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Top 10 sporting events to watch in 2018

Top 10 sporting events to watch in 2018

The festive holidays are one that we all relish but often we find the time off disappears before we know it. In fact, Christmas turkeys, crackers and glorious mulled wine seem a distant fading memory right now.

But as Christmas departs a new year begins and with that fresh optimism is born. (could it really be England’s year?)

With us now already a week into 2018, it’s time to look forward and see what the sporting calendar has in store for us. It promises to be a jam-packed 12 months!

Here are my Top 10 events for the year to come:

  • Winter Olympics & Paralympics, Pyeongchang 9th – 25th February & 9th – 18th March

Any event which includes a sport where four athletes race from the top of a mountain to the bottom as fast as they can is a winner in my book. Of course, Ski – Cross is just one of many exhilarating sports the Winter Olympics has on offer. Even the staunchest traditionist would struggle not to get excited at the prospect of an athlete hurling themselves downhill on what is effectively a dinner tray at up to 80 mph.

  • Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia 4th – 15th April

After a month of snow-related sports, you might be in need of some sun. So from South Korea, we move our attention to the Gold Coast. The 21st Commonwealth Games and what a fabulous location for them indeed. Will England’s male sprinters stand up and put on another gold winning performance like they did last year at the World Championships in London whilst representing Team GB? Can anyone get near Adam Peaty in the 100m Breaststroke? Heptathlete Katarina Johnson – Thompson competes in her first games and will be aiming for a podium finish.

  • The Masters, Augusta National, Georgia 5th – 8th April

You’ll have to be on your A-Game to make sure you don’t miss out on any sport in an action-packed April. Although the picturesque sight of the 13th at Augusta will be enough to convince you that you really don’t need that seven hours of sleep you had previously promised yourself…

  • FA Cup Final, Wembley 19th May

Always one of the standout weekends in the sporting calendar, the history of the Cup speaks for itself. This year there’s a twist. With the Royal Wedding scheduled for the same date, HRH Prince William will be relieved that his beloved Aston Villa were knocked out in the 3rd round of the competition.

  • FIFA World Cup, Russia 14th June – 15th July

The groups have been drawn, the fixture dates have been released, football’s biggest competition is starting to feel very close. Can Gareth Southgate’s men find the blend between attacking football and winning games that England fans so desperately crave?

  • Wimbledon 2nd – 15th July

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Wimbledon is certainly one of the classiest events in the sporting calendar. An event steeped in rich history and traditions. Homemade strawberries and cream accompanied with a Pimm’s is mandatory of course, but would you want it any other way?

Time will tell if Murray Mount will get to see their namesake at this year’s tournament but in Johanna Konta the Brits have a new fan favourite to get behind.

 

  • Women’s Hockey World Cup, London 21st July – 5th August

Not only is it the first time the women’s World Cup has been hosted in the UK, it’s also expected to be the biggest hockey event ever in the UK. The English team are currently ranked 2nd in the World behind the Netherlands. Can they build on the success from the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year perhaps?

  • T20 Blast Finals Day, Edgbaston 15th September

Three games of cricket sandwiched into one day. Finals Day guarantees to deliver roller-coaster finishes, monster hits, fancy dress and a good old sing along. You won’t be left disappointed.

  •  Ryder Cup, Le Golf National, Paris 28th – 30th September

A sport which is well known for its individual competitiveness, but when Europe take on the USA all bets are off. There is always a twist and a turn during a Ryder Cup weekend. Who can forget the Miracle at Medinah in 2012?

  • ICC Women’s World Twenty20, West Indies 3rd – 24th November

Can they do the double? With the World Cup ODI trophy in the bag from last year, England will be looking to return home from the West Indies with the World Twenty20 trophy too. In the meantime, let’s reminisce about one of the best sporting moments of 2017.

Everyone’s talking about….BBC Sports Personality of the Year

 

In 1954 members of the public wrote on a postcard the name of the athlete who they believed had earned the title of Sportsperson of the Year. Some 14,500 votes were counted and the inaugural BBC Sportsperson of the Year Award was presented to the middle and long distance runner Christopher Chataway.

58 years later and Britain’s best-loved sporting figures continue to be publicly acknowledged for outstanding achievement, in what has become one of the most widely recognised awards celebrations in the sports industry. Today men and women from any sporting discipline have the potential to be awarded the accolade, while managers, coaches, teams and the country’s most inspirational unsung heroes are also granted public acknowledgement. 

2012 has been a year of sport for Great Britain. We rejoiced at gold medals, laughed in the face of world records and claimed titles that should never have belonged to us. But which of the many awe-inspiring individuals who have filled our television screens and populated our morning papers throughout 2012 is likely to be recognised as the standout personality of the year? Here are the likely candidates as we see them…

Bradley Wiggins

As if becoming the first Briton to win the gruelling Tour De France was not enough, our favourite potty-mouthed, sideburn-sporting ginger-man went on to claim gold at London 2012, bringing his total Olympic medal tally up to an impressive seven. Wiggins has moved ferociously from pigeon-holed pursuit cyclist into an almighty force across all terrains. He has propelled cycling onto the main stage and has made the name Team Sky synonymous with fortitude and implacable success.

