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  Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 14:30 GMT
Story behind the trophy
Sports Review presenters Gary Lineker, Steve Rider and Sue Barker with the trophy
The Sports Review team with the famous trophy

By today's standards, it did not cost very much when it was first created.

But, three decades later, the trophy presented annually to the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year is now considered priceless.

That is because this silver-plated four-turret lens camera, which cost around 1,000 when it was created in the 1950s, has become part of British sporting folklore.

  Winners - 1950s
1954: Chris Chataway
1955: Gordon Pirie
1956: Jim Laker
1957: Dai Rees
1958: Ian Black
1959: John Surtees

Along the way the trophy has found its way on to the mantelpieces of, among others, Jim Laker, Stirling Moss, Bobby Moore, Ian Botham and Lennox Lewis.

Chris White, senior sports studio manager at the BBC, has worked on 11 Sports Review of the Year programmes.

He told BBC Sport Online a little about the history of the trophy itself.

"It used to have one plinth on it but it's now got three, because over the years we just had to keep adding another plinth to put little shields on.

  Winners - 1960s
1960: David Broome
1961: Stirling Moss
1962: Anita Lonsbrough
1963: Dorothy Hyman
1964: Mary Rand
1965: Tommy Simpson
1966: Bobby Moore
1967: Henry Cooper
1968: David Hemery
1969: Ann Jones
"So it's now probably about six to eight inches taller than it was originally." he said.

The trophy presented to this year's winner will be the original which was given to the first winner, athlete Chris Chataway, in 1954.

But, since 1981, there has been a replica.

That was the year Ian Botham won and, because the cricketer was in Australia for the winter, an identical trophy had to be on hand Down Under as the votes came in.

"So now we have two", said White.

  Winners - 1970s
1970: Henry Cooper
1971: Princess Anne
1972: Mary Peters
1973: Jackie Stewart
1974: Brendan Foster
1975: David Steele
1976: John Curry
1977: Virginia Wade
1978: Steve Ovett
1979: Sebastian Coe
"The original one is always there on the night, and you can't tell the difference unless you rub your hand on the bottom because the original one has a hole there!"

Winners keep the original trophy for around eight or nine months, before the BBC collects it to prepare for the next show.

Perhaps surprisingly, the trophy has never been lost or come back damaged.

It is nevertheless given a polish and a clean and on the night is presented to that year's winner. But they do not take it with them immediately.

  Winners - 1980s
1980: Robin Cousins
1981: Ian Botham
1982: Daley Thompson
1983: Steve Cram
1984: Torvill and Dean
1985: Barry McGuigan
1986: Nigel Mansell
1987: Fatima Whitbread
1988: Steve Davis
1989: Nick Faldo
Instead their name has to be engraved on - the Sports Review team never like to put the name on ahead of their show even when they know who has won.

That can lead to problems, such as in 1999 when Muhammad Ali was given the Sports Personality of the Century prize.

The former heavyweight boxing champion was returning to America the following morning and wanted to take his trophy with him.

So a quick dash to the engravers as soon as they opened on Monday was necessary!

  Winners - 1990s
1990: Paul Gascoigne
1991: Liz McColgan
1992: Nigel Mansell
1993: Linford Christie
1994: Damon Hill
1995: Jonathan Edwards
1996: Damon Hill
1997: Greg Rusedski
1998: Michael Owen
1999: Lennox Lewis
Normally there is a bit more time to spare and the award is engraved before Christmas.

"It will be delivered to them, deliberately, just before Christmas", said White.

"It's one of these strange things where a lot of people actually want it to put on their Christmas table."

Senior sports studio manager White is always enjoys watching the reaction of the winner and points to the example of Steve Redgrave in 2000.

  Winners - 2000s
2000: Steve Redgrave
2001: David Beckham
"He was absolutely overwhelmed that he'd won this thing," said White.

"Even though he'd won five gold medals he saw it as the pinnacle.

"He said he'd been coming to Sports Review of the Year for many years and now he'd won it. They are flabbergasted when they get it, which is a nice reaction after all these years of the programme."

In-depth section on the big BBC awards

Radcliffe triumphs


Winners in profile

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