He’s been blackened more times than he potted them, but Ronnie O’Sullivan has finally reached the Palace of Wisdom as a SPOTY candidate. Ultimately, the UK public can decide how much they appreciate its bubbly and fast-moving repertoire of timeless snooker supremacy.
After three decades of rejection, the Sports Personality of the Year Award jury has rated the greatest snooker player as worthy of a place on the public ballot. We should all be happy for that.
With regard to SPOTY, the sport of O’Sullivan plays with as much enthusiasm and consideration as Auguste Renoir has been overlooked time and again, despite the fact that it continues to have large attendances in the UK and beyond.
The evergreen popularity of snooker shouldn’t be underestimated when SPOTY’s public vote on Jan.. December takes place in Manchester. Like Hurricane Higgins in the past, the reigning world champion is the people’s champion.
« Finally the sky above is blue, » as Etta and not Steve James once trimmed.
At the venerable age of 44, Rocket was announced by Joe Wicks, the body coach, of Joe Wicks, the body coach, to Joe Perry, the gentleman, for Ronnie’s impeccable work that has just won a sixth world title in his fourth decade of delicious play.
This has been the eccentricity of SPOTY decision making in the past. One would not have been surprised if Wick’s lockdown workouts before O’Sullivan had been selected by a panel that previously viewed dressage as a form of athletic excellence, performance and personality more worthy of their attention.
It is a rather tragic and absurd state that it has taken so long for an appointed « independent panel of experts » to conclude that the ongoing Essex man is lively enough to be shortlisted. It seems strange nonsense, marked by class bias and snobbery against the roots of the working class snooker, and refusing to acknowledge the unparalleled level of commitment required to master the most imposing of all cue sports.
It should also be noted that the introduction of a global pandemic and a decimated sports calendar with Euro 2020 and the Olympics was necessary for O’Sullivan to touch down in the last six.
« You are never sure if this is a personality contest or actually your performance, » he told Eurosport before the shortlist was announced. « For years there have been people who have won it or made it into the top three that I’ve never heard of.
« Sometimes it’s just that your face fits. I’m not sure if it’s actually about exercise these days. I think it’s more of a reflection on snooker than on me. Snooker is where it is compared to other sports. I think a lot of snooker players are overlooked because of the sport, not their achievements. When it came to their successes, one must probably say that Judd Trump deserved to be in the top three for breaking records: winning six ranked tournaments last season was a great achievement. ”
Since SPOTY was founded in 1954, snooker has been gradually thrown off the table. This is an award a snooker player last won when six-time world champion Steve Davis triumphed in 1988, when Nelson Mandela was still inside, the Berlin Wall hadn’t come down and David Hasselhoff hadn’t sung about it.
A young Stephen Hendry – the seven-time Crucible winner – finished second behind Paul Gascoigne in 1990. Alex Higgins was second to decathlete Daley Thompson after his second world title in 1982, but that was your lot.
Lewis Hamilton is the 1/6 favorite for the award after winning his seventh F1 title ahead of O’Sullivan (9/1) and the thoughtful and thoroughbred heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury (10/1). . Some will argue that snooker is not a traditional sweaty sport like boxing, soccer, athletics, or tennis, but O’Sullivan also believes that Formula 1 should be viewed differently if that is the selection criterion given the benefits of running the best car is.
Unlike Hamilton, O’Sullivan is armed only with a piece of chalk, a snooker cue, an imagination, and a willingness to express an opinion on a variety of topics throughout his 28-year career. He refuses to include Hamilton in his top 7 list of sports icons, instead of choosing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in tennis, Phil Taylor in darts, the great golfer Tiger Woods and the football icons Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Taylor – a 16-time world darts champion with a better target than Dirty Harry – made the nominee list a decade ago, finishing second with champion jockey Tony McCoy. Like Fury, Ronnie O’Sullivan has more than one puncher chance, as the British audience is passionate about both personality and athletic perfection. He has both of them.
Award for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Lewis Hamilton, Stuart Broad, BBC Sport
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