There was no upset in the Sports Personality of the Year 2018 odds, but there have been occasions when the final name announced on BBC One has shocked the nation.
Ben Stokes is the heavy favourite to win the award in 2019, following in the footsteps of fellow England cricketers Andrew Flintoff, Ian Botham, David Steele and Jim Laker.
Dina Asher-Smith, Alun Wyn Jones, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Raheem Sterling and Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for a major upset on Sunday December 15th.
Stokes’ heroics at Lord’s and Headingley have secured him as the frontrunner, but it wouldn’t be the first time there’s a surprise victor. Here are five of the biggest Sports Personality of the Year shocks...
SPOTY 2009: Giggs Wins It
Ryan Giggs was as surprised as anyone when he won the 2009 Sports Personality of the Year. Jenson Button and Jessica Ennis rounded out the top three.
No one fancied Giggs to win the award and, quite frankly, it was a surprise he was even nominated.
Button had won his first world title in an incredible season for Brawn GP. Ennis won gold at the World Athletics Championships. Giggs, however, received a shade under 30% of the vote and was the comfortable victor.
Playing for a club with enormous support like Manchester United certainly helps in votes like this.
Joshua Misses Out At SPOTY 2017
Anthony Joshua was the online betting favourite to win the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
As the names were read out, with Joshua not second or third (those honours went to Jonnie Peacock and Jonathan Rea) it seemed inevitable that the Heavyweight Champion of the World had won the public vote.
Everyone was fooled. Kenny Dalglish was announcing the winner, and as he read from the envelope, it wasn’t Joshua.
It was Mo Farah who won it after finishing third in 2011 and missing out on the top three altogether despite in 2012 despite his wonderful Olympics.
Joshua defeated Vladimir Klitschko in 2017, a bout that was named Fight of the Year. That wasn’t enough for the voters to even get him in the top three.
SPOTY 1954: Bannister Only Second
Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile is one of the greatest sporting achievements ever.
The record might not have stood for much over a month, but it was a definitive moment in athletics, the breaking of a barrier. Somehow, however, it wasn’t enough for Bannister to win Sports Personality of the Year.
Fellow athlete Christopher Chataway (who was a pace-maker on Bannister’s historic run) lifted SPOTY, despite Bannister also winning gold in the 1500 metres in 1954.
It was the first ever Sports Personality of the Year, and is still considered a surprising result.
Ballon D'Or Not Enough For Owen At SPOTY 2001
Michael Owen won the Ballon d’Or in 2001 as Liverpool won a treble. That, however, was only enough for third in Sports Personality of the Year.
David Beckham collected the award, primarily because of THAT free-kick against Greece. Ellen MacArthur finished second after a runner-up finish in a round-the-world sailing race.
With Beckham’s national popularity – particularly at that time – and, once again, the backing of Manchester United fans, it was easy to see how he won it.
Owen missing out on the award, in the same year he won the Ballon d’Or, however, never felt quite right.
SPOTY 2011: Cook & Strauss Snubbed
This is more about the declining profile of cricket than anything else. England won the Ashes in Australia in 2010/11, and whitewashed India in the English summer of 2011.
Alastair Cook had an all-time great Ashes and Andrew Strauss skippered England through those two brilliant series on their way to becoming the best Test team in the world.
Cricket fans’ votes were probably split because both were nominated, which didn’t help their cause. The eventual winner was Mark Cavendish, who enjoyed a brilliant year, winning the world road race.
It’s not the biggest shock in SPOTY history, but it was certainly a surprise to see Cook and Strauss combine for just 9.07% of the vote considering England’s achievements.
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Jon Super / AP Photo*