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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 16:33 GMT
And the loser is...
By Charlie Henderson

A host of sporting heroes and heroines have been honoured by the BBC with the title Sports Personality of the Year.

But for every Henry Cooper, one of three two-time winners, there is a Tony Jacklin, twice a runner-up.

BBC Sport hails some of sport's humbled heroes:


Roger Bannister
Roger Bannister
Athletics
2nd (1954)

The four-minute mile is the stuff of legend, Chris Chataway's 5,000m world record run of 13:51.6 at White City less so.

But Chataway won the vote, a result that suprised even him: "My race was only a few weeks before and I think that's what tipped it in my favour - it was fresher in people's memories."


Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton
Football
2nd (1958 & 1959)

The 20-year-old Charlton had a momentous year in 1958, making a goal-scoring England debut - with a typical Bobby thunderbolt - only months after surviving the Munich air disaster.

The Busby Babe was also part of the celebrated new United that reached the FA Cup final, losing 2-1 to Bolton Wanderers.

Charlton was to come second again at the end of the year to swimmer Ian Black. It was the same again 12 months later with John Surtees taking the top prize.


Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Motorsport - Formula One
3rd (1963) & 2nd (1965)

The twice world champion set a Formula One record in 1963 by winning seven races of a possible 10, but it still wasn't enough to land the BBC gong, as sprinter Dorothy Hyman triumphed.

It was the same story two years later, when he was beaten by cyclist Tom Simpson, despite winning six grand prix, including five in a row.


Barry Briggs
Motorsport - Speedway
2nd (1966)

But for 1966 and all that, Briggs could have become a household name. Maybe.

As it was, "Briggo" split Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst in the award votes after claiming his fourth world championship - more than the two World Cup winners could call on between them!


Graham Hill
Graham Hill
Motorsport - Formula One
2nd (1968)

Hill Snr picked up two world titles but no Sports Personality of the Year award. Son Damon got two, despite winning only one world title. Where's the justice in that?

Hill missed out completely in 1962 to the only ever all-female 1-2-3 of Anita Lonsbrough, Dorothy Hyman and Linda Ludgrove and his efforts stalled six years later when he landed his second world title in Olympic year.

That did not stop Damon in 1996 mind.


Tony Jacklin
Tony Jacklin
Golf
2nd (1969 & 1970)

The fact that Jacklin did not win looks even more amazing when viewed through sepia-tinted glasses.

In 1969, he was the first home winner of the Open in 17 years, the last for another 16 and he won five out of six points at the Ryder Cup where he beat Jack Nickluas.

The following year he beat Nicklaus again when he landed the US Open having led all four rounds to become the first Brit to win in 70 years, a feat no player has since matched.


George Best
George Best
Football
3rd (1969) & 2nd (1971)

European Cup winner and European Footballer of the Year in 1968 but Best did not figure in the Beeb's 1-2-3 breakdown.

Maybe as an afterthought, he did in two of the following three years, each time finishing behind a woman - Ann Jones and Princess Anne.

He finally got his hands on some end-of-year silverware with a Lifetime Achievement Award 12 months ago.


John Conteh
John Conteh
Boxing
2nd (1972)

Conteh landed the world light heavyweight title and came first in Superstars in a memorable year in and out of the ring, but those efforts did not count for much come the end of 1972.

Mary Peters' pentathlon gold in Munich proved a knock-out punch not even Conteh could counter.


James Hunt
James Hunt
Motorsport - Formula One
2nd (1976)

"Hunt the Shunt" was beaten to the chequered flag by figure skating Olympic gold medallist John Curry.

His near miss came in the year he claimed the world championship after Niki Lauda withdrew at a rain-lashed Japanese Grand Prix, where Hunt finished third to claim first prize overall.


Geoff Boycott
Geoff Boycott
Cricket
2nd (1977)

Only a miscarriage of justice would have denied Virginia Wade victory in 1977 after her jubilee Wimbledon win.

For once, even the self-styled "Greatest Living Yorkshireman" could not claim he deserved to come out on top, despite a successful return to Test cricket and his 100th century coming at Headingley against Australia.


Kevin Keegan
Kevin Keegan
Football
3rd (1979)

"King Kevin" won acclaim in a heavyweight year.

In 1979, he assumed the captaincy of the national team and retained the title of European Footballer of the Year during his German sojourn with Hamburg.

It was also the year he trailed in behind Seb Coe and Ian Botham at Sports Personality.


Kenny Dalglish
Kenny Dalglish
Football
3rd (1986)

Football was largely overlooked for the awards until the sport became sexy in the 90s.

Tottenham and Arsenal players had been ignored in the individual honours when the clubs won the League and FA Cup Double, but Liverpool at least, and at last, made an impression.

"King Kenny", the Liverpool player/manager, trailed in behind Nigel Mansell and Fatima Whitbread to become the first footballer since "King Kevin" to figure in the shake-up.


Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker
Football
3rd (1991)

Football's Mr Nice could not get his hands on the trophy during his playing days and a third place in 1991 was the closest he got.

Team-mate Paul Gascoigne was given the nod after Italia 90 and, despite an FA Cup victory with Tottenham, Lineker finished behind Liz McColgan and then brother-in-law Will Carling in 1991.


Sandy Lyle
Sandy Lyle
Golf
3rd (1988)

Lyle became the first Briton to win the US Masters in 1988, but found himself snookered by Steve Davis and sunk by swimmer Adrian Moorhouse when it came to the end-of-year prize-giving.

Fast forward 12 months and Nick Faldo became the second Briton to slip the Green Jacket on before going on to lift the BBC prize.


Sally Gunnell
Sally Gunnell
Athletics
3rd (1992) & 2nd (1993 & 1994)

A host of the great and the good in sporting circles have missed out on the BBC's top prize, finishing on the podium more than once, but Gunnell wins gold among the also rans with a hat-trick of near misses.

Nigel Mansell, Linford Christie and Damon Hill all pipped her to the post despite Britain's hurdles heroine's haul of golds at European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic level.


Frank Bruno
Frank Bruno
Boxing
2nd (1989 & 1995)

Bruno went six years between getting his hands on the miniature trophy for second, which looked even smaller in his giant palms.

Those hands had been his tools in helping him win the public's hearts in both defeat and victory.

In the 80s he was seen as a serial loser and won acclaim for his efforts in the ring against Mike Tyson in 1989. Six years on he returned as WBC world heavyweight champion - but still could not win the big trophy.


Tim Henman
Tim Henman
Tennis
2nd (1997)

"Tiger Tim" is the darling of the British tennis fraternity, but despite winning his first ATP title and reaching the last eight of Wimbledon in 1997 - he lost out to great rival Greg Rusedski.

In the same year, his Canadian-born compatriot became the first British player to finish the year in the world's top 10, won two titles in a career-high six finals, which included becoming the first Briton to reach a Grand Slam final (US Open) since 1936.





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