. But let’s deal with the present.

As of right now, who will you pick to win this year’s SPOTY?

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Laura Trott’s sister criticised as ‘bitter’ and ‘jealous’ after TV interview

Viewers of Good Morning Britain have criticised Laura Trott’s sister Emma following a TV interview in which she was judged to appear “bitter” and “jealous” of her sibling’s success at the Olympics.

Laura and fiancé Jason Kenny took gold medals in the omnium and the keirin respectively on Tuesday, swelling the GB riders’ medal tally at the Games to 12 in total, six of them gold. The couple are now Great Britain’s most successful male and female Olympians in terms of gold medals won.

However, when the older Trott sister was invited onto ITV1’s breakfast programme on Wednesday to discuss her sister’s triumph, viewers took issue with her perceived lack of enthusiasm.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins and Ranvir Singh, Emma said she’s shed a few tears watching her sister’s latest win in Rio – but some of her other comments sparked a harsh backlash on social media.

“The amount of times she got on her heels,” Emma said of Laura, “I still think, ‘How on earth is she the one who made it to become Olympic champion?'”

“Laura’s not worked any harder than anybody else has, everyone works hard to get to the level in which them 24 riders were at, but it was the hours of sacrifice, not just that we made from not going to school discos or going out with friends or the sacrifices that mum and dad made for us.”

“The amount of times that Laura kicked up a fuss on hills because dad and I were dropping her [and she said], ‘if you don’t slow down I’m going to ring mum, she can come and pick me up’. And I think back to them moments and I think how on earth was she the one that made it to be Olympic champion you know.”

Asked how Laura and Jason will deal with being in the media spotlight following their success, Emma said: “Yes they’ll be noticed, but will they be noticed anymore than after London? Probably not.”

Laura responded to a slew of comments disparaging her Emma, saying on Twitter: “Reading some nasty messages re my sister this morning. Bitter, Jealous? If only you people knew!

“She is one of my biggest supporters. To me I am just her sister! I am not a ‘hero’ a ‘celebrity’. She’s been there for me through thick and thin!!

“She was my idol growing up.. Yes she was working while I raced! I’m sure a lot of people who care about me were? I love my sister to the moon, so all u nasty people #shh I love you @EmmaTrott1989 thats all that matters right X.”

Usain Bolt and Andy Murray win gold again while Wayde van Niekerk sets new world record – What you missed last night at Rio 2016

Six things you probably slept through

1. Bolt makes it a magnificent seven golds

If there were any doubts, it took less than 10 seconds – 9.81, to be exact – for Usain Bolt to erase them.

He is the Olympic champion once again.

On a muggy Sunday night in Rio, the Jamaican superstar won the signature event in track and field in a runaway and added this line to his already gleaming resume: first person to capture three straight 100-metre titles at the Olympics.


Bolt was celebrating - pointing at his chest with his thumb - before he crossed the finish line

Bolt was celebrating – pointing at his chest with his thumb – before he crossed the finish line

The 6-foot-5 sprinter overcame his typically slow unfurling from the blocks, gradually worked up speed, caught American Justin Gatlin with 40 metres left and was celebrating – pointing at his chest with his thumb – before he crossed the finish line.

Bolt beat Gatlin, who was greeted by the fans with raucous boos, by .08 seconds. Andre de Grasse of Canada won the bronze.


Usain Bolt's press conference ends in a rather unusual way...

Usain Bolt’s press conference ends in a rather unusual way…
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Chants of “Bolt, Bolt, Bolt” rang out from the near-capacity stadium. The show lived up to its billing.

No, this wasn’t Bolt at his fastest – or even his best. The man who burst onto the scene with his hot-dogging world record eight years ago in Beijing turns 30 after these Olympics and says these will be his last. 

2. Murray retains gold 

After a gruelling five set match against the imposing Juan Martin del Potro, Murray finished triumphant, winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to retain his Olympic title. In doing so, he becomes the first player ever to win back-to-back singles golds in successive Olympic Games – a wonderful end to a successful day for British athletes. 


Murray celebrates after winning his second successive Olympic Gold singles title

Murray celebrates after winning his second successive Olympic Gold singles title

In true Murray style, the four-hour battle was turbulent, and not without obscenity from the fiery Scot (for which he was warned). The match swung in Murray’s favour and back again, as the players broke and conceded in almost equal measure. There were moments of brilliance as well of sure signs of exhaustion after a long competition for both players, despite the absence of some of the other top players. 

By the end, both players were in tears. An emotional but deserved victory for our British flag bearer. 

3. Cavendish in third place coming into final day of omnium

Mark Cavendish rode a wave of British track cycling gold to put himself in contention in the omnium last night with three disciplines remaining.

Tour de France stage specialist Cavendish produced a scintillating individual pursuit, going second fastest, 11sec quicker than at the Track Cycling World Championships in London  earlier this year when a poor ride in the discipline left his Rio selection hopes in danger.


