Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Button undone by Giggs

A weekend of surprise sporting results culminated on Sunday with the greatest shock of them all, as Ryan Giggs was nominated as the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY).

According to the BBC, Giggs, 36, received 29.4% of the vote, seeing off the favourite, Jenson Button, who came second with 18.74%. Jessica Ennis was third.

"I'm really pleased and am in total shock to win the award" said Giggs.

"I was honestly surprised just to be on the list of nominees."

Well, so were we Ryan. But how did he manage to win the award, pipping Button at the post?

This question has already sparked off a multitude of different possible reasons for the outcome, and the topic seemed to dominate Facebook statuses, along with X Factor related banter.

I mention X Factor because it has been at the root of many discussions surrounding how Giggs managed to win the award.

With so many millions of viewers watching ITV and Joe McElderry romping towards an inevitable Christmas number one, some say that it may have become easier to wangle the votes if not so many people were watching the BBC's SPOTY.

Yesterday, bookies began to probe the late surge of Giggs votes, thinking there may have been some dodgy doings.

The bottom line is that Giggs would have been a more suitable candidate for the Lifetime Achievement award (perhaps in 10-20 years time), rather than the sports personality of 2009.

Sure, Giggs had some cracking performances during the year, but he also sat on the bench for much of it too.

Furthermore, the lack of success within the Welsh national team meant that he didn't achieve greatness at a national level; unlike most of the other nominees for the award.

Anyway, you may be interested to know that the results of the latest TTS poll didn't favour Mr Giggs in the slightest. 12 votes were cast and Ryan received diddly squat.

Button won your vote with nine, and Mark Cavendish, Jessica Ennis and David Haye came second equal receiving one vote each. I completely agree with my readers on this one.

For those of you who aren't aware of the other award winners on the night, here they are:

Coach of the Year - Fabio Capello

Team of the Year - England’s Ashes Team

Overseas Personality – Usain Bolt

Young Personality – Tom Daley

Lifetime Achievement – Seve Ballesteros

Helen Rollason Award – Major Phil Packer

Unsung Hero – Doreen Adcock

Special Award – Eddie Izzard

For me, the highlight of the proceedings was Seve receiving his lifetime award from Jose Maria Olazabal. A moving moment where Seve (on a live video feed from Spain) received a standing ovation from the Sheffield Arena crowd and what seemed like a never-ending applause.

I have to admit, at times I flicked across to see the latest from the X Factor final, to see George Michael gyrating and Paul Mcartney being wheeled out. But when I switched back to BBC to find James Corden presenting Eddie Izzard with an award, I thought I had turned onto a rerun of the British Comedy Awards, which was held the previous evening.

Still, after seeing Chelsea draw with Everton, Manchester United losing to Villa, Spurs losing to Wolves and Liverpool being beaten by Arsenal having been in complete control, I would believe anything. Even Giggs being voted as the best sports personality of 2009.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

TTS Relaunched - Game On

It's back!

Over eight months have passed and plenty of top-class sport has occurred, but finally, TTS has returned to the fold to stir up a frenzy of sporting debates.

Since my last blog, I have gained a masters degree in Multi-Media Journalism, which took up a lot of my time. My eyes however, haven't strayed from the world's sporting arenas.

I thought I would use this opportunity as a sports catch-up session, to refresh the memories of the highs and lows that have taken place since TTS went into hibernation. This posting will also act as a build-up to the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year 2009 award (see the poll on the left of the TTS homepage to make your prediction of the winner).

So here goes. Below is a list, in no particular order, of some of the major sporting achievements over the last eight or so months, which have been caught in the media spotlight:

Usain Bolt's incredible new world records set in the 100m (9.58s) and 200m (19.19s) at the World Championships in Berlin.

Roger Federer winning The French Open for the first time and Wimbledon for the sixth time.
Juan Martin del Potro beating Federer to win the US Open.

Jenson Button clinching the Formula One World Championship.

England defeating Australia to regain The Ashes.

Ireland winning the Six Nations, and their first Grand Slam since 1948.

Angel Cabrera presented with the green jacket after winning The Masters.
Stewart Cink beating Tom Watson in a playoff to win The Open.
Yang Yong-eun outplaying Tiger Woods to win the U.S. PGA.
Lucas Glover winning the U.S. Open.

England winning nine out of ten qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup.

David Haye defeating the giant Nikolay Valuev to become the WBA Heavyweight champion.

These are just some of the many great achievements in sport over the past eight months, but with regard to British success, who will be most likely to win the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award?

The ten people shortlisted for the award were put together by a panel of 26 sports editors from national and regional newspapers and magazines. Darts legend Phil Taylor was nominated various times, but he didn't get enough votes to be included in the shortlist.

Although there are ten contenders, you can rule out quite a few of them to actually win the award. They have all performed superbly well in their sports, but you can't help thinking that one of the more high profile sports stars, who plays a more high profile sport, is more likely to win.

As Lloyd Grossman used to say: "Let's look at the evidence."

Well, Andy Murray hasn't won a major so he has very little chance of winning, and Phillips Idowu is unlikely to be jumping for joy either.

Andrew Strauss may have captained England to Ashes victory, but it's doubtful he will get anywhere near the podium, let alone winning. Compared to when Michael Vaughan captained the Ashes winning side, the coverage of the event was pathetic, which doesn't help Strauss's chances.

Tom Daley, great achievement for such a young lad, but he didn't win at an Olympics, which sends his hopes diving down the drain.

Ryan Giggs, well, as David Brent once said in The Office: "I shouldn't have thought so". Although, Sir Alex Ferguson begs to differ. But then again, he would.

David Haye has a chance of a podium spot after the enormous feat he achieved, but before the fight, he wasn't all that well known and simply hasn't been around at the top for long enough to win.

Jessica Ennis and Beth Tweddle have both had a cracking year in their respective athletic disciplines, but once again, the wins were not at an Olympic Games, and in athletics/gymnastics, that is the pinnacle. They may make the podium, Ennis possibly more likely, but surely neither will win.

This doesn't leave us with many people to choose from. To be precise, two.

Mark Cavendish has the good fortune to excel in a sport which the BBC loves to cover and reward. This is of course cycling. Last year's winner was a cyclist, which doesn't necessarily help Cavendish's chances, but his success over the year has been truly impressive. Still, can't see him winning the trophy, podium finish perhaps.

This leaves Jenson Button; in my view, the favourite to win.

Last year, Lewis Hamilton won the F1 Championship but didn't win the Sports Personality trophy. He had the rotten luck of winning during an Olympic year, which drove his chances of crossing the finish line to dust. Jenson has avoided this clash.

The BBC pumps big time cash into the coverage rights for F1, and historically, F1 drivers have a good record for winning the SPOTY trophy (Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill; the latter two both winning twice).

Surely Button will sew up the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

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