In the world of sports winning the SPOTY is a coveted accolade for any sports-person; and last night it was Andy Murray’s turn to revel in the limelight for a second time after winning the famous trophy.
He beat Kevin Sinfield who captained Leeds Rhino’s to an historic treble, and Jessica-Ennis Hill who was crowned Heptathlon World Champion this year, despite giving birth to her son a year before.
Murray was crowned after helping the Great Britain squad win a first Davis Cup since 1936; and also being named world no.2 in tennis.
The list of sport-stars was immense; there were so many great athletes up for the reward; but as a cycling fan I was disappointed not to see Chris Froome in the top three; in my opinion he deserved to win the whole thing.
But as we know the winner is all decided through public vote; and because of that you just have to accept that cycling is not as big as tennis – to the annoyance of me and many other cycling fans across the UK.
But if you look at the list, it was great to see Lizzie Armitstead recognised for her sterling year in the saddle, in which she won her first Rainbow Jersey in Richmond earlier this year and also winning the UCI World Cup.
Froome won the Tour de France for a second time, a feat which for a British rider is superb; there have only ever been two British winners of the Tour and they are Sir Bradley Wiggins and Froome; arguably two of the best riders the UK have ever produced.
Cycling has come a long way in this country, it certainly peaked in 2012 when Wiggins won the Tour for the first time; and then with the successes in London 2012 cycling’s popularity was at an all time high.
I still believe cycling is becoming a mainstream sport here in the UK with the successes of Froome and Team Sky, but with the sports troubled past people are always going to question the credibility of the sport and most importantly the credibility of the athletes involved.
Froome eventually finished sixth in the overall vote, as for Armitstead she finished tenth. If you look at the breakdown of the votes you see that Froome received 39,007, and Armitstead received 22,356 compared with Murray’s total of 361,446 – it just shows the difference in the public’s perception of the two sports.
Froome’s quest next season is to win the Tour for a third time; if he achieves that goal – surely the public will have to wake up and see that it will be some achievement if he manages to pull it off, worthy of the SPOTY 2016 crown – but I won’t hold my breath.
Murray is an incredible tennis player, and what he did for the Great Britain team in the Davis Cup was remarkable; but I would love to see a professional cyclist get the recognition he/she deserves in what is no doubt one of the toughest sports out there.