It’s almost time for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019 to be crowned. There have been some standout moments from British athletes over the course of 2019, but only one star will get their hands on the illustrious trophy. Ahead of the upcoming ceremony, we’ve taken a look back at the last 30 winners of the famous trophy to see the company that the next winner will be keeping.
1988: Steve Davis - Snooker
In 1988, Steve Davis was winning just about everything. In fact, after winning the Grand Prix, the Londoner held the World, UK, Masters, Grand Prix, Classic and Irish Masters titles simultaneously. Davis was subsequently recognised for the achievement in December.
1989: Sir Nick Faldo - Golf
The 1989 Masters champion, Faldo was seen by many as ‘SPOTY in waiting’ for the majority of 1989, no other competitor able to come close to his achievement at Augusta.
1990: Paul Gascoigne - Football
Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne was widely accepted as one of the world’s best players in 1990. He helped England make the World Cup semi-finals, whilst also coming fourth in the Ballon d’Or voting.
1991: Liz McColgan - Athletics
A terrific season for McColgan in 1991 saw her win gold in the 10,000 metres at the World Championships. Winning SPOTY in a non-Olympic year is an impressive feat for any runner
1992: Nigel Mansell - Formula One
Mansell had a season for the ages in 1992, finally becoming Formula One world champion. Setting numerous records (including taking a stunning 88% of pole positions over the course of the season), Mansell was one of the more predictable winners on this list.
1993: Linford Christie - Athletics
In 1993, Linford Christie became the first man to hold the Olympic, World, European, and Commonwealth 100 metre titles at the same time. Such sustained brilliance meant no one else was able to rival the superb athlete.
1994: Damon Hill - Formula One
In 1994 it was Damon Hill’s turn to win the gong for his efforts out on the track. A tragic, dramatic season saw the death of Hill’s Williams teammate Ayrton Senna, and then a ‘comeback to end all comebacks’ meant Hill would challenge Michael Schumacher in the final race of the season for the title. A controversial crash took both the German and Hill out of the race. Whilst Hill didn’t win the drivers’ championship, he did win SPOTY.
1995: Jonathan Edwards - Athletics
In 1995, triple jumper Jonathan Edwards broke onto the world scene. At the World Championships in Gothenburg, Edwards would break the triple jump world record twice in 20 minutes, and became the first man to jump 60 feet in the sport.
1996: Damon Hill - Formula One
Hill finally won the drivers’ championship in 1996, and the Great British public again named him their Sports Personality of the Year.
1997: Greg Rusedski - Tennis
Rusedski would reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and final of the US Open in 1997, and emerged above the rest in the minds of voters to be presented with the award.
1998: Michael Owen - Football
The world belonged to Michael Owen in 1998. As a teenager, the striker had captured the imagination of the nation at the World Cup, scoring a famous goal against Argentina in the second round – a match England would ultimately lose. Still, a worthy SPOTY!
1999: Lennox Lewis - Boxing
We’re in a golden age here. In 1999 Lewis put his lineal heavyweight titles on the line against Evander Holyfield. The first bout ended in a draw, but a unanimous decision for Lewis later in the year drew to close a thrilling saga. Again, a worthy SPOTY.
2000: Sir Steve Redgrave - Rowing
16 years before his first Olympic gold and his last, Steve Redgrave is in many ways, a folk tale. But he’s real. An iron man in every sense of the word, the towering rower led the coxless four to a memorable victory at the Sydney games and became a living legend in British sport. Another highly predictable choice, but deserving all the same.
2001: David Beckham - Football
If you put a free kick in the top corner with England’s place in the World Cup on the line, you’re going to win Sports Personality of the Year. Beckham’s Manchester United would also hand the winger his fifth Premier League title that season.
