Sport

Who are the Leading Contenders for the 2020 Sports Personality of the Year?

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Each and every year since 1954, the BBC polls its viewers – you, the public – and asks you to vote for the Sports Personality of the Year.

For pretty obvious reasons, 2020 has been a difficult year to celebrate sporting achievements. The shortlist in practice isn’t going to be very big.

Still, it’s worth knowing who the leading contenders are and how the bookies bet on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, so let’s take a look…

 

Lewis Hamilton

F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton is expected to land a record-equalling seventh Drivers’ Championship having already surpassed motor racing icon Michael Schumacher for most wins on the Grand Prix circuit.

This is a major achievement. Hamilton shot to fame in 2008 when winning his first title aged just 23 and has since been world champion in six of the last seven years.

He is thus the even-money favourite from the Sports Personality of the Year odds available. Hamilton has won the award before in 2014, and it would be no surprise to see him earn it again.

In addition to his continuing excellence on the track, he has also lent his support to the Black Lives Matter moment. This crusade for social equality may play its part in the thinking of voters.

 

Marcus Rashford

Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford has spent his time off the pitch campaigning for an extension to free school meals for children.

After lending his support to the scheme, he forced the British government to think again about suspending it first over the summer break and during the upcoming Christmas holidays.

You may be wondering what exactly this has to do with sport. Rashford himself benefited from free school meals growing up in Greater Manchester and clearly hasn’t forgotten his roots.

The fact that he is using his profile in this charitable way has really struck a chord with people. Low income families have benefited from his intervention that directly influenced government policy.

Rashford, whose public image is quite different to the playboy and prima donna stereotypes of the modern footballer, may just have won the hearts of the nation. He is 6/4 second-favourite to be Sports Personality of the Year.

 

Tyson Fury

World heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury cemented his return from the brink in February by winning the WBC belt from long-time titleholder Deontay Wilder in February. This was a rematch from their legendary and controversial draw in 2018.

Unlike their initial encounter when Wilder twice floored Fury, but he willed himself up off the canvas to continue and split the judges, this was one way traffic. Gone was the clever, smart, tactical boxing that the Gyspsy King had become known for.

Fury pummelled Wilder until he could stand the rain of blows no longer and his corner threw in the towel. After his struggles with depression and drugs, the comeback story of Manchester native Fury was a feel-good moment.

As with Rashford and Hamilton, there is a broader social and cultural context behind this sportsman. Fury’s own issues highlighted the importance of mental health, and he is a 15/2 chance for the 2020 Sports Personality of the Year award.

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