Going into last weekend's Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in Glasgow, one could be forgiven for believing that it was a two horse race, and that eight of the candidates were simply making up the numbers, or at least battling for third.
That is no disrespect to the likes of Jo Pavey, Carl Froch, Adam Peaty and the rest. What these sporting stars have achieved deserves great recognition, and one major positive of sports personality of the year is how it highlights the various sports that the general public rarely see or hear about.
Those competing in these arenas deserve just as much credit as those within football, tennis, formula one, rugby, cricket and the Olympic sports. It is however, usually those performers who excel themselves among what is popular with the public that will take the accolade of Britain's best sportsman or woman.
Hamilton a worthy contender
Look back on the past winners of this prestigious award and you will see some truly talented individuals; Stirling Moss, Henry Cooper, Virginia Wade, Seb Coe, Ian Botham, Steve Davis, Linford Christie, Steve Redgrave, Jonny Wilkinson, Ryan Giggs and Sir Chris Hoy just to name a few. All giants of British sport. They prove that you must do something special to claim the title of the countries sports personality of the year.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Rory Mcllroy made strong cases to take the crown in 2014, proving to be the top competitors in both their respective pursuits. Lets just put into context the scale of what both managed to achieve. Hamilton not only managed to win the formula one world championship in grand style, he did it for a team who had not found glory since Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955.
Mercedes may have plowed investment into its cars and shown ambitions to be the best, but it was Hamilton behind the wheel who had to push them over the line. The British driver also had stiff competition from his German teammate and rival Nico Rosberg, who could so easily have taken the championship himself if it were not for Hamilton's consistency throughout the season.
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McIlroy more deserving due to scale of achievement
Added to this is the fact that no British driver since Jackie Stewart has been able to achieve two formula one championships, ranking Hamilton firmly above the likes of James Hunt, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill, all who were considered successful racers. Hamilton it seems, is now at least on the path to greatness, and can be considered one of Formula one's modern superstars.
But then there is Rory McIlroy, whose performances this year have had pundits uttering that his abilities are among the likes of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Indeed, McIlroy's two masters titles this year out of a possible four meant that he is the first since those two golfing greats who has been able to claim three majors before the age of 25. That in itself tells you that he has been Britain's greatest sports personality of the year.
Timing likely played a huge part
To achieve such a feat and be considered the undisputed golfing champion in the world at such a young age makes you wander, how could we as the public have looked passed the Northern Irishman? It may have been the very fact that those most patriotic Englishman would rather see an Englishman win the award.
The timing may have also played a big part, as a Formula One season that finished only three weeks ago was more fresh in the minds of voters, or perhaps Formula One simply has a bigger following than golf, at least of those who voted.
If you think about it in great detail, both have achieved a huge amount in their respective sports. The difference is that Lewis Hamilton is half way to being a Formula One great. Mcilroy is already among golf's greatest.
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