We asked you for your sporting heroes of 2012 – and you responded with suggestions from Bradley Wiggins to Bethy Woodward. Sports reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan has been sifting through them.
It’s been an amazing year of sporting glory, and one which might give the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year compilers a few headaches.
So Channel 4 News put together our own alternative list of 2012’s athletic heroes to give them a few hints – and asked you for your suggestions.
Sports reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan presents some of your ideas below and also argues the case for his two favourites.
I don’t know about you, but it has been the most exciting sporting year of my life. To have great sporting moments, you need great athletes and many fortunately have come from our shores.
Many Brits have impressed me in 2012, including Nicola Adams, Ellie Simmonds, Andy Murray and Adam Gemili, who I think is going to be the next star of the running track. But the two battling it out for me are David Weir and Bradley Wiggins.
I’m not a cycling fan, but Bradley Wiggins‘ achievement becoming the first Brit to win the Tour de France is an amazing one. That alone gets my vote for sports person of the year, but then to win gold in the time trials at the Olympics just 10 days later made him the clear favourite for me.
But what really sold me on him was his personality. I love the fact he doesn’t care about fame and actually shuns it. He just wants to be the best sportsman in his field and nothing else – something many could replicate.
But then came a werewolf from London, called David Weir. No-one should ever underestimate what it takes to win gold at major tournaments. In a sport more endurance based then technique, wheelchair racing requires years of training and practice rather than just natural ability, and to win his first gold at the Paralympics in 800m was phenomenal.
But then to even compete in the 1,500m, 5,000m and then the marathon, was just insane. He didn’t just scrape the odd silver and bronze; he only went and won three more gold medals. Four golds in four separate endurance disciplines are why he has to be a huge contender for the athlete of 2012 for me.
We received many responses from you guys, with your suggestions on who has been your athlete of 2012. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites.
— Jean Sullivan (@jsullivan21) November 21, 2012
Footballers earn astronomical wages and get some really bad press for it, but I know many do lots of good for the wider society. Many Africans including Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor and Patrick Viera have all set up foundations that support and fund – with millions of pounds – various initiatives and charities for the poorer citizens of Africa. What Ronaldo has reportedly done is very generous and shows his class off the field as well as on it.
Then there’s Bethy Woodward, nominated by Rebecca O’Hara on Facebook.
She wrote: “Bethy Woodward, silver and bronze medal winner in the Paralympics. I emailed Bethy just before the Paralympics asking for a signed photo for my 10 year old daughter. Chloe has cerebral palsy like Bethy, because she had become depressed about her disability I wanted her to see that someone with CP could achieve amazing things.
“Amazingly Bethy emailed me back and was not only understanding but encouraging, offering advice and kindness. We managed to get tickets to go and watch Bethy race and win her silver medal, Bethy arranged for her parents and boyfriend to meet Chloe. Over the following months Bethy has continued to email Chloe and has even arranged to meet Chloe this weekend.
Chloe’s dream is now to become a Paralympian like her hero and friend Bethy. Rebecca O’Hara
“The impact Bethy has had on Chloe has been profound, she now wears her splints with pride, pushes herself everyday and takes part in as many things as we can manage. Chloe’s dream now is to become a Paralympian like her hero and friend Bethy. As a family we cannot thank Bethy enough, in our eyes she shows the motto of the Games ‘inspire a generation’.”
An athlete who has gone beyond the call of duty and made a personal affiliation with a fan. The connection Beth has made clearly has made not only a sporting connection but a personal one too. Beth was one of many amazing athletes this summer at the Paralympics but has left a legacy beyond 2012 that will shine long after.
— Ade Couper (@bigade1665) November 23, 2012
Also on Facebook, John Wastnage suggested: “Kath Grainger. After the heartbreak of three rowing silvers at three consecutive olympics, she decided not to retire as planned and instead to bet another four years of sweat and sacrifice on a six minute race to win her first gold.”
One of the key qualities of being a top level athlete is determination. Kath Grainger has shown a relentlessness and drive to win the gold she deserved and didn’t let anything stop her achieving her dream – something that can be applied to all aspects of life.
And then there’s an athlete who showed that it’s not all about ability – sometimes mental strength and personality can be central too.
“Andy Murray: the long drought has ended,” wrote Ian Iqbal Rashid on Facebook.
I don’t subscribe to this notion that Andy Murray is unlucky to be playing in the same era of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic otherwise he would be number one. And more importantly, neither does he. Novak Djokovic was number four in the world for years but then stepped up and became number one, and Murray, it seems, is doing the same.
I was so pleased when he won the US Open, because it showed a growth in mentality and not ability – which at the highest level is what it is all about. A worthy candidate.