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Sports Personality of the Year: Does It Really Matter?

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Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France. Andy Murray's maiden Grand Slam. Pretty much every 'high profile' gold at the Olympics and Paralympics, including those of the aforementioned 'Wiggo' and 'Muzza'.

What do all of these have in common?

Well, besides being truly remarkable achievements by British sportsmen and women, in what has been a truly remarkable summer for British sport, they've all been followed by a debate on the upcoming Sports Personality of the Year award.

Even at 2am, following Murray's win at Flushing Meadows, SPOTY was trending on Twitter.

In a sense, it's easy to see why. Normally the awards come at the end of a fairly unspectacular year, and there'll be two or three in with a real chance of winning.

This year, though, there's Jessica Ennis, Ellie Simmonds, Sarah Storey, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott. One of at least five women could win, and you'd be hard pushed to complain about it. Contrast that to last year, when, shockingly, not a single woman made the shortlist of ten.

Then, of course, there are the men: Mo Farah, Jonnie Peacock, David Weir, Chris Hoy, as well as Wiggins and Murray, all have a strong case as to why they should win. The award could be defined more by who doesn't make the shortlist than who does.

The thing is, does it really matter? Will those Olympic and Paralympic golds mean more if you can add 'Sports Personality of the Year 2012' to 'double/triple gold medallist'? Of course not. Will Andy Murray be thinking: 'well, it's good to finally win a Grand Slam, not to mention the gold medal, but what really counts is that BBC award!' Well, he might be, but it's highly unlikely.

Mark Cavendish won the award last year, deservedly so after his impressive feats in the Tour de France. By that reasoning, Wiggins would walk the award in any other year.

Indeed, that logic could be applied to all of the athletes so far, for pretty much any year. In 2010 it was Tony McCoy, in 2009 in was, er, Ryan Giggs. It's essentially a popularity contest, with the only real surprises being just how popular F1 drivers seem to be.

It's precisely because of the sheer number of deserved winners that the interest is so high, and the potential recipient so discussed. But that is precisely why it shouldn't be.

To suggest the achievements of one of the sporting stars on this list are somehow more deserving than another's is absurd. There'll be knighthoods a-plenty, and a pick'n'mix of M/O/CBEs. And, of course, the medals and trophies themselves.

Not one of the sportsmen/women mentioned (and there's plenty not mentioned too) deserve an award. They all do.

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