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List of BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards

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Title: List of BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards  
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List of BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards

BBC Sports Personality of the Year
2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award
titular award is a silver four-turret lens camera
Country United Kingdom
Presented by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
First awarded 1954
Official website

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year is an awards ceremony that takes place annually in December. Devised by Paul Fox in 1954, it originally consisted of one titular award. Several new awards have been introduced, and as of 2008, eight awards are presented. The first awards to be added were the Team of the Year and Overseas Personality awards, which were introduced in 1960.[1] A Lifetime Achievement Award was first given in 1995 and again in 1996, and has been presented annually since 2001.[2] In 1999, three more awards were introduced: the Helen Rollason Award, the Coach Award, and the Newcomer Award, which was renamed to Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2001. The newest is the Unsung Hero Award, first presented in 2003.[3] In 2003, the 50th anniversary of the show was marked by a five-part series on BBC One called Simply The Best – Sports Personality. It was presented by Gary Lineker and formed part of a public vote to determine a special Golden Sports Personality of the Year. That year Steve Rider and Martyn Smith wrote a book reflecting on the 50-year history of the award and the programme.[4] The event was held outside London for the first time in 2006, when tickets were made available to the public.

The trophy for the main award is a silver-plated four-turret lens camera, and for the other awards smaller imitations of the main trophy are used. All of the BBC local regions hold their own independent award ceremonies, which take place before the main ceremony and are used to compile a shortlist for the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award.

Other awards have been presented in the past. Special Achievement Awards have been presented on five occasions: to jockey Lester Piggott in 1984 and 1994,[5] disabled marathon runner Dennis Moore in 1981, comedian David Walliams in 2006, and comedian Eddie Izzard in 2009. Sebastian Coe picked up a Special Gold Award in 2005 for his work in helping Britain obtain the right to host the 2012 Olympics.[6] Five awards have been presented once: Manager of the Year in 1969, a Special Team Award in 1986, Good Sport Awards in 1990, an International Team Award in 1983, and the Sports Personality of the Century Award in 1999.[1] In 2003, to celebrate fifty years of Sports Personality of the Year, two special anniversary awards were created to recognise the best team and Sports Personality from the previous fifty years. Rower Steve Redgrave was voted BBC Golden Sports Personality of the Year and England's 1966 World Cup-winning football team was chosen as Team of the Decades.[7]

In 2013 The Award will celebrate its 60th Anniversary, there is no word yet on how it will be marked, though Sue Barker did mention it at the 2012 ceremony.

Current awards

Award Created Description[8] Current holder
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 1954 Awarded to the sportsperson "whose actions have most captured the public's imagination" Bradley Wiggins
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year 1960 Awarded to the sportsperson "who has made the greatest impression in the world of sport" Usain Bolt
BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year Award 1960 Awarded to the team with the most notable achievement in British sport. Team GB and Paralympic GB
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award 1996 Awarded to a sportsperson "who has made a major impact on the world of sport during their lifetime" Sebastian Coe
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award 1999 Awarded to the coach who is adjudged to have made the most impact on British sport Dave Brailsford
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award 1999 Awarded to someone who has shown "outstanding achievement in the face of adversity" Martine Wright
BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 1999 Awarded to a young sportsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to British sport Josef Craig
BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award 2003 Award to someone who "has given their time and talents for free to enable others to participate in sport" Sue and Jim Houghton


Year(s) Venue[9]
1954–1956 Savoy Hotel, London
1956–1958 Grosvenor House Hotel, London
1959 BBC Television Theatre, London
1960–1964 BBC Television Centre, London
1965–1976 BBC Television Theatre, London
1977 New London Theatre, London
1978–1988 BBC Television Centre, London
1989–1998 Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London
1999–2005 BBC Television Centre, London
2006–2007 National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
2008 Echo Arena, Liverpool
2009 Sheffield Arena, Sheffield
2010[10] LG Arena, Birmingham
2011[11] MediaCityUK, Salford, Greater Manchester
2012 ExCeL Centre, London[12]
2013[13] First Direct Arena, Leeds

