It's always been a great evening’s entertainment for the avid sports fan, where else do you get to watch all of the sporting highlights from the previous 12 months in one place condensed into 2 1/4 hours’ worth of viewing? Watching the highs and lows of all of the major sporting events was and still is pure joy for me. Especially this year when there has been so much sport to watch in considerable contrast to the meagre offerings of 2020.
We had the Olympics, the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup, Euro's 2020, an epic battle royale in the F1 world, to name but a few. I have always wondered what the marking criteria is actually for the awarding panel for this event. The clue should be in the title, Sports Personality, is that just the moniker for the evening’s festivities and should it really be called The Year’s Most ‘Captivating’ or ‘Talked About’ or ‘Highest Achieving’ Individual.
When you look back to the years of 1986,87,88 and 89 where you saw Nigel Mansell, Fatima Whitbread, Steve Davis Nick Faldo win you could definitely see that the scope for voting went beyond personality. Then if you look at 1981 and 1982 well Ian Botham was followed by Daley Thompson you could see that achievements and personality were equally balanced.
Fast forward to last night's event; criticism has been levelled at winners of the Sports Personality team of the year which was won by the England football team. Whilst creating a great summer’s football, they didn't win. Football didn't come home, even though they played the majority of their games at home, they lost in the final.
Emma Raducanu's BBC Sports Personality of the Year speech
I for one am a great fan of Gareth Southgate, I feel he is instilling a great sense of responsibility in his players and they are fulfilling a much more balanced position in the world of sport. They are young and have some great events ahead of them.
But when you compare what England did in football, to what the European Solheim Cup Team did, in winning in the States. Being the first team to ever retain the Solheim Cup in the backdrop of having no fans present at the event either, this showed a ground-breaking achievement and an incredible level of performance driven by 12 passionate individuals and a fantastic Captain. In a world where inclusivity and gender balance are buzz words, perhaps the nod should have gone to the Solheim Ladies.
However, the winner of the 2021 Sports Personality of the year, Emma Raducanu is an inspiration. With all of the sporting achievements which have taken place this year, her winning the US Open, was as captivating as it was incredible. A win for the ages, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Boris Becker at Wimbledon.
Where it will take her, nobody knows. But to watch a player, so in the zone, playing every point at 100%, scraping her knee and not even knowing she had done it, was magical. An achievement which should live in the hearts of any sports fan, for decades to come.
What does 2022 have in store? Who knows, but I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year break in the meantime.