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Sports Personality facts and figures

Elton John, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
Elton John presented the 1984 award to Torvill and Dean

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Birmingham LG Arena Date: Sunday, 19 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year celebrates its 57th anniversary this year and remains one of the most important fixtures on the sporting calendar.

The end-of-the-year television spectacle began in 1954, when it attracted a television audience of 12m, who watched athlete Chris Chataway pick up the main award in recognition of setting the 5,000m world record.

Chataway fought off tough competition, beating Roger Bannister to the award, despite Bannister becoming the first man to run a mile in under four minutes that same year - where Chataway was his pacemaker.

Votes were cast by postcard back in 1954, with 14,517 votes arriving at BBC HQ.

Since Chataway was honoured, there have been 54 sportsmen and sportswomen who have won the coveted title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year, while many others have been recipients of the other BBC Spoty awards.

BBC Sport has delved through the archives to look back on the history of Sports Personality of the Year.


• BBC's Sports Personality of the Year was created in 1954 by Sir Paul Fox, then editor of the magazine show Sportsview, and was presented by Peter Dimmock.

• Dimmock was the first of 11 presenters. Frank Bough, Harry Carpenter, Des Lynam, Steve Rider, Sue Barker, Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, John Inverdale, Adrian Chiles and Jake Humphery have all played their part since. Bough was the longest running presenter, notching up a record 19 shows between 1964 and 1982.

• The first show was called Sportsview, before it was re-titled as Sports Review of the Year and then became, as we know it today, Sports Personality of the Year, in 1999.

• The event had been hosted at various venues around London before the decision was taken to move the show outside the capital four years ago and give the public the chance to attend the staging. The Birmingham NEC was its first port of call in 2006 and 2007 before the event moved on to Liverpool's Echo Arena in 2008 and the Sheffield Arena in 2009. Birmingham will host the show for a third time in 2010 when the LG Arena hosts the show.

• Other venues to have hosted the ceremony include the Savoy Hotel, Grosvenor House Hotel, Television Theatre, Shepherd's Bush Empire, New London Theatre, Queen Elizabeth II Centre and BBC Television Centre.


• Swimmer Ian Black became the youngest winner of the award in 1958, at the age of 17, and golfer Dai Rees is the oldest winner, having picked up the accolade at the age of 44 in 1957.

• Kelly Holmes win in 2004 was the 17th time a track and field athlete had received the accolade - the most of any sport. This is followed by motor racing, which has produced six winners. Boxing and football have both provided five winners, with four winners from the world of Cricket. Perhaps surprisingly there has only been one winner from Rugby Union - Jonny Wilkinson in 2003.

• Only three people have won the award twice: Henry Cooper (1967 and 1970), Nigel Mansell (1986 and 1992) and Damon Hill (1994 and 1996).

• In 1960, the first Overseas Personality of the Year award was picked up by Australian athlete Herb Elliott. The same year, the inaugural Team of the Year prize was presented to the Cooper Formula One Racing team.

• Swimmer Anita Lonsbrough was the first female to win Personality of the Year in 1962, with Dorothy Hyman (1963) and Mary Rand (1964) making it a hat-trick of female winners.


• Skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won Team of the Year twice (1982 & 1983) and Sports Personality of the Year once, in their golden year of 1984. Bobby Moore, Nick Faldo, showjumper David Broome, Steve Redgrave, David Beckham, Jonny Wilkinson, Andrew Flintoff and Ryan Giggs are the only others to have collected the individual prize and been part of a winning Team of the Year.

• Muhammad Ali has been named Overseas Personality of the Year three times (1973, 1974 and 78) - a feat matched by Roger Federer (2004, 2006, 2007) However, Ali was also awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Century Award in 1999.

• The Ryder Cup Golf team (Europe and Britain) are the most successful team, winning Team of the Year in 1985, 1987, 1995 and 2002. However, football teams have collected the trophy on more occasions than anyone else, taking the trophy 12 times - with Liverpool lifting it on three occasions (1977, 1986 and 2001).

Manager of the Year - Leeds United's Don Revie (1969)
Special Team Award - GB men's 4x400m team (1986)
Good Sport Awards - Derek Warwick, Martin Donnelly, Louise Aitken-Walker for motorsport (1990)
International Team Award - Alan Bond and the crew of Australia II in sailing (1983)
Sports Personality of the Century Award - Muhammed Ali (1999)

• Sir Alex Ferguson was named as the first winner of the Coach of the Year award in 1999. The Manchester United manager also won the first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

• Dean Macey (1999) and Jenson Button (2000) won the Newcomer of the Year awards before that award was replaced by the Young Personality of the Year prize in 2001 - last won by Tom Daley in 2009.

The Helen Rollason Award, named after the former BBC sports presenter who died after a battle against cancer, was introduced in 1999.

The Unsung Hero award began life in 2003 and is awarded to a volunteer who has made a difference to their community through sport.

Three Special Awards have also been presented to Sebastian Coe (2005) for helping with the London 2012 bid, to comedian David Walliams (2006) for raising money for Sport Relief by swimming the Channel and to comedian Eddie Izzard (2009) for raising money for Sport Relief by running 43 marathons in 51 days.


• Every time a British athlete has won an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics, that person has gone on to lift the SPOTY trophy - John Curry (1976) and Robin Cousins (1980). The success of Torvill and Dean in 1984 suggests SPOTY viewers are fond of their Winter Olympic champions.

• Surprisingly no jockey has ever won the main award - AP McCoy came third in 2002, while Frankie Dettori was third in 1996. Lester Piggot was given special achievement awards in 1984 and 1994 to recognise his incredible achievements.

• The last golfer to win SPOTY was Nick Faldo in 1989, after winning the US Open and being part of the successful Ryder Cup team.

• In the award's 57-year history, only once has six years passed without a track and field athlete winning the main award. Five years have now passed since the last track and field athlete, Kelly Holmes, picked up the gong.

• In the last 57 years there have been 14 years containing Summer and/or Winter Olympic Games. In those 14 years SPOTY has been won by an Olympian on 10 occasions.

see also
Sports Personality roll of honour
22 Dec 10 |  Sports Personality


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