Can Murray Make History At This Year's SPOTY Awards?

I think we can all agree that the personality element of the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award is largely redundant.

In recent years, #SPOTY for Twitter hashtag purposes, has moved away from honoring those lovable, plucky losers to saluting those who have actually won something. It's no longer enough to pull a face at the camera or be cheeky to Des Lynam.

As much a Christmas tradition as the double issue of the Radio Times, SPOTY remains one of the year's few cornerstone TV programmes in our Netflix-iPlayer-On Demand world.

SPOTY has changed beyond all recognition in recent years with X-Factor style live audiences, pyrotechnics and super-size stages a far cry from the cosy, slow-paced shows of the 1970s and 80s.

Highlight packages are now few and far between in a show where so much of the sport broadcast rights are owned by other channels. Instead we have super slow-mo, close-up clips with stirring narration in rugged Scottish or Welsh accents. Plus there are singers. Lots and lots of singers.

In the early days, SPOTY acted as a reminder of great goals, terrific tries and wonderful wins from the past 12 months. Truth is, we don't need these flashbacks anymore. We can watch these moments on a loop on our phones or iPads whenever we want to. The show had to evolve and it did.

Magic Murray

Which brings us to this year's show which is being staged in Birmingham. Can we look beyond Andy Murray for the title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017? He's 1/7 to win with Bet365.

The Scottish tennis ace has reached new heights in 2016 and is on course to claim the trophy for an unprecedented third time. Who is to say he won’t make it four before he retires? Off court, he also became a dad for the first time. Good on yer Andy.

In an exceptionally strong year for British sport, with the highlight being a baggage allowance-busting medal haul at the Rio Olympics, Murray's star has again shone brightest. As well as winning another Wimbledon Championship and retaining his Olympic title, Murray also became the World Number One and ended the year with an ATP World Tour Final win over Novak Djokavic. This was his 24th consecutive match win and fifth straight title.

He also finished runner-up at the French and Australian Opens and guided Great Britain to the Davis Cup semi-finals where they suffered an agonising defeat against Argentina. Murray is odds on to claim the award despite the strong Olympic contingent led by cycling Jason and Laura Kenny.

It's doubtful Murray will be able to receive the award should he win as he will be in Miami training for the Australia Open. So on Sunday, the Olympics and Paralympics will rightly take centre stage at SPOTY alongside Andy Murray, the Welsh national football team and Leicester City plus a lengthy tribute to Muhammed Ali.

Posted: Tuesday, 13th December 2016
Author: Mark Taylor

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