Meet the brilliant Brits up for SPOTY gong

Meet the brilliant Brits up for SPOTY gong

01 December 2015 / 13:58

We may all be eagerly awaiting the Rio Olympics next summer but Team GB athletes have long been putting in the hard work – a fact reflected in this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.

No fewer than eight British athletes who are tipped to make the podium in Rio next year have been named among the 12 contenders for this year’s award.

The winner will be announced during the live Sports Personality of the Year show, held at Belfast’s SSE Arena on Sunday December 20, after a public phone and online vote.

But in the mean time, let’s meet the Team GB contenders:

Lizzie Armitstead

Lizzie Armitstead

Olympic road race silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead achieved a lifelong dream when she became world road race champion in September, although that was not her only highlight of the year.

Opening up with the Ladies Tour of Qatar overall title in February, the 26-year-old continued her fine form throughout the year and successfully defended her World Cup title.

A crash in the Women’s Tour did not keep her out for long as she claimed the British road race title before following that up with an impressive triumph at the World Championships in Richmond – taking victory by a wheel following a gruelling 130km race.

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Having taken time out of the sport following heptathlon gold at London 2012, Jessica Ennis-Hill announced her return in style in 2015 by claiming her second world title.

She finished fourth on her return to heptathlon at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis at the start of the summer – her first time doing the full event since the London Games – and comfortably achieve the Olympic qualifying standard for Rio 2016 in the process.

And although she left it until the last possible moment to decide on her participation in Beijing in August, the 29-year-old needn’t have worried as she won the world title with a score of 6,669 points – a performance that earned her a nomination as European Athlete of the Year.

Mo Farah

Mo Farah

Mo Farah was another to light up this summer’s World Championships in Beijing as he became the first man to pull off a triple double – triumphing in two athletics events at two World Championships and an Olympics.

The year had already started off in promising fashion when Farah broke the indoor two-mile world record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix in February in a time of 8:03.40 minutes.

He then broke the 14-year-old European half marathon record in Lisbon in March before making his seven global track titles in a row when he won the 5000m and 10,000m in Beijing.

Chris Froome

ChrisFroome3200Stage17

Chris Froome simply let nothing stand in his way this July as he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France for a second time.

The 30-year-old had to battle hostile crowds, questions over the legitimacy of his stunning performances and a stellar field to prosper during the gruelling three-week race.

An excellent first week and an outrageous burst to climb La Pierre-Saint-Martin on stage 10 formed the foundation for Froome’s win, surely he will better his 6th-place SPOTY finish that he received in 2013?

Andy Murray

AndyMurrayDavisCupteam

Andy Murray achieved something in 2015 that not even Andy Murray thought he could – lead Great Britain to their first Davis Cup title for 79 years.

Murray was simply unbeatable in singles and doubles throughout the competition, contributing 11 of GB’s 12 winning rubbers in this year’s World Group campaign – only a record five-time Davis Cup winner John McEnroe can beat.

The 28-year-old also won four titles on three different surfaces to ultimately finish the year as world number two for the first time in his career and will be eyeing a first Australia Open title in early 2016.  

Adam Peaty

Adam-Peaty-Hero

A swimming phenom in 2015, Adam Peaty set the pool alight at the World Swimming Championships in Kazan to become the first man to complete the 50m and 100m breaststroke double.

The 20-year-old then helped GB to gold in the mixed 4x100 medley relay in world record time, while he currently holds the world record for both the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Many are tipping Peaty, who trains in Derby, to become the first British man to win Olympic swimming gold in Rio for 28 years and you shouldn’t bet against him.

Greg Rutherford

Greg Rutherford

Greg Rutherford’s long jump legacy was further cemented this summer as he claimed World Championship gold to add to his Olympic, European and Commonwealth titles.

Previously only four Britons had ever held all four titles simultaneously – Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards – and the 29-year-old needed a stadium record jump of 8.41m to do it in Beijing!

And now equipped with a long jump runway and sandpit in his back garden, who would doubt Rutherford can add a second Olympic gold in Rio next summer?     

Max Whitlock

Max Whitlock

Another record breaker, Max Whitlock became the first British man to win World Gymnastics Championships gold as he pipped teammate Louis Smith by 0.01points in the pommel horse in Glasgow.

The 22-year-old also picked up two silver medals, helping GB to second place in the team event before throwing down a stunning floor routine to finish with three medals.

Having suffered with glandular fever early on in the year Whitlock certainly somersaulted back in style, could he be the first gymnast to win the BBC award? 

Sportsbeat 2015