The BBC's Sports Personality of the Year was created by Paul Fox, who came up with the idea while he was editor of the magazine show Sportsview. The first award ceremony took place in 1954 as part of Sportsview, and was presented by Peter Dimmock.[14] Held at the Savoy Hotel on 30 December 1954, the show lasted 45 minutes. It consisted of one titular award for the sportsperson judged by the public to have achieved the most that year.[15] Voting was by postcard, and rules presented in a Radio Times article stipulated that nominations were restricted to athletes who had featured on the Sportsview programme since April. For the inaugural BBC Sportsperson of the Year award, 14,517 votes were cast and Christopher Chataway beat fellow athlete Roger Bannister.[16] The following year the show was renamed Sports Review of the Year and given a longer duration of 75 minutes.[1][16]

In 1960 Dimmock presented the show, and introduced two new awards:[16] the Team of the Year award and the Overseas Personality award, won by the Cooper Car Company and athlete Herb Elliott respectively.[17] David Coleman joined the show the following year and remained a co-presenter until 1983.[18] Swimmer Anita Lonsbrough became the first female recipient of the main award in 1962; females won it in the following two years as well.[19] Frank Bough took over as presenter in 1964 and presented Sports Review for 18 years.[20] In 1969, a new Manager of the Year award was given to Don Revie for his achievements with Leeds United, the only occasion it was presented. In the following year boxer Henry Cooper became the first person to win the main award twice, having already won in 1967.

During the 1970s Bough and Coleman presided over the ceremony alongside Jimmy Hill,[21] Cliff Morgan,[22] Kenneth Wolstenholme,[22] and Harry Carpenter, who also went on to present the show for much of the 1980s.[23] Des Lynam presented from 1983,[24] and presided over figure skating duo Torvill and Dean's win the following year, when they became the first non-individual winners of the main award. Steve Rider co-presented the 1986 show with Lynam,[25] at which a Special Team Award was presented to Great Britain men's 4 x 400 m relay team. In the 1980s, Steve Davis finished in the top three on five occasions, including one win in 1988. In 1991, angler Bob Nudd received the most votes following a campaign in the Angling Times.[26] However the BBC deemed this to be against the rules and "discarded all the ballots cast on forms printed in the Angling Times", allowing athlete Liz McColgan to win the award.[27] The following year racing driver Nigel Mansell became the second person to win the main award twice, having won his first in 1986. Sue Barker presented the show for the first time in 1994,[28] at which racing driver Damon Hill won the first of his two awards, the second coming two years later. Boxer Frank Bruno was the inaugural winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996,[29] and as of 2008 there have been ten recipients of the award.

In 1999 the show was renamed Sports Personality of the Year,[1] and Gary Lineker joined the show as a co-presenter alongside Barker.[30] Barker and Lineker were supported by John Inverdale and Clare Balding that year. The ceremony introduced a further three regular awards: Coach of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and a Helen Rollason Award for "outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity".[31] In a one-off award, boxer Muhammad Ali was voted as the Sports Personality of the Century.[32] On 1 November 2003, BBC Books published "BBC Sports Personality of the Year 50th Anniversary" (ISBN 0-563-48747-X), written by Steve Rider and Martyn Smith, to mark the golden anniversary of the show.[33][34] Leading up to the anniversary show on 14 December 2003, a series of five half-hour special programmes, entitled Simply The Best – Sports Personality, were broadcast. Hosted by Gary Lineker, the episodes were shown on BBC One for five consecutive nights during 8–12 December 2008; each covered one decade of Sports Personality history.[35] At the beginning of each special programme the public could vote for a past winner. The five most popular winners were announced at the start of the anniversary ceremony as a shortlist for one of two special 50th Anniversary awards.[36] From the shortlist, rower Steve Redgrave was voted Golden Sports Personality of the Year by the public.[37] The England World Cup–winning team of 1966 won a Team of the Decades award, voted for by representatives from all previous Teams of the Year.[38]

