I was all prepared to write a lovely blog on how Lewis Hamilton is an incredible sportsman and totally deserved to be given the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, but had to change my carefully composed plans when his name was read out in the runner-up position. I, to be honest, was astonished. In fairness, Chris Hoy is a more than deserving winner, probably won't have a more astonishing year, it's an Olympic year so it should be an Olympian, and a genuinely nice guy.
I still however maintain the opinion that it should have been Lewis Hamilton, a driver with astonishing flair, someone who has almost single handedly rekindled British interests in motorsport. He was so close in 2007 losing by a single point, but triumphed in 2008 by an equally single point in one of the most astonishing races one will ever be priveledged to watch in Brazil in October.
Rebecca Adlington too would have made a fine champion, double Olympic gold medallist in the swimming in Beijing, the look on her face on winning the first being one to treasure. But who is the GREATEST sportsman ever?
Here is my shortlist:
Rafael Nadal, Sir Garfield Sobers, Muhammed Ali, Boris Becker, Sir Viv Richards, George Best, Sir Donald Bradman, Ronaldinho, Dan Carter, Ricky Ponting, Jack Nicklaus, Ayrton Senna, Roger Federer, Pele, Lewis Hamilton, Freddie Flintoff and Ronaldo
I will have without a doubt missed some off the list, can anyone help me out?
But here are my top 3:
3rd: Michael Phelps: Sets his goals ridiculously high, and achieves them. Yes, he is built like an albatross, but uses everything given to him combined with unbelievable determination and training to be the "best ever Olympian" - controversial name but no doubt an incredible athlete.
2nd: Usain Bolt: Who knows how quick he would have run had he not showboated for the last 25metres. Not just the best, but the best by a proverbial country mile. The reason he is on this list is becuase he is "the fastest man in the world". Fact. He is setting the standard in terms of physical, unadulterated human speed. Built, like Michael Phelps, purely to run. Glides across the running track and then does is again in the 200m.
But 1st: Tiger Woods: In the list above are some truly incredible athletes, people with so much desire, passion and mental ability, but for me, none compare to Tiger - I don't know how many of you watched his four rounds at the US Open in Torrey Pines,Â San Diego in May, but Woods had severe knee problems and could barely swing a club. But he was 4 shots off the lead and was never going to give up, even though he might have damaged the ligments for life. He was hitting the ball 45 degrees left and right off the tee, limping round in the trees, bunkers and rough, but his mental strength and desire to win brought him through in a 19th hole playoff. For anyone who hasn't seen his Eagle putt at the 13th in the 3rd round please youtube it as it is the most spine tinglingly incredible sporting moment I have seen. The crowd go mad. He does a similar thing 4 holes later and is just in shock at what he was achieving.