Lewis Hamilton Favourite For Sports Personality Of The Year
Lewis Hamilton is the clear favourite to win the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award on Sunday, December 20.
A regular nominee, Hamilton has already won the gong once before – in 2014 – but his achievements both on and off the track make him the prime candidate this year.
Last month the 35-year-old became a seven-time Formula One world champion, equalling the great Michael Schumacher’s record haul.
He also surpassed the legendary German’s record tally of 91 race wins this year en route to his fourth consecutive Drivers’ Championship, which he clinched at the Turkish Grand Prix in November.
As mentioned, off the track Hamilton has been making waves too, meaning he ticks all the boxes expected of a SPOTY winner and is therefore the 1/4 favourite having been a 7/1 outsider when betting opened at the beginning of the year.
Hamilton's Activism Recognised
Hamilton’s active support of the Black Lives Matter movement this year earned him a spot in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020, with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace writing the eulogy for his entry.
He wrote: “Lewis has brought international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, through his advocacy on social media and at F1 events. Lewis’ mental preparation, his aura, his ability to capitalize on every opportunity to use his platform to drive out racism are more than just a model for race-car drivers and other athletes. He’s an inspiration for everyone.”
Hamilton has also been receiving favourable press coverage in the UK, with Guardian writer Giles Richards singling out the Englishman’s “personal development” for praise, citing his vegan lifestyle and calls for climate change to be addressed as a measure of the man behind the sportsman.
With all that in mind, and given the enormity of Hamilton’s sporting achievements in 2020, it’s difficult to look beyond him in the race for this year’s SPOTY award.
That notion is reflected in the odds too, with snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan a distant second-favourite at 7/1.
O’Sullivan won a sixth world title at the Crucible earlier this year and is one of six nominees, with Tyson Fury, Hollie Doyle, Stuart Broad and Jordan Henderson also making up the numbers, though their individual chances look slim.
SPOTY Winner Odds 2020
|Athlete||Sport||Winner Odds||Initial Odds|
|Hollie Doyle||Horse Racing||11/1||66/1|
Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was omitted from the shortlist despite being awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list ‘for services to vulnerable children in the UK during Covid-19’ earlier this year.
The recognition stems from Rashford’s open letter to MPs in which he pleaded with politicians to prolong the government’s free meal policy for children in poverty into the school summer holidays, something they had initially decided against.
Rashford’s appeal, which was inspired by his own experiences as a child in Manchester, prompted a quick reversal of the decision not to prolong the free meals, thereby entitling 1.3m children to food vouchers over the course of the summer.
The gesture initially put Rashford second in the betting on who will win the SPOTY award, but the England international will instead be honoured in an alternative way as he failed to meet the criteria for the main prize, which requires an outstanding sporting achievement to be considered.
Rashford will therefore be given a unique award named the Panel Special Award to recognise his charitable work and the BBC will air a short documentary about the 23-year-old on the night of the ceremony.
The 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award will be broadcast live from Media City in Salford on BBC One on December 20.
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