In 2006, for the first time in its 53-year history, the event was held outside London, in Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC). For the first time, tickets for the event were made available to the public, and 3,000 were sold in the first hour.[39] That year, Adrian Chiles joined the show and co-presented alongside Barker and Lineker for two years.[40][41] The 2007 ceremony was the first of a two-year sponsorship deal with Britvic's brand Robinsons, and the capacity of the NEC was increased from 5,000 to 8,000.[42] The event sold out,[43] but the sponsorship deal was shortened to one year after complaints by ITV and RadioCentre caused the BBC Trust to rule in June 2008 that "Editorial Guidelines were breached and the editorial integrity of the BBC compromised by giving the impression to licence fee payers via Sports Personality of the Year that part of a BBC service had been sponsored."[44] They decided that the 2008 awards should not be broadcast as a sponsored event, and no new sponsorship deal was negotiated after the Britvic deal expired.[45][46] In February 2008, the BBC announced that the 2008 Sports Personality of the Year event would be held at the Echo Arena, Liverpool. One reason for the move to Liverpool was to allow greater numbers to view the show live, as the 10,600-seater venue in Liverpool had a bigger capacity than the NEC.[43] That year Jake Humphrey replaced Chiles as co-presenter.[28] The 2009 show was rumoured to be held in either Cardiff or Glasgow.[47] However, it was announced on 30 April 2009 that the show would be staged at the Sheffield Arena.[48] In May 2010, it was announced that the 2010 ceremony would be held in Birmingham's LG Arena and will seat approximately 12,000 guests.[10]


The trophy for the main award was created in the 1950s and cost about £1,000. It was first presented to the inaugural winner, Christopher Chataway, in 1954. It is a silver-plated four-turret lens camera, with the name of each winner engraved on individual shields attached to a plinth underneath the camera. The trophy originally had one plinth, but two more were added to create room for more shields.[49] A replica trophy was made in 1981 and sent to India in case Ian Botham won the award while playing cricket there—which he did.[50] The original trophy is still used for the ceremony, and is engraved after the show before being given to the winner, who keeps it for eight or nine months.[49] The trophies for second and third place, and for the other awards, are smaller imitations of the main trophy,[51][52] but have in the past been silver salvers.[53] For the two special awards celebrating the 50th Anniversary, and for the Sports Personality of the Century award, similar miniature trophies were presented but they were gold in colour.[54][55]

Regional awards

The three BBC national regions of BBC Wales, BBC Scotland and BBC Northern Ireland each hold individual sports personality awards. Respectively, they are BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year,[56] BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year,[57] and BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year.[58] The 12 local BBC English Regions also have their own award ceremonies, [59] which are held locally prior to the national ceremony. Also, fifteen regional winners comprise the nominees for the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award.[15]

Intermittent awards

Manager of the Year

In 1969, Don Revie was presented with a Manager of the Year award for his achievements while in charge of Leeds United A.F.C. Leeds became champions of the Football League First Division that season, having "lost only two games" and scored a "record number of points".[60]

Year Winner Team Note
1969 Don Revie Leeds United A.F.C. [5]

Special Achievement Award

In 1981, to recognise the year of the disabled, Dennis Moore received a Special Achievement Award for completing the inaugural London Marathon despite being blind since birth.[61] Lester Piggott won an award in 1984 for his achievements, including winning the St. Leger Stakes on Commanche Run that year, Piggott's record-breaking 28th British classic win.[62] In 1994, Piggott won the award again for his "services to racing".[63] Comedian David Walliams received the award in 2006 "for his outstanding achievement of swimming the English Channel for charity", which raised over £1 million for Sport Relief.[64] Fellow comedian Eddie Izzard was presented with the award in 2009 after running 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief.[65]

Year Winner Sport Note
1981 Moore, DennisDennis Moore Athletics [61]
1984 Piggott, LesterLester Piggott Horse racing [5]
1994 Piggott, LesterLester Piggott Horse racing [63]
2006 Walliams, DavidDavid Walliams Swimming [66]
2009 Izzard, EddieEddie Izzard Athletics [67]

