My “long list” for Sportsman of the Year was a very long list this year.
These are some of the most notable performances by British sportsmen in 2012
Olympic Gold medal winners
• Anthony Joshua, boxing, super-heavyweight: Joshua clinches GB’s 29th and final
gold of the Olympics.
• Mo Farah, athletics, 10000m and 5,000m: Farah does the Olympic double to make history.
• Luke Campbell, boxing, bantamweight Olympic gold
• Ed McKeever, K1 200m canoe sprint: Olympic gold
• Sir Chris Hoy, cycling, keirin: Hoy becomes Britain’s best Olympian with sixth gold. At the world championships won his fourth Keirin title. Lost out to Jason Kenny and wasn’t picked for the individual sprint at the Games but won gold in the Team Sprint.
• Alistair Brownlee, triathlon: Brownlee wins Olympic gold. The best triathlete in the world but didn’t compete often enough this year to win the world triathlon series.
• Ben Maher, Nick Skelton, Peter Charles and Scott Brash, equestrianism, team
• Jason Kenny, cycling, sprint: chosen over Hoy for the sprint. He avenged his defeat in the world championships to win Olympic gold.
• Andy Murray, tennis, singles: Murray beats Federer to win gold. He goes on to win the US Open. The first British man to win a grand slam singles title since 1936. Ranked 3 in the world at a time of great players.
• Ben Ainslie, sailing, Finn: Ainslie became the greatest Olympic sailor in history with his 4th title. Won the International Sailing Federation world male Sailor of the Year award for a record 4th time. Won the Finn world championship.
• Greg Rutherford, athletics, long jump: Rutherford overcomes injury to clinch gold. Produced the goods on the day but the event isn’t strong at the moment and was a surprise winner.
• Andy Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory, rowing, men’s four:
• Philip Hindes, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny, cycling, team sprint:
• Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh, cycling, team
• Peter Wilson, shooting, double trap: Also ended the year ranked number 1 in the world.
• Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott, canoeing, double
Cycling – Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider since 1967 to win the Paris-
Nice stage race. He won the Tour of Romandie, the Criterium de Dauphine and became the first British rider to win the Tour de France. Then won the Olympic road time trial gold.The first cyclist to win an Olympic gold medal and the Tour de France in the same year.
Johnny Brownlee – world Triathlon series champion and 3rd at the Olympics.
Ronnie O Sullivan – world snooker champion or the third time.
Boxing:Nathan Cleverly defended his WBO Light-Heavyweight title for the third time.
Ricky Burns retained his WBO lightweight title twice.
Carl Froch destroyed highly rated Lucien Bute to win the IBF super-middleweight title. Defended it later in the year.
Bowls- World Indoor Championships:
Men’s singles – Andy Thomson won his third title seventeen years after his second.
Men’s Pairs – Paul Foster and Alex Marshall retained their title.
World Track Cycling Championships – Ben Swift won the scratch race.
Darts: PDC World Championship. Adrian Lewis retained his title but had a quiet year otherwise.
Golf – In the first week of March Rory McIlroy became world number 1 in the
rankings, taking over from Luke Donald. Donald reclaimed the number 1 spot later
the same month and the two exchanged the lead until McIlroy took a firm grip on it after his win in the US PGA Championship.
Kevin Sinfield was awarded the Golden Boot as the best rugby league player in the world for 2012.
Paralympic Gold Medallists
David Weir – four golds on the track and in the marathon in one of the most competitive classes at the Games.
Jonathan Fox Swimming Men’s 100 m backstroke S7
Mark Colbourne Cycling Men’s individual pursuit C1
Neil Fachie, Barney Storey (pilot) Cycling Men’s 1 km time trial
Richard Whitehead Athletics Men’s 200 m T42
Aled Davies Athletics Men’s discus F42
Anthony Kappes,Craig MacLean (pilot) Cycling Men’s individual sprint
Lee Pearson Equestrian Team championship
Mickey Bushell Athletics Men’s 100 m T53
Oliver Hynd Swimming Men’s 200 m individual medley SM8
Josef Craig Swimming Men’s 400 m freestyle S7
Jonnie Peacock Athletics Men’s 100 m T44
David Stone Cycling Mixed road race T1-2
My nominations as the top six are:-
The most competitive sport at the top level at the moment is tennis but Murray only being number 3 ranked means he can’t take my award. McIlroy is world number one and won one major this year but did have a few patches of poor form. Farah’s double was outstanding but it is something that has been achieved by athletes from other nations quite regularly. Even Weir’s four gold medals at one Games by a wheelchair athlete has been surpassed before. Ainslie is arguably the best competitive sailor in history and that historical element puts him close to winning my award. However, he had to work very hard to narrowly win the Olympics. He didn’t dominate his event in the way that Bradley Wiggins did in time trials in 2012. He won every long time trial by a huge margin which was the foundation of his success in the stage races.
His unique achievement in winning the Tour de France and an Olympic gold in the same year means that my British Sportsman of the Year is Bradley Wiggins.