Meet the SPOTY contenders


Summer Sports

Meet the SPOTY contenders

17 December 2015 / 11:15

The countdown is on to see who will be crowned this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Belfast on Sunday night.
Among the 12-strong shortlist, an impressive eight are British athletes who could all catch the headlines next August at the Olympic Games in Rio.
And, with the result decided after a public phone and online vote, what better way to help decide your favourite than by getting to know their backgrounds a bit better?

Lizzie Armitstead


Born in the market town of Otley, West Yorkshire, where she attended Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Lizzie took up cycling in 2004 after British Cycling’s Olympic Talent Team visited her school.

Having graduated through the British Cycling system, Armitstead’s brought an end to a highly successful international track career in 2009 to concentrate on the road

And it paid dividends for the 26-year-old as she who took Olympic silver at London 2012, while this year she defended her World Cup title before triumphing at the road World Championships in Richmond, USA.

Jessica Ennis-Hill


Growing up in Sheffield, where she attended Sharrow Primary School before moving into King Ecgbert Secondary School, Jess’ love of athletics was sparked while attending local camps during the school holidays.

She has since gone on to become one of the Great Britain’s leading athletes, overcoming incredible home pressure to clinch Olympic heptathlon gold at London 2012.

Proving that no mountain is too high, Jess capped a remarkable return to international action this summer following injury and the birth of her son to pick up her second world title in Beijing.

Find out more about Jess’ Homegrown Heroes profile here

Mo Farah


Born in Somalia, Mo moved to the London at the age of six. He was unable to speak much English but it didn’t take him long to showcase his talent for running which was quickly spotted by his PE teacher at Isleworth and Syon school.

An avid Arsenal fan, Mo ran for Newham and Essex Beagles athletics club, and trained at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham until 2011 before switching to train in Portland, Oregon.

Already a double Olympic champion from London 2012, Mo added to his impressive medal collection in 2015 when he successfully defended his world 5000m and 10,000m titles.

Find out more about Mo’s  Homegrown Heroes profile here

Chris Froome


Brought up in Kenya and South Africa, Chris has competed for Great Britain since 2008 due to his father’s and grandparents’ country of birth.

Having started out riding on two wheels through townships and past wild animals in Kenya, Chris has established himself as one of cycling’s leading riders.

And this year he made history by becoming the first Briton claim two Tour de France titles when he added to his 2013 yellow jersey.

Andy Murray


Growing up in Dunblane, Scotland and attending Dunblane Primary School, Andy was asked to train at Rangers Football Club’s Centre of Excellence aged 15 but he declined to focus on his tennis career.

He then decided to move to Barcelona, Spain where he honed his skills before turning professional in 2005, winning Olympic gold and the US Open seven years later, followed by the Wimbledon title in 2013.

In 2015 Andy started the year by making the Australian Open final and ended it with a slice of history when he helped Great Britain lift the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years, while he also finished the season as world number two for the first time in his career.

Find out more about Andy’s Homegrown Heroes profile here

Adam Peaty


Born in Uttoxeter, Adam trains at the City of Derby swimming club, where he is coached by former Olympic swimmer Melanie Marshall.

He came to prominence in 2014 when he won double gold and silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before taking four gold medals from the European Championships in Berlin.

But 2015 proved to be even better as Adam became the first man to complete the world 50m and 100m breaststroke double – setting world records in both – and helped GB to gold in the mixed 4x100m medley relay in another world-record time.

Greg Rutherford


Greg grew up in Bletchley, Milton Keynes where he attended Two Mile Ash Primary School and then Denbigh School and played several sports as a youngster, including football, rugby and badminton.

His lightning pace as a striker even attracted the attentions of Aston Villa when he was 14 although Greg’s heart was already in athletics.

Olympic long jump gold arrived at London 2012, before European and Commonwealth titles followed in 2014 and he cemented his place in history this summer when he completed the set at the World Championships.

Find out more about Greg’s Homegrown Heroes profile here

Max Whitlock

Max Whitlock

Originally from Hemel Hempstead, Max has been flying the flag for South Essex Gymnastics Club with his performances on the international stage.

Since winning three medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Max has gone from strength to strength, including winning team and pommel horse bronze at London 2012.

Despite suffering from glandular fever at the start of 2015, the 22-year-old enjoyed another stellar year, becoming the first British man to win world gymnastics gold as he took the pommel horse title as well as picking up team and floor silver in Glasgow.

Find out more about Max’s Homegrown Heroes profile here

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