Cavendish goes into the second and final day of the omnium in third place

Cavendish goes into the second and final day of the omnium in third place

However, he was cursing himself when he could finish only seventh in the elimination race when looking comfortable.

He will go into Monday in third place, however, with an eight-point deficit to make up in the final three events, the flying lap, the time trial and the points race.

The omnium is the ultimate track cycling test with the disciplines requiring sprinting prowess and endurance.


Rio 2016 highlights of day 9: The golds keep coming for team GB

Rio 2016 highlights of day 9: The golds keep coming for team GB
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Points are awarded depending on where riders place in each event with the rider with the most points winning gold.

And in case you missed it earlier in the evening; Jason Kenny beat Callum Skinner to claim gold in the men’s sprint final. 

4. 400m final

Bursting out of the blocks in lane eight, Wayde van Niekerk didn’t see another runner during the entire Olympic 400-meter final.

The South African sprinter broke Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record, leaving two of the greatest one-lap runners of this era in his dust. Van Niekerk finished in 43.03 seconds – 0.15 seconds faster than Johnson ran in 1999. To think, Johnson’s mark was considered one of the almost untouchable records in track.


Wayde van Niekerk sets a new world record in the 400m 

Wayde van Niekerk sets a new world record in the 400m 

Credit:
 Gregory Bull/ AP

Moments after passing the finish line, Van Niekerk put the multi-colored South African flag around his shoulders and took off his spikes. As he did so, he pointed at the clock to make sure everyone saw his time.

Hard to miss. It was that impressive.

Even Johnson thought so. In comments for the BBC – he’s a track and field TV analyst for them – Johnson said: “Oh my God! From lane eight, a world record. He took it out so quick. I have never seen anything from 200 to 400 like that.

“That was a massacre from Wayde van Niekerk. He just put those guys away.”

5. USA win first weightlifting medal for 16 years

Sarah Robles won the United States’ first weightlifting medal for 16 years last night with bronze in the women’s over-75-kilogram category.

China’s Meng Suping won gold with 130 kilograms in the snatch and 177 in the clean and jerk for a total of 307, one more than second-placed Kim Kuk Hyang of North Korea.


Sarah Robles won the United States' first weightlifting medal for 16 years

Sarah Robles won the United States’ first weightlifting medal for 16 years

Robles lifted 286 total, with 126 in the snatch and 160 in the clean and jerk.

After making her final lift, Robles sank onto her knees and gave a roar of delight before blowing a kiss to the crowd.

The last U.S. medal winners in weightlifting were Tara Nott and Cheryl Haworth when the women’s events debuted in 2000. The last U.S. men’s medals were in 1984.

6. Holland through to hockey semi-finals

Holland defeated Australia 4-0 in a men’s field hockey quarter-final match between the world’s top two teams on last night.


The Netherlands beat Australia 4-0 to carry them through to the semi finals

Holland beat Australia 4-0 to carry them through to the semi finals

The second-ranked Dutch advanced to play neighbor Belgium in a Tuesday semi-final. Belgium defeated India 3-1 earlier in the day.

The top-ranked Australians had won medals in six consecutive Olympics, claiming gold in 2004 and bronze in 2008 and 2012.

Yesterday’s best pictures

Riozinho!

Interview of the week

Unquestionably, it must be RTE’s live chat with Gary and Paul O’Donovan – winners of Ireland’s first-ever rowing medal, who took silver in the lightweight double sculls. If there is a finer opening to a TV interview than “Hi lads, how are things, what’s the craic? We’re in Rio!”, then the world is yet to hear it.

Tweet of the week

Team GB’s rowing hero Helen Glover realises that an Olympic gold medal is not quite as priceless as we all thought.

Quip of  the day

This, from Richard Osman during the athletics coverage, takes some beating: “I love hearing Colin Jackson commentate. He’s overcome so many hurdles.”

Commentary of the day

“You can hand water [to the athletes] but…you need to hold it up on the palm of your hand or your hand blocks their hand on the way through. And the water bottles are very squishy”

Paula Radcliffe gets seriously technical on the BBC as the women’s marathon runs into some comical bother at the water stations

Olympic outfit of the day

Kuwaiti skeet shooter Abdullah Al-Rashidi – competing as an independent athlete in Rio – has finally won a medal at his sixth Games.


Abdullah Al-Rashidi

Sharp shooter? Yes. Gunner, er, no.

Credit:
AP

Oddly, he won his bronze medal while wearing an Arsenal football shirt. Is he a lifelong Gunner, in every sense? “I don’t know, I just bought it”, said the 52-year-old. Anyway, it’s a triumph for Olympic perseverance and Premier League marketing.

Stats of the day

22 – Jeff Henderson’s long-jump victory for the USA extended the Olympic record for the most gold medals by one country in a single event in any sport.

58 – France’s Olympic heavyweight judo gold medallist Teddy Riner retained his title and extended a quite remarkable unbeaten sequence – the 6ft 8in giant has not lost to anybody since 2010.

112 – Years since the Olympics last saw a gold medallist for golf. Justin Rose will surely treasure the moment just as much as his US Open title.

