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Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Sports Personality Q&A: Jake Humphrey

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Liverpool Echo Arena Date: Sunday, 14 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.

This year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards live from Liverpool promises to be a special one for those watching and attending the showpiece.

But for presenter Jake Humphrey the show will be of personal significance because it will be the first Sports Personality he will have co-hosted.

Jake took time out from preparing for the show to answer questions on the event, his broadcasting year and his love of sport.

Jake Humphrey
Jake Humphrey
BBC Sports Personality presenter

Q. Co-hosting the event must be a dream come true for you Jake. Are you looking forward to Sports Personality?

A. I absolutely can't wait. I got the call when I was doing my wife's ironing a couple of weeks ago, so it more than brightened up an otherwise dull Wednesday!

Ask any sports presenter to list their greatest ambitions and Match of the Day and Sports Personality will be at the very top - they were certainly on mine.

I presented Match of the Day last year, so to now get the chance to join the short but impressive line-up of presenters lucky enough to host Sports Personality is just incredible.

As much as it's exciting there is also a sense of apprehension when taking on such a special programme. The greatest presenter of my generation and one of my heroes - Des Lynam - set the standard that we all must follow so that's not easy - added to that it's now held in an arena that seats almost 10,000 people so it's not the time to mess up your words!

Q. What's your earliest sporting memory?

Stuart Pearce
Not the greatest day for England's Stuart Pearce at Euro '96 or for Jake


My very earliest memory is probably Italia '90, when I was just 12. I had an Italia '90 mini-ball that got a lot of use out in the garden.

The two times I remember being really affected by sport though, was firstly in 1993 when Motty (commentator John Motson) famously remarked "this is almost fantasy football". It was for me. I was sitting in our living room watching Norwich City beat Bayern at the Olympic Stadium, the greatest night of my football supporting life.

On the flip-side I remember cycling home from my mates house an hour or so after England were knocked out of Euro '96 - I was so low. It was the first time sport had really affected me in a negative way. I remember really feeling there wasn't much to be excited about for the remaining few weeks of the school holidays.

Q. Were you a sporty person?

A. Ha! No, I was appalling. I would have been a crowd favourite if I'd have become a professional sportsman though, because I was a real trier and had vivid dreams of greatness.

I joined a cycling club when Chris Boardman was re-writing history on both wheels, but after a few amateur races around flat, windy old airfields in Norfolk with older kids tearing off into the distance and me almost being blown off my bike, I decided it wasn't for me.

I did play in the school football team, wanting to be Bryan Robson, I got all my Baga gymnastics badges, and also took part in an amateur snowboard competition in Andorra, representing Great Britain, which was filmed for a TV show - I came last.

I still have a huge passion for winter sports, will try anything and love to keep fit. I think as far as elite level sports concerned I'll just stick to talking about it.

Q. Have you got a favourite Sports Personality winner or a favourite Sports Personality moment?

A. It's a special show packed with so many memories, some sad, many inspiring and almost all reminding us why sport plays such an important part in our lives.

My three most vivid memories would be Sir Steve Redgrave winning the award in 2000. I remember he'd won all but one race that year and as far as my family were concerned it was a foregone conclusion, but we still cheered like mad when he did it and how he deserved it!

I experienced contrasting emotions when, in 1999, Muhammad Ali was voted Sports Personality of the Century as he accepted his award from Lennox Lewis and announced he might just return to the ring!

I was also moved to tears just two years ago as Paul Hunter, who I thought was a cracking snooker player and a great ambassador for the game, was remembered with an incredible tribute from his fellow professionals and his wife.

Below are a few questions put to Jake by our 606 users:

Q. What do you consider your favourite Beijing moment? And having been there, do you think London will deliver the same level of drama we saw this summer?
Hotneedleofenquiry on 606

Olympic and Paralympic Parade
The Olympic and Paralympic Parade was a highlight for Jake

Firstly Hotneedleofenquiry I have no doubt that London will match the drama of Beijing. The Olympians themselves want to keep pushing the boundaries, breaking records, and re-writing history, so they will, I'm sure, do the business on the tracks, in the pool and at the various Olympic venues.

Britain itself will play a huge part in this. I recently hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Parade in Trafalgar Square which, I think, was a great snapshot of why we'll do so well. Successful athletes, hugely passionate crowds, a party atmosphere, historic landmark venues and hopefully some sunshine!

My greatest personal moment was being pool-side in the Water Cube as an emotional Michael Phelps won his eighth gold of the games. We were all on our feet to celebrate a truly remarkable guy.

Q. What was your sporting moment of the year?
Super-cain on 606

A. Hi Super-cain, thanks for your question. I think it has to be something we witnessed in Beijing. It's easy, when the Games were so full of records, personal triumph and incredible achievement, to not put the achievements of two guys into perspective.

Phelps, who proved just what you can achieve with dedication, talent, and an awesome team. Also, Usain Bolt. The guy didn't just win his two gold medals, he snatched them from his closest challengers without hardly breaking sweat. Confident, talented, a showman, just what world-class athletics needs and someone who I hope can inspire generations to come.

Q.Jake, who do you think is the most deserving of Sports Personality of the Year this time around?
Ashleygiles1 on 606

A. Well, I'm so lucky to be involved this year Ashleygiles1 in what must be one of the most competitive battles for the main prize.

Lewis Hamilton achieved something remarkable, not just in the last corner of the last race, but over the whole season as he became the youngest Formula One champion in just his second season (his hero Ayrton Senna won it is his fifth!).

Andy Murray has shown what many always believed, that he has the ability to reach the very top in tennis.

Some incredible stories were written in the pool and the velodrome in Beijing, along with other Olympians who more than deserve to be considered.

A quite incredible year, and having been on the Young Sports Personality of the Year judging panel, I can tell you that that category is just as tight. A special year for the senior contenders and there are some special youngsters about too.

Thanks for your questions and I really hope the night of the 14th is one to remember - it certainly will be for me.

Sun 14 Dec, 1900 GMT,
BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live.

see also
Who will win Sports Personality?
10 Nov 08 |  Sports Personality
Young Sports Personality: The top 10
12 Nov 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality presenters
21 Oct 09 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality roll of honour
10 Oct 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality facts and figures
09 Oct 08 |  Sports Personality
Calzaghe wins Sports Personality
10 Dec 07 |  Sport Homepage


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