Top stars vie for BBC sports crown

First published in National News © by

One of Britain's top sports stars will be crowned the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year as the nation celebrates a year of sporting achievement hailed as the greatest ever.

Olympic and Paralympic heroes dominate the list, with golfer Rory McIlroy the only one of the 12 nominees not to have won medals at London 2012 this summer.

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins is the bookmakers' odds-on favourite after his historic triumph in the Tour de France and gold in the Olympics time trial, followed by heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.

Mo Farah, double gold medallist in the 5,000 metres and 10,000m, is ranked third favourite with the bookies, just ahead of Andy Murray, who became the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open and won an Olympic gold.

David Weir, the wheelchair athlete who won four golds in London, and four-time Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds are the leading Paralympians with the bookies.

The list of nominees has been extended from 10 to 12 this year to reflect the incredible year for British sport.

The strength of competition has meant the only two British women to win double gold medals at the Olympics - cyclist Laura Trott and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin - did not make the shortlist.

Fellow Olympians Greg Rutherford, Victoria Pendleton, and Alistair Brownlee, along with Europe's Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, also missed out.

The nominees were chosen by an an expert panel including national newspaper sports editors and three former award nominees, Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Denise Lewis.

The panel also selected the winners of the coach of the year, team of the year and overseas personality.

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