BetVictor odds: 4/6

 Andy Murray

Let’s head back to the beginning of 2012, just for a moment. Andy Murray was then, at best, Britain’s greatest hope of Wimbledon success – someone who allowed us to forget the painstaking disappointment of the Henman years. And at worst? He was the tantrum-throwing non-British-Scotsman who we struggled to warm to (plus his mum was Anne Robinson, and she’s pretty scary). So it goes without saying that we were completely bowled over when the guard was finally taken down and Murray revealed what was probably only an ounce of the pain he was experiencing at having a Grand Slam title snatched from well within his reach yet again. Just a few short months later and Murray is celebrating what has been the greatest year of his career to date. He is Olympic Champion, Grand Slam title holder and, most unpredictably, the people’s champion. Talk about a turnaround.

BetVictor odds: 11/4

 Mo Farah

Few moments from the world of sport in 2012 are quite as memorable as that of Mo Farah crossing the finishing line to claim his second Olympic Gold. In the space of a few short weeks, Farah made us proud to be British, caused one unnamed reporter to look utterly foolish (“Look mate, this is my country.”) and reminded us that the qualities of graciousness and humility do have a place in elite sport. Oh, and he trademarked his own move…. which we’re all a bit jealous of really. If it’s personality you’re looking for, Farah has bucket loads. 

BetVictor Odds: 7/2

Jessica Ennis

The poster girl of London 2012 and one of Britain’s biggest gold medal hopes, heading into the Games; you would have forgiven Jessica Ennis for displaying some small sign of buckling under the weight of public hope and expectation. But for Ennis, competing with the weight of a home crowd behind her and the support of a Nation clinging to the backs of their sofas, made this particular gold medal mission a walk in the park. Ennis catapulted her way into the hearts of the nation with the perfect combination of incomprehensible talent and total grace. Her 800m win in the final event of the heptathlon was the picture-perfect ending to a note perfect performance. Conquering seven different disciplines has never looked quite so easy.

BetVictor odds: 12:1

David Weir

Why have one gold medal, when you can have four? This year Weir claimed first place in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon, becoming one of our favourite over-achievers of London 2012. His presence was undoubtedly a key factor in the unexpected wave of energy that surrounded the Paralympic Games and he quickly became the headline athlete on each and every day that he competed. Weir now has ten Paralympic medals to his name. Could this be the year of the Weirwolf?

SkyBet odds: 18/1

Ellie Simmonds

If Ennis was the poster girl of the Olympic Games then Ellie Simmonds was the smiling, superhuman billboard for the Paralympics 2012. At just 17 Simmonds has achieved more than many swimmers do in a lifetime – four Paralympic golds and ten World Championship golds….an achievement worthy of the highest recognition. But more than success in the pool, Ellie has helped to increase awareness of disability sport and has served as an inspirational role model for young people who find themselves in a similar position to her.

SkyBet odds: 40/1

Jonnie Peacock

Oscar who? Jonnie Peacock stormed the 100m, leaving behind the T44 favourite, as well as the existing Paralympic record. ‘Britain’s Bladerunner’, the man who beat the unbeatable…and an athlete who made clear his pride in representing GB as a Paralympic competitor…not bad at just 19 years of age.

BetVictor odds: 100/1

Sir Chris Hoy

The most decorated British Olympian ever. Never did we think adding two more Olympic golds to an already impressive tally could mean so much to the man who owns the velodrome. In stark contrast to the likes of Simmonds and Peacock, Hoy is creeping towards the 40 mark but continues to demonstrate that age is no more than a number.

BetVictor odds: 66/1

Victoria Pendleton

Overlooked in last year’s Sports Personality line up, Pendleton has made a name for herself both on and off the bike. High profile magazine shoots, lucrative sponsorship deals, media profiles (oh, and naked bike riding), Pendleton has achieved what many athletes competing in non-mainstream sports fail to do, to make her achievements stretch farther than the sporting arena. Pendleton has been World Champion, Olympic Champion, European Champion and Commonwealth champion….. Sports Personality 2012 would surely be the icing on the cake, as she happily hangs her bike in the shed for good.

BetVictor odds: 150/1

Rory McIlroy

Ok, so if we had it our way all ten of our shortlist would come from the world of athletics. After all, there aren’t many occasions where we are afforded the luxury of ignoring football in favour of fencing. But with the Ryder Cup underway there may well be space for a golfer in the shortlist this year and it is McIlroy who has enjoyed a standout twelve months. Add to this the rekindling of the irresistible McIlroy/G-Mac partnership and you’ve got yourself another strong contender for SPOTY.