Four events not to miss today

Women’s swimming, 10km marathon: 1pm

Team GB’s Keri-Anne Payne finished just outside of the medals at the 2012 games and will be hoping to make it onto the podium in Rio. She is competing against Brazil’s own Poliana Okimoto and will be taking place at the picturesque Fort Copacabana.

Women’s equestrian, dressage freestyle: 2pm 

Having already led team GB to a silver medal in the team dressage event (Germany won gold) – alongside teammates Spencer Wilton, Fiona Bigwood and Carl Hester- Charlotte Dujardin will be looking to defend her 2012 Olympic title. 


Charlotte Dujardin has already won a silver medal in the team dressage event

Charlotte Dujardin has already won a silver medal in the team dressage event

Credit:
REUTERS

Men’s track cycling, omnium: 2.21pm-10.15pm 

The omnium, consisting of six events over two days with a point-for-place scoring system, concludes today; time trial 2.21- 2.48pm, flying lap 8.00-8.24pm, 40km points race and medal decider 9.23-10.15pm.  Mark Cavendish enters day two in third place and will be looking to bag himself a medal. 

Women’s track cycling, omnium: 2.59pm

Meanwhile, the women’s event kicks off with three time gold medallist Laura Trott looking to repeat her successes. The USA’s Sarah Hammer is one to look out for.

How the medal table stands and how Team GB is doing 

Today’s schedule 

What’s next for Sir Bradley Wiggins? Rowing the Atlantic with James Cracknell, perhaps?

Fresh from his victory in Rio yesterday, in which he became the first Briton to win eight Olympic medals, Bradley Wiggins celebrated in style, enjoying a night out with family and friends.

Among those celebrating with him were wife Cath, and James Cracknell, with whom he seems to have been planning his next adventure. Posting a photo of the two of them together on Instagram, Wiggins included the caption: “We rowing the Atlantic or not Crackers?”

A seemingly unimpressed Cath replied saying: “NO you are not!” She later deleted her comment – so perhaps she’s coming around to the idea?


Wiggins Instagram

Cracknell won two Olympic gold medals as part of the Britain’s Coxless Fours rowing team in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.  After retiring from professional rowing, and in search of a new challenge, Cracknell rowed across the Atlantic in 2006 with TV presenter Ben Fogle. They filmed their experience for the BBC in a programme called Through Hell and High Water


Sir Bradley Wiggins sticks tongue out during national anthem

Sir Bradley Wiggins sticks out tongue during national anthem
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Whether Wiggins is seriously considering following in his friend’s footsteps and joining him for a gruelling Atlantic crossing, he’s surely earned himself a few nights out as his 16-year Olympic career draws to a close with him having become the most decorated British Olympian of all time.

A photo posted by Sir Wiggo (@bradwiggins) on

A rest, however, won’t be on the card for a while: he’ll be taking part in the Tour of Britain next month and then a few Six Day events this autumn.

‘If I hit someone with my serve, they would have to go to hospital’: Serena Williams gives hilarious interview

Serena Williams always gives great interviews – she says exactly what is on her mind and comes out with great one-liners almost constantly.

This is no different in her 73 Questions for Vogue Magazine, in which she revealed the weirdest thing that has happened to her on court, the silliest thing she has been penalised for, and exactly how she crushes the competition.

One of her funniest lines was when she nonchalantly said what would happen if she hit someone with her serve.

Ms Williams said: “OK, we would have to immediately stop everything, call 911 and rush them to the hospital”.

This is a good reminder not to stand near her when she is in the zone. 

She was also full of praise for her sister, Venus. When asked who her dream doubles partner would be, she said: “Honestly, I can’t get much better than Venus”.

The interview was full of smiles, laughs and jokes from the tennis star; she did a little dance when asked what song always gets her dancing. (It’s Rihanna’s ‘Work’, if you’re interested).

When asked what the most ridiculous thing she has been penalised for was, she sighed and said: “Oh my gosh, I once lost a point because I yelled ‘come on’ too loud”.

Ms Williams got serious when she recommended a feminist book; she said the book which has made the most lasting impact on her was ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg.

And she also showed humility. When asked what she was the worst at, she said “basketball”. She could probably still beat most people, however.

The tennis star also revealed her craziest fan moment – and it is quite the story. She said: “This guy in Australia comes in the court naked, runs in front of me and Venus and just starts grinding. It was just creepy!”.

The best part of the interview is perhaps when she gave a look at how exactly she crushes the competition. You should watch the video if you want the full effect.

Once she was handed the racket, she said: “I think it’s really difficult to hit a drop shot, because a lot of the players now are really fast, and they get to the ball easy, and you have to have a lot of disguise on the shot.

“So, if you’re doing it off the forehand, you wind up like you’re going to hit a great forehand, and then at the last minute you drop it and it goes barely over the net and it leaves your opponent stumbling”.

And when she was asked to describe her style in one word? “Confident”. 


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Wimbledon 2016: watch Serena Williams lift women’s singles trophy
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