Ok, unless you are living on Jupiter, you probably know this already: after 30 years of being ignored, snooker has a spot in SPOTY! Indeed Ronnie has made it into the shortlist.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is on the shortlist of nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award for the first time in his career.
The shortlist is announced today and O’Sullivan has been named as one of six nominees, alongside Lewis Hamilton, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson, Hollie Doyle and Tyson Fury.
O’Sullivan won the World Championship for the sixth time earlier this year, beating Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the Crucible final. That reinforced his status as snooker’s greatest ever player, having won a record 37 ranking titles and 20 Triple Crown events. He also holds the records for the most century breaks, with 1,070, and most 147s with 15.
O’Sullivan won his first ranking title at the age of just 17 at the 1993 UK Championship, and 27 years later he is still a regular winner of tournaments and ranked second in the world. At 44, he is the oldest World Champion since Ray Reardon in 1978.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be televised on BBC One on the evening of Sunday December 20th and the winner will be named on the night after a public vote.
It’s the first time a snooker player has been in the mix for the main award since Stephen Hendry in 1990. The only snooker player to win it was Steve Davis in 1988.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “This is fully deserved for snooker’s greatest ever player and one of the most talented British sportsmen of all time. His nomination is well overdue so I am delighted that he is finally on the shortlist. Ronnie’s popularity among fans has helped us to grow snooker around the world. I hope he wins the award and that anyone who loves sport will vote for him based on his incredible achievements over the years.”
BBC’s Director of Sport Barbara Slater said of this year’s awards: “As we know, it has been a strange and unprecedented year, but we have still been fortunate enough to see plenty of sporting highlights which we look forward to honouring on the night.
“The 67th BBC Sports Personality of the Year award promises to be another exciting and tough choice for audiences.”
Votes can be cast by phone or online on the evening of Sunday 20 December and the number to call for each contender will be revealed during the programme. For further information and full Terms and Conditions, go to bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality.
The prestigious award has been running since 1954. Here are the former winners:
1954 Sir Chris Chataway
1955 Gordon Pirie
1956 Jim Laker
1957 Dai Rees
1958 Ian Black
1959 John Surtees
1960 David Broome
1961 Sir Stirling Moss
1962 Anita Lonsbrough
1963 Dorothy Hyman
1964 Mary Rand
1965 Tommy Simpson
1966 Bobby Moore
1967 Sir Henry Cooper
1968 David Hemery
1969 Ann Jones
1970 Sir Henry Cooper
1971 HRH Princess Anne
1972 Dame Mary Peters
1973 Sir Jackie Stewart
1974 Brendan Foster
1975 David Steele
1976 John Curry
1977 Virginia Wade
1978 Steve Ovett
1979 Lord Sebastian Coe
1980 Robin Cousins
1981 Sir Ian Botham
1982 Daley Thompson
1983 Steve Cram
1984 Torvill and Dean
1985 Barry McGuigan
1986 Nigel Mansell
1987 Fatima Whitbread
1988 Steve Davis
1989 Sir Nick Faldo
1990 Paul Gascoigne
1991 Liz McColgan
1992 Nigel Mansell
1993 Linford Christie
1994 Damon Hill
1995 Jonathan Edwards
1996 Damon Hill
1997 Greg Rusedski
1998 Michael Owen
1999 Lennox Lewis
2000 Sir Steve Redgrave
2001 David Beckham
2002 Paula Radcliffe
2003 Jonny Wilkinson
2004 Dame Kelly Holmes
2005 Andrew Flintoff
2006 Zara Phillips
2007 Joe Calzaghe
2008 Sir Chris Hoy
2009 Ryan Giggs
2010 AP McCoy
2011 Mark Cavendish
2012 Sir Bradley Wiggins
2013 Andy Murray
2014 Lewis Hamilton
2015 Andy Murray
2016 Andy Murray
2017 Mo Farah
2018 Geraint Thomas
2019 Ben Stokes
I must confess that I had never heard about three of the six nominees, but then I’m not one bit interested in football, I never understood cricket, and all I know about horse racing comes from reading Dick Francis crime novels …
There were plenty of reactions on social media and here are some of them:
And, of course, the Eurosport gang is delighted about the nomination of their very own Ronnie …
Here are the links and some excerpts.
“I think it’s more a reflection on snooker rather than me. Snooker is where it is in comparison to other sports,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport before the announcement was made.
“I think a lot of snooker players get overlooked because of the sport, not because of their achievements.”
And he was quick to point out that he thought someone else was more deserving of a nomination.
“If it was on their achievements, you’d probably have to say Judd Trump was deserving of getting in the top three because he’s broken records: winning six ranking tournaments last season was a great achievement,” he added.
Eurosport pundit Neal Foulds says the nomination is well deserved for O’Sullivan.
“Ronnie’s career has spanned a long time. There was a period when he was seen as a bit of an under-achiever. When it got past 2000 you thought he’s won a few things but he’s this wonderful talent who hasn’t won that much – now he’s won it all and he’s won it again and again.
“He’s the current world champion and all those years must amount to something. It’s never boring when he is playing, there is always something going on, and he deserves to be on that list.”
Jimmy White added: “It’s about time he got recognised for his amazing achievements in snooker. I hope everybody votes for him.”
RONNIE O’SULLIVAN EARNS SPOTY NOMINATION: WHY SNOOKER GOAT WOULD BE WORTHY WINNER
He has been blackballed more times than he’s potted them, but Ronnie O’Sullivan has finally reached the palace of wisdom as a SPOTY nominee. Finally, the British public gets to decide how much they appreciate his effervescent and rapidly moving repertoire of timeless snooker supremacy.
After three decades of refusal, the Sports Personality of the Year Award’s judgemental judging panel has deemed snooker’s greatest player worthy of a place on the public ballot paper. For that, we should all rejoice.
Such has been the eccentricity of the SPOTY decision-making in the past, one would not have been surprised if Wicks’ lockdown workouts were chosen ahead of O’Sullivan by a panel who have previously deemed Dressage as a form of sporting excellence, achievement and personality worthier of their attention.
It is a rather tragic and farcical state of affairs that it has taken this long for an appointed “expert independent panel” to reach the conclusion that the ongoing Essex man is lively enough to make the shortlist. It appears to be a curious piece of nonsense riddled in class bias and snobbery against the working class roots of snooker and a refusal to recognise the incomparable levels of commitment that it takes to master the most imposing of all cue sports.
Since the inception of SPOTY in 1954, snooker has gradually been potted off the table. This is a prize last won by a snooker player when six-times world champion Steve Davis triumphed in 1988, a time when Nelson Mandela was still inside, the Berlin Wall had yet to topple and David Hasselhoff had yet to sing about it.
As for Ronnie himself, he was interviewed both by Rachel and in the studio
I think that Ronnie spoke very well there. He sees it as being more about snooker resurgence and image than about himself. He also says that he would watch the show from home…
Is the the 20th of December the day of the Players Championship Final? Why not celebrate the occasion with another trophy?