Olympic athletes dominate list for BBC sports award

AFP, LONDON

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 - Page 19

Stars from the London Olympics dominated the list of nominees for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, which was revealed on Monday.

Of the 12 names on the list, golfer Rory McIlroy was the only person not to have competed at the Games during the British summer.

The shortlist also featured five women, after an all-male list of nominees last year sparked controversy.

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins is the bookmakers’ odds-on favorite to win the award following a historic victory in the Tour de France and a gold medal in the Olympic time-trial.

Other strong contenders include Mo Farah, gold medalist in the 5,000m and 10,000m, Olympic hepathlon champion Jessica Ennis, and tennis player Andy Murray, who won Olympic singles gold and became the first British man to win a Grand Slam in 76 years at the US Open.

Three Paralympians also made the shortlist — swimmer Ellie Simmonds, cyclist Sarah Storey and wheelchair athlete David Weir.

The nominees were picked by a panel of experts, with the winner to be decided by a public vote and announced during a ceremony at London’s ExCel centre on Dec. 16.

There are also prizes for coach of the year, team of the year and overseas sports personality, all of which are decided by the panel.

Last year’s individual award went to cyclist Mark Cavendish.

AINSLIE RULES OUT RIO

Reuters

British sailor Ben Ainslie has ruled out chasing more Olympic glory and will not compete at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the four-time gold medalist said yesterday.

The 35-year-old became the first sailor to win medals at five successive Games earlier this year when he was victorious in the Finn class at the London Olympics.

It was Ainslie’s third successive Olympic gold in the Finn, following silver and gold in the smaller Laser class at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney 2000.