Bookmakers Ladbrokes made this clever video to promote National Hunt jockey Tony McCoy’s chances in the public call-in voting for BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday.
Think: Calvin Bo-Rail up against A-Rod and Tiger and Venus and Lance and Shaq. That’s what it’s like in Britain right now, as top jump jockey A.P. (Tony) McCoy finds himself in a tough competition for the public’s affection in the runup to Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year voting.
How does the award work? Sports experts at newspapers and magazines around Great Britain nominate their choices, which are tabulated; a top ten is announced, which whets the public’s appetite, since everyone has favorite athletes.
This Sunday there will be a live television awards show, on the BBC of course, and the public can call in and vote for their choice. It sounds like chaos. Remember Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars? Anyone can win, although Tony is currently thought to be the favorite. That can change in an instant.
The BBC is featuring each of the ten athletes on one day; today is Tony’s day. So, if you live in Britain, give some thought to where you’ll be on Sunday and what it would take to make a call. And find out if you can place a vote for me!
Although the typical winner would be someone like track legend Sebastian Coe (remember Chariots of Fire?), horses have brought athletes to the podium in the past; flat jockey Lester Pigott has won the award twice, ten years apart!
Royalty have held it as well; 2006 Individual World Champion Eventer Zara Phillips (bottomleft, Kit Houghton FEI photo) won the award that year, exactly 35 years after her mother, Princess Anne (top left, Kit Houghton FEI photo), won it for her eventing victories in the name of Britain. They were a good investment; they’ll be on BBC’s broadcasts of events like Badminton Horse Trials for decades to come. Royalty is definitely good for ratings.
Tony’s up against #1-in-the-world ranked golfer Lee Westwood and current US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, darts legend Phil Taylor, diver Tom Daley, Winter Olympic gold medalist Amy Williams, heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis (I had to look that one up), cricketer Graeme Swann, world heavyweight champion boxer David Haye and cycling sprint sensation Mark Cavendish.
But none of them has ever made it over that Bechers Brook wall of hedge in the Grand National. The award does have the word “personality” in it, after all. And Tony McCoy has that wrapped up.
If you don’t know Tony McCoy, now you do. Here’s a little video biography of his career as a jockey. Just make a note that it was made before he won the Grand National on Don’t Push It in April of this year. If you want to learn more about him, he has his own AP McCoy YouTube channel, with a series of master class talks.