BC Sports Personality of the Year – LIVE!
Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is the odds-on favourite to win the main prize on tonight, vying with five others for the prestigious award.
Though one nominee, Tyson Fury, built up to tonight by requesting he be removed as a candidate.
Fury and Hamilton join jockey Hollie Doyle, six-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, England cricketer Stuart Broad and Liverpool football captain Jordan Henderson in a sporting year badly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The boxer was shortlisted after he became the WBC world heavyweight champion by beating American Deontay Wilder in February, with Doyle breaking her own record for the most winners in a calendar year by a female jockey before enjoying a Champions Day double at Ascot.
O’Sullivan was nominated after his latest Crucible success, beating Kyren Wilson for his sixth global title in August. He is the first snooker player to be nominated since Stephen Hendry in 1990. Broad took his 500th wicket in the series against the West Indies in the summer, becoming only the second Englishman after Jimmy Anderson to do so.
Henderson is nominated after skippering Liverpool to their first league title in 30 years, having also been their captain when they won the 2019 Champions League.
Follow all the action and awards below!
Tyson Fury’s thoughts
Much of the attention will inevitably fall on Tyson Fury tonight.
The boxer has sent a legal letter to the BBC asking for his nomination to be withdrawn, something the broadcaster has refused to do.
Fury, who was shortlisted after he became the WBC world heavyweight boxing champion by beating American Deontay Wilder in February, says the BBC is “taking away his rights” by keeping him on the list against his wishes.
“I don’t want an award from someone to say I’m a sports personality,” he told the Jonathan Ross Show.
“I know what I am and who I am and I know what I’ve achieved, I know what I’ve come back from.
“I don’t need a glass trophy. I’m the people’s champion. I don’t need this glamorous trophy to say who I am and what I’ve done.”
It will be interesting to see whether Fury fans support their candidate by not voting for him, or whether Fury’s pleas have the opposite effect.
The 32-year-old was also a nominee in 2015, when there were calls for him to be removed from the shortlist due to comments he had made about women and homosexuality.
At the awards he apologised, saying: “If I’ve said anything in the past that has hurt anybody, I apologise to anybody who has been hurt.”
Good evening and welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year gala.
It all kicks off from 8pm GMT. Stick with us for all the build-up, action and reaction.