This is a fun article with a big point. The BBC not having Josh Kerr on the shortlist in 2023 was a total blunder. I love the BBC, but they have been off their game recently, and this is a prime example. How does the country that made the mile and 1,500m not recognize a Scotsman who wins the mile for Team GBR for the second year in a row? 

It is, well, puzzling.

Thanks, Stuart for this article. 

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Josh Kerr has not been included in the shortlist to be voted by TV viewers for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY), and the sport is up in arms with Seb Coe tweeting: “No Josh Kerr on the list, are you having a laugh #SPOTY ? World Champion in the biggest global sporting event of 2023”.

UK Athletics chair Ian Beattie expressed his support for a newspaper article that called it “maybe the most glaring omission in the award’s 70-year history”.

The Guardian ran Sean Ingle’s story under the headline: “Josh Kerr ‘massively disappointed’ by BBC Sports Personality of the Year snub.”

For the record, the six candidates for Tuesday’s event are Cricketer Stuart Broad, jockey Frankie Dettori, footballer Mary Earps, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and golfer Rory McIlroy. 

Daryl Netia, Dina Asher-Smith, photo by Asha Philip

The event has been running since 1954. I confess that it used to be my favorite TV program of the year back in the day. When I say “back in the day,” I mean the days when live sport on television was rare, and the program give one the only opportunity to see the sports highlights of the previous year. In a world in which I have access to towards 20 sports channels, crammed with live sport and with YouTube giving me any sporting moment I’m looking for at the click of a mouse, SPOTY has, to some extent, lost its attraction. Going back to my childhood, of course one could only watch the programme live. Now, watching it on delay and fast-forwarding through the less interesting bits is a better option.

For all that, it is still a massively prestigious event to which one could be invited. Athletes love to attend.  Josh Kerr has accepted his invitation to attend, although he will just be in the audience.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – AUGUST 21: Gold medalist Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Team Great Britain celebrates with their gold medal on the podium after the Women’s 800m Heptathlon Final during day three of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 21, 2023, in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for World Athletics)

Choosing 6 individuals from 50+ sports was always going to be difficult and controversial. Using that criterion for track and field athletics to get one of the six might seem fair and unreasonable. As far as the nominees are concerned:

Stuart Broad – retired this summer after a magnificent career in cricket. That in the final game England beat Australia and his own performance in it was very memorable, obviously helped him.

Rory McIlroy – is one of the world’s greatest golfers, but having failed to win any of the four majors this year, his nomination is justified only by a good performance in the Ryder Cup competition between Europe and the US.

Frankie Dettori – a 52-year-old jockey, is retiring this year after a great career, but 2023 will certainly not be his greatest year. In any case, surely there is a case for nominating his horse rather than him.

Alfie Hewitt – is a great wheelchair tennis player who won the men’s singles in the Australian and US Opens as well as reaching the Wimbledon semi-final. Political correctness requires a representative from disability sports.

Mary Earps – is the England goalkeeper. Her inclusion shows how far women’s football (soccer) has come in the UK.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson – became world heptathlon champion again after overcoming serious injury problems.

Katerina Johnson-Thompson, World Athletics Championships
Budapest, Hungary
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

That men’s football (soccer) has no nomination will surprise many, given the overwhelming popularity of the sport.  Manchester City were champions of England and of Europe. Surely, that magnificent achievement should have been recognized by the nomination of one of their players.

Speaking to GB athletics writers this month, Kerr said he was “obviously massively disappointed. It’s such a prestigious event and award that I would love to be involved in. But I’m not sitting crying about it. I’m getting out the door and getting my work in for next year.  And my job now is to be able to bring a gold medal home for Great Britain”. He was aware of the reaction to his omission, saying: “I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter. So a lot of people have been screenshotting some stuff and sending it to me and sending, obviously, some nice words, people have been writing about me in the newspapers and things like that”.  He added: “I would love to see the minutes of the meeting” where the decision was taken.

Josh Kerr takes the WC 1,500m title! photo by Kevin Morris

Josh said that he was delighted that KJT was recognized for her magnificent achievement, suggesting that the fact that KJT worked for 2 days to win her medal while he was done and dusted in just three and a half minutes might have influenced the judges!

He also pointed out that he was “in a very cut and dried sport like ‘you’re fast enough. You ran a qualifying time. You get into the event,’ and so not a lot of things in my whole career of have been up to other people’s judgment. And, I’ve always been taught to leave it with no doubt, and evidently, for SPOTY, I left it with a little bit of doubt”.  

Let’s hope KJT can pull it off. Reader – watch the program and vote!

2017 – Mo Farah

Mo Farah, photo by London Marathon Media

2004 – Kelly Holmes
2002 – Paula Radcliffe
1995 – Jonathan Edwards
1993 – Linford Christie

Linford Christie, photo by SJA

1991 – Liz McColgan

Liz McColgan Nuttall, photo by London Marathon Media

1987 – Fatima Whitbread
1983 – Steve Cram

Steve Scott took the silver medal to Steve Cram’s gold at the 1983 World Outdoor Championships, in Helsinki, Finland, photo from Steve Scott collection

1982 – Daley Thompson

Senior writer Jeff Benjamin with Daley Thompson, July 2022, at #WChoregon22, photo by Jeff Benjamin

1979 – Sebastian Coe

Seb Coe, World Athletics Congress, photo by World Athletics

1978 – Steve Ovett

Adriaan Paulen awards Steve Ovett with his 1500m gold medal at the 1978 European Championships in Prague, photo by European Athletics 

1974 – Brendan Foster
1972 – Mary Peters

Mary Peters, photo by BAWA

1968 – David Hemery
1964 – Mary Rand
1963 – Dorothy Hyman
1955 – Gordon Pirie
1954 – Sir Chris Chataway

Chris Chataway is presented the 1954 SportsView award by Roger Bannister, 1954, photo by BBC, all rights reserved.

 

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