So, the BBC announced the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award 2010. The list was:
- Mark Cavendish
- Tom Daley
- Jessica Ennis
- David Haye
- AP McCoy
- Graeme McDowell
- Graeme Swann
- Phil Taylor
- Lee Westwood
- Amy Williams
Now, I know that such shortlists are always the subject of some conjecture, but there is a big problem. One person probably shouldn’t be in the list, one person definitely should.
There is one person on the list whose sporting endeavour is to chuck 40g of titanium at a sisal rope board 237cm away.
There is one person not on the list who drives a 650HP racing car, in company with 32 other drivers driving 650HP racing cars, at an average (qualifying lap) speed of 229mph.
Yes, Phil “The Power” Taylor has won another world championship, and has had a stellar year in 2010. But he chucks 40g darts less than two and a half metres. Dario Franchitti won the IndyCar series title for the third time, driving two and a half miles in 39 seconds. Let’s watch the men in action:
Look, Phil’s successful and skilled. What he hasn’t done is left his homeland, travelled to America, taken on a specialised form of sport, and beaten the natives. THREE TIMES. The physical and mental skill required are undeniable in both disciplines, but if Phil Taylor gets into difficulty, then – at the end of the day – how much damage can 40g of titanium actually do? A bit stabby is all. Look again at what happened to Mike Conway in that same Indy 500 race:
I think that in the UK media, motorsport is generally overlooked at everything except F1 level. Britain has a really strong motorsport heritage, and it’s probably the only sport at which Britain remains truly excellent. Yet the SPOTY panel have remained insular and parochial, focussing only on sports that not only feature Britons, but which are played out on British shores. In so doing, the UK media ignore the truly epic adventures of those who choose to plough a different furrow, but who achieve true success nonetheless.
Because of this narrow-mindedness, and because of the fact that Dario Franchitti’s brilliance has been overlooked yet again, I for one shall not be watching the show.