Who Will Win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021?

Who Will Win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021?
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Teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu is the clear favourite to win the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award following her remarkable US Open win.

Having reached the fourth round of Wimbledon earlier this year against all odds, the 18-year-old proved her summer exploits were no flash in the pan as she went on to become the first qualifier to reach a grand slam final in the Open era.

She achieved that feat in New York having come through the qualifiers as the world number 150, embarking on an incredible winning run of 10 matches without dropping a set, culminating with her beating Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final at Flushing Meadows.

Betting sites offering SPOTY odds reacted by immediately cutting Raducanu into 1/10 favourite for the 2021 gong, so impressive is her achievement thought of.

Raducanu turns 19 in November, meaning she is ineligible to be considered for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award, which is handed out at the same ceremony in the second week of December.

Some online bookmakers go as short as 1/20 on Raducanu winning SPOTY this year, pushing previous favourite Tom Daley out to 10/1.

Daley won the hearts of the British public, if he hadn’t already, after showing raw emotion in the wake of winning the synchronised 10m platform event at Tokyo 2020 with his diving partner Matty Lee.

His exploits were enhanced by his joy – and talent – for knitting while watching other competitors from poolside, and his popularity increase had seen him priced up at 6/4 to get the SPOTY vote at one stage.

However, the rise of Raducanu looks to have dispelled any hopes he had of winning the much-coveted award, while other Olympians now look like rank outsiders in the betting too.

Who Is Favourite To Win SPOTY?

AthleteSportBest Odds
Emma RaducanuTennis1/10
Tom DaleyDiving10/1
Adam PeatySwimming33/1
Lewis HamiltonF170/1
Jason KennyCycling80/1
Laura KennyCycling100/1
Raheem SterlingFootball100/1

As expected, the Olympic Games caused a major shake-up in the odds on who will win the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

We had no less than three different names top the SPOTY odds in the wake of the year’s biggest sporting event, with Olympians Daley, Jason Kenny and Adam Peaty all enjoying favourtism at some stage in August.

But with the dust now having settled on Tokyo 2020, so too have the odds and the most likely Olympian to win SPOTY is 27-year-old diver Daley, who finally won gold in his fourth Games.

Indeed, 10/1 is the best price currently available across the board, but some bookies go as short as 9/2, so he hasn’t been completely ruled out of the equation.

Other Candidates

In Tokyo, cyclist Jason Kenny became Team GB’s most decorated Olympian with seven gold medals, defending the men's keirin title, bringing his total Olympics medal haul to nine having also won silver in the team sprint in Japan.

As such, it’s easy to see why he once headed up the SPOTY betting, but amid Raducan’s success he has drifted all the way out to 80/1 to come out on top of the BBC SPOTY voting.

Swimmer Adam Peaty was already a long shot at 20/1 before events in Japan, but despite briefly topping the odds in August he now looks very unlikely to get the vote.

The odds are now stacked even further against Peaty at 33/1 with Bet365, though Betfair go as short as 12/1 on the 26-year-old. Peaty won Great Britain’s first gold medal in Tokyo and also became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.

Whether or not his upcoming appearance on BBC gameshow Strictly Come Dancing enhances or deflates his chances of winning SPOTY remains to be seen.

What is certain, though, is that Olympians historically perform well in BBC Sports Personality of the Year when it’s an Olympic year.

You have to go all the way back to 1996 to find a SPOTY winner who wasn’t an Olympian in an Olympic year – that was Damon Hill following his one and only Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship.

SPOTY Winners in Olympic Years

YearSPOTY WinnerSportOlympian?
2016Andy MurrayTennisYes
2012Bradley WigginsCyclingYes
2008Chris HoyCyclingYes
2004Kelly HolmesAthleticsYes
2000Steve RedgraveRowingYes
1996Damon HillF1No
1992Nigel MansellF1No
1988Steve DavisSnookerNo
1984Torvill & DeanFigure SkatingYes
1980Robin CousinsFigure SkatingYes
1976John CurryFigure SkatingYes
1972Mary PetersPentathlonYes
1968David HemeryAthleticsYes
1964Mary RandLong JumpYes
1960David BroomeShow JumpingYes
1956Jim LakerCricketNo

Andy Murray (2016) and Bradley Wiggins (2012) may not be primarily renowned as Olympians, but the last two SPOTY winners in Olympic years won gold for Britain in Rio and London.

Chris Hoy (2008), Kelly Holmes (2004) and Steve Redgrave (2000) were serial winners for Team GB in previous Olympic Games and all were rewarded with the SPOTY prize at the end of the year.

Rio 2016 was Team GB’s most successful Games ever (67), earning two more medals than they managed when hosting the event in London in 2012.

In Tokyo the tally was once again 65 and the fact BBC broadcasted the entire event only adds promise to the prospect of the eventual winner of the 2021 SPOTY award being a gold medalist.

However, it’s difficult to make a case against Raducanu, who is undoubtedly the new darling of British sport on the back of her 400/1 underdog story at the US Open.

Who Won SPOTY 2020 and When is SPOTY 2021?

Lewis Hamilton won the 2020 SPOTY gong and is currently second in the F1 Drivers’ Championship standings so cannot be discounted from winning the award for a third time later this year.

Defending his title would mean an eighth F1 Drivers’ Championship for the Mercedes driver, which would eclipse the joint-record haul he holds along with the great Michael Schumacher.

The 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year takes place on December 12 at the P&J Live Arena, Aberdeen, and Hamilton is as short as 12/1 (Paddy Power) to win it again and as long as 70/1 (BetVictor).

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