|Andy Murray wins Wimbledon 2013|
With less than a month to go until the BBC Sports Personality of the Year is broadcast across the country for the sixtieth time, the competition for that illustrious trophy is fiercer than ever. With the Lions tour of Australia, the Ashes, the World Athletics Championships and the Tour De France all having produced successful results for Team GB, it's impossible to predict who will even be nominated, let alone win. All this is, of course, on top of Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon triumph, becoming the first Brit to have his name to a Grand Slam for seventy-seven years. A shortlist of ten is to be revealed on Tuesday and only the best will make the cut, so who is it that's in with a real chance of claiming the title that's considered the one of the ultimate sporting privileges in the country?
British cycling has been as prominent as ever this year and, once again, we have produced another Tour De France winner. Chris Froome took home the title after winning the general classification on 21st July with a final time of 83 hours, 56 minutes and 40 seconds, four minutes and 20 seconds ahead of second-placed Quintana. The former was King of the Mountains six times on the tour despite getting off to a nervy start as he crashed in the neutralised section of the first stage on the isle of Corsica. This year, Froome's other achievements include winning the Tour of Oman and the Criterium International, as well as gaining a bronze medal in the team time trial at the Road World Championships. He was later named winner of the prestigious Vélo d'Or award for the best rider of the year and his achievements in cycling don't go unnoticed since his name has already been linked with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy next month.
The 25th August was a day which topped off an excellent summer for British sport as The Ashes came to a close. A 3-0 victory for England was more than enough to send the Australians home unhappy and Ian Bell produced a display to be remembered for the hosts. He scored the most runs of anyone, a figure which exceeded 550, and bagged the most centuries, along with the highest batting average. Bell was named Player of the Series and picked up the Compton-Miller medal, invented especially for the Ashes. After building up game-changing partnerships with both Bairstow and Root, Bell demonstrated his ability to hit balls left, right and centre. His performance down under, in the current Ashes Series, may determine whether he picks up the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award since he may need more than one strong performance if he's to beat the strong competition that there is.
Just when you think that it can't get any better for British sport, our golden boy Mo Farah steps up at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow to take both the 5k and 10k in dramatic style. The high expectations of Farah, following his two gold medals at the 2012 Olympics, meant that the pressure was really on (particularly after he narrowly finished 2nd in the 10k at the Championships 2 years ago). This was the race which came around first and hopes were high. As expected, he was victorious, seeing off a late challenge by Ibrahim Jelian to gain his fourth global title. Virtually a week later, Farah's success was repeated as he crossed the line first to gain the 5k title. He therefore became the current double world and Olympic champion and subsequent to this 5k victory, commentator Foster labelled Farah as "Britain's greatest ever athlete". He was also shortlisted for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award topping off an excellent 12 months. However, it remains to be seen whether this gifted individual can round off a special period in his career with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy.
Finally, it would be wrong not to include one particular Scotsman who achieved the ultimate goal in the world of tennis. The 7th July 2013 saw Andy Murray crowned the Wimbledon Champion, an achievement that is a rarity among Brits. Despite Djokovic being the favourite to gain the title, in a little over three hours the final was done and dusted with Murray coming out on top by three sets to none. With the win, he also became only the second man in the open era after Rafael Nadal to hold the Olympic singles gold medal and Wimbledon title simultaneously. The reaction of the crowd at match point proved just how huge the moment was and, after years of waiting, Murray created the largest cheer Centre Court had seen for decades. On top of the summer's phenomenal events, Murray was also victorious in several other competitions in 2013. The Brisbane Open, Miami Masters and the Aegon International at Queens were all tournaments where the Scotsman came out on top and performances towards the start of the year, especially after reaching the final in the Australian Open, led to him gaining a career-high ranking of number two in the world. Therefore, after a year of nothing but greatness, Andy Murray stands in good stead of going two better than last year and receiving the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, for the first time, in 2013.
So, after looking at a range of different athletes in a number of different sports, it appears difficult to determine which one will come away from Leeds with the award next month. Andy Murray looks to be in the strongest position after accomplishing something which hasn't been achieved by a British man in seventy-seven years, however it wouldn't be too surprising if any of the above got their hands on the trophy instead. Such a fantastic year of British sport will only make the award ceremony more interesting and we will just have to wait and see how the public votes and the results unfold on the night.