International Team Award

In 1983, the team of Australia II received an International Team Award in recognition of their victory in the 1983 America's Cup. The American defender Liberty had taken a 3–1 lead in races, but Australia II came back to win 4–3 and take the America's Cup, ending a 132-year winning streak by the New York Yacht Club. It was the first time the competition had gone to a seventh and final race.[68]

Year Nat. Winner Sport Note
1983  AUS Alan Bond and the crew of Australia II Sailing [5]

Special Team Award

In 1986, a Special Team Award was presented to the British 4 x 400m squad of Derek Redmond, Kriss Akabusi, Brian Whittle, Roger Black, Todd Bennett, and Phil Brown, who won gold at the European Championships.[69] Akabusi, Black, Bennett and Brown also won gold for England in the 4 x 400 m at the Commonwealth Games that year.[70][71]

Year Winner Sport Note
1986 British Men's 4 x 400 metres relay team Athletics [5]

Good Sport Awards

In 1990, Good Sport Awards were presented for courage and good sportsmanship to Derek Warwick, Martin Donnelly, Louise Aitken-Walker and Tina Thörner, who were all involved in motor racing accidents that year. Warwick survived a high speed crash at Monza;[72] Donnelly crashed during a practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix—the injuries he received ended his Formula One career;[72][73] Aitken-Walker and co-driver Thörner crashed off a cliff into a lake in Portugal when competing in the women's World Rally Championship, which they went on to win that year.[72][74]

Year Winner Sport Note
1990 Derek Warwick
Martin Donnelly
Louise Aitken-Walker
Tina Thörner
Motor sport [72][74]

Sports Personality of the Century Award

In 1999, a one-off award voted for by the British public selected a Sports Personality of the Century. Muhammad Ali accumulated more votes from BBC viewers than the combined total of George Best, Pelé, Donald Bradman, Jack Nicklaus, and Jesse Owens.[75]

Year Nat. Winner Sport Note
1999  USA Muhammad Ali Boxing [32]

Special Gold Award

In 2005, Sebastian Coe received a Special Gold Award for chairing London's winning bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games.[76]

Year Winner Rationale Note
2005 Sebastian Coe[77] "in recognition of his role in leading the winning London 2012 Olympic bid."[76] After the games Coe received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.[78]

50th Anniversary awards

As part of the 50th Anniversary of BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2003, two additional awards were presented.[79][80] In the lead up to the anniversary show on 14 December 2003, a series of five half-hour special programmes, entitled Simply The Best – Sports Personality, were broadcast. Hosted by Gary Lineker, the episodes were shown on BBC One for five consecutive nights from 8 to 12 December 2008 and each covered one decade of Sports Personality.[35]

Golden Sports Personality of the Year

To celebrate the golden anniversary of the show, a special award was voted for by the public to recognise an all-time Golden Sports Personality from the previous winners of the last 49 years.[81] A shortlist of five was planned to contain one winner from each decade of the award;[82] however, the actual shortlist contained two winners from the most recent decade—rower Steve Redgrave, who won the award, and footballer David Beckham. The other members of the shortlist were footballer Bobby Moore, cricketer Ian Botham and ice skating duo Torvill and Dean.[37]

Year Winner Sport Note
2003 Steve Redgrave Rowing [83]

Team of the Decades

Alf Ramsey's squad won a poll to select a Team of the Decade for the 50th anniversary show. Representatives from each of the past winners of the Team of the Year award voted for their outstanding team of the last 50 years. Bobby Robson presented the award to Bobby Charlton, who collected the award on behalf of the late Bobby Moore's team.[38][81]

Year Winner Sport Note
2003 1966 World Cup-winning football team Football [38]


  1. East Midlands:
  2. Yorkshire and Lincolnshire:
  3. South West:
  4. East:
  5. Yorkshire:
  6. North East and Cumbria:
  7. North West:
  8. London:
  9. South East:
  10. South:
  11. West:

External links

  • BBC Programmes

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