2002: Paula Radcliffe - Athletics
The track star made the ambitious move to marathons in 2002, and immediately won the London Marathon in her debut. Better than that, she ran the second-quickest race ever for a woman. Not happy with that, Radcliffe went on to the Chicago Marathon and shattered the record by well over a minute. A stunning year, and capped off with the SPOTY award.
2003: Jonny Wilkinson - Rugby Union
As per David Beckham, if you slot a drop goal through in the World Cup final to crown England champions, you’re going to win Sports Personality of the Year.
2004: Dame Kelly Holmes - Athletics
It was no shock to see Kelly Holmes recognised in 2004 after she won both the 800m and the 1500m gold medals at the Athens Olympics. Her astonished smile as she crossed the line burns bright in the mind of this writer.
2005: Andrew Flintoff - Cricket
A spiritual hero for representing the heart and soul and cricket, the loud-mouthed northener was a critical part of England’s Ashes winning side. ‘Freddie’ pitched in with both bat and ball as England claimed the urn for the first time since 1989.
2006: Zara Phillips - Equestrian
Phillips won gold in the individual event at the FEI 2006 World Equestrian Games, and added a silver in the team event too. The public deemed this worthy of becoming Sports Personality of the Year. I think it should have gone to the horse.
2007: Joe Calzaghe - Boxing
Now here’s a winner! In 2007 Calzaghe had moved his professional record to 44-0, retained his lineal super-middleweight titles for the third time, and was regularly selling out the Millennium Stadium.
2008: Sir Chris Hoy - Cycling
Chris Hoy became the first British Olympian for 100 years to win three golds at one games at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He won gold in the men’s keirin, the men’s team sprint and the men’s individual sprint.
2009: Ryan Giggs - Football
Honestly, I’m still sickened by this one. Jenson Button had just defied all the odds to become Formula One world champion, and the Manchester United winger swooped in to win the award after a perfectly average season. You can’t trust the general public…
2010: Sir Anthony McCoy - Horse Racing
Atop Don’t Push It, A.P. McCoy would win his first Grand National in 2010 – slightly overdue for the then 13-time Jump Jockey of the Year! The public adored McCoy, and named him Sports Personality of the Year.
2011: Mark Cavendish - Cycling
‘Cav’ captured the green jersey in the 2011 Tour de France. He also became the first person in history to win the famous final stage sprint down the Champs Elysees in three consecutive years.
2012: Sir Bradley Wiggins - Cycling
2012 was such a phenomenally strong year for British sport, the award could have feasibly gone to almost any of the nominated athletes. Missing out on the top award that year were heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis, US Open and gold medallist Andy Murray, double gold medallist Mo Farah, quadruple gold medallist David Weir, and PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy. Ultimately, and perhaps rightfully, the award went to Bradley Wiggins. The first Briton to ever win the Tour de France, the living legend would add a gold medal in the Olympic time trial a few weeks later. A magical time!
2013: Sir Andy Murray - Tennis
Wimbledon champion, at last. The first Brit to win at SW19 since Fred Perry in 1936, the fiery Dunblane-native was not going to be beaten in the SPOTY voting.
2014: Lewis Hamilton - Formula One
Lewis Hamilton won his second Formula 1 World Championship in 2014. He’s since gone on to win three more and as such, he widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1.
2015: Sir Andy Murray - Tennis
And another! In 2015 Murray would reach the final of the Australian Open and play a vital part in Great Britain’s Davis Cup team.
2016: Sir Andy Murray - Tennis
Getting a bit silly now… An Aussie Open finalist again, an Olympic gold medallist again, and a Wimbledon champion again. It seemed impossible for the award to go anywhere else!
2017: Sir Mo Farah
By the time 2017 came around, Mo Farah was already a four-time Olympic champion. Farah announced that he would switch from track events to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships. He won the 10,000m and came second in the 5,000m and was voted SPOTY.
2018: Geraint Thomas - Cycling
Another year, another British Tour de France champion! Thomas brought the SPOTY award back to Wales for the third time in 11 years.