As the BBC Sports Personality 2006 awards approaches, just ten days away, RCUK ponders what it must take for cyclists as successful as Britain has ever been able to boast to gain just a little recognition in the main stream press.
This year the BBC changed the voting system, so the 10 contenders will now be drawn from public votes. On December 4 this shortlist will be announced, and we’ve got our fingers crossed for a cyclist to be included.
While there’s a slim chance a cyclist could make the short-list, there’s almost no hope the award being won, as the BBC reports: “Bookmakers rate the leading candidates for the award as golfer Darren Clarke, equestrian star Zara Phillips, tennis player Andrew Murray, gymnast Beth Tweddle and cricketer Monty Panesar.”
This doesn’t bode well for the chances of one of Britain’s most successful cyclists for the past few years, Nicole Cooke, who without a doubt should be within shooting distance of winning. But as history shows, the award has a habit of not going to the most deserving sports person.
As an article in the Observer Sport supplement last Sunday conceded: “Although she should be a strong candidate for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award, she has no chance of winning.” The article hardly did any favours for Nicole and cycling in general, it lacked a positive and upbeat approach and instead of focusing on her numerous successes and how hard cycle racing is, instead fell into the same trap of getting stuck on the drugs issue.
If you should need reminding of why Nicole deserves the award more than the other rumoured contenders – and there’s really too many race wins than we’ve got space for – we should point to her Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, the 2004 Giro d’Italia in 2004, six times British Road Race Champion, the Fleche Wallone World Cup Race the last two years, and capped it all of this year with the World Cup and the Tour de France, and is currently the number one UCI ranked rider.
But then, maybe it’s not just about being the most successful person in your sport and taking home more medals in one year than many of her peers in other disciplines. Countless medals and being a driving force behind women’s cycling seems to counts for nothing when you’re up against the likes of Clarke, Phillips, Tweddle and others. But despite that, our fingers are crossed for Nicole…