SkyBet odds: 100/1

So there we have it, some of this year’s strongest candidates. As a lasting thought, here’s who some of the team at PHA would like to see named Sports Personality of the Year 2012:

“Jonnie Peacock, for sheer force of personality, triumphing over the odds, beating Oscar Pistorius who is a true legend and for answering the question do you now want to compete in the Olympic Games with the answer: “Why would I do that! I am a Paralympian and proud of it!””
Phil Hall
 
“I’d go for Andy Murray….Olympic Gold and Silver, US open and finalist at Wimbledon…the best ever year by a British tennis player. He’s everything Tim Henman was not and will win five or six slams now. (Plus I can’t separate the Olympians!)”
Stuart Skinner
 
“It has to be Bradley Wiggins. The Tour de France has got to be the ultimate sporting endurance event and to become the first ever British winner and then follow it up with Olympic gold less than two weeks later is an incredible achievement.”
Rob Treloar
 
“Mo Farah. A true champion whose tremendous double-gold lit up a fantastic Olympics. He manages to effortlessly mix his brilliance with humour, warmth and modesty. And he gave us the MoBot!”
Neil McLeod
 
“Jessica Ennis. She was the poster girl for the Olympics and the pressure on her shoulders going in to the Games was immense. But did she let that get to her? Of course not. Her response to that added pressure was to smash the field to pieces in the most gruelling of athletic events. Yes, Mo Farah is awesome at distance running, Murray is phenomenal at tennis, Elle Simmonds rules the pool, but Jess ran, jumped and threw her way to her gold medal in astonishing style. To compete in all those different disciplines to Jess’ standard requires a phenomenal all-round athleticism. And she did it all with a smile on her face and with a grace and humility that endeared her to the entire nation.
It sounds corny to say it but Jess is an inspiration to the nation; not least to a generation of young girls who previously lacked sporting female role models to look up to. Plenty of female athletes have helped put that right over the summer, but none more so than Jess in my opinion. Jess epitomised the spirit of the Games and I believe will epitomise the legacy that lives on.”
Katie Matthews
 
“I would like Ellie Simmonds to win because she won two gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and has truly captured both the hearts and minds of the British public. For me, Ellie was the face of the Paralympic Games in London and should be an inspiration to others out there, both able bodied athletes and those competing with a disability, showing the world that sport has no boundaries.”
Laura Field
 
“Before London 2012, how many of us were familiar with the accomplishments of David Weir? Probably not very many. Now, he is not only the greatest wheelchair athlete of all time but, quite rightfully, a household name. Time and time again I find myself in awe of the strength and tenacity with which he competes. But more than this, Weir has been instrumental in increasing awareness of disability sport and has made the remarkably mammoth task of bridging the gap between the Olympic and Paralympic Games look as easy as a wheelchair wheelie. He is a truly outstanding talent who has inspired the nation”
Sarah Taylor
 
“Wiggins: Not only Olympic gold and a truly historic Tour de France win, but is a genuine character and a Mod, something we need more of in sport”
Jonny Davies
 
“Bradley Wiggins should take the crown. He is the first Briton to win the Tour De France, has four Olympic Golds and seven medals overall making him the equal most celebrated British Olympian and he deserves to be recognised. For that reason in my eyes he stands above Mo Farah, Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis. Wiggins has reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the Tour De France and has the medals to show for it!”
Dan Apostolos
 
Words by Sarah Taylor

Everyone's talking about….BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Sports Personality of the Year

In 1954 members of the public wrote on a postcard the name of the athlete who they believed had earned the title of Sportsperson of the Year. Some 14,500 votes were counted and the inaugural BBC Sportsperson of the Year Award was presented to the middle and long distance runner Christopher Chataway.

58 years later and Britain’s best loved sporting figures continue to be publicly acknowledged for outstanding achievement, in what has become one of the most widely recognised awards celebrations in the sports industry. Today men and women from any sporting discipline have the potential to be awarded the accolade, while managers, coaches, teams and the country’s most inspirational unsung heroes are also granted public acknowledgment. 

2012 has been a year of sport for Great Britain. We rejoiced at gold medals, laughed in the face of world records and claimed titles that should never have belonged to us. But which of the many awe-inspiring individuals who have filled our television screens and populated our morning papers throughout 2012 is likely to be recognised as the standout personality of the year? Here are the likely candidates as we see them…

 

Bradley Wiggins

As if becoming the first Briton to win the gruelling Tour De France was not enough, our favourite potty-mouthed, sideburn-sporting ginger-man went on to claim gold at London 2012, bringing his total Olympic medal tally up to an impressive seven. Wiggins has moved ferociously from pigeon-holed pursuit cyclist into an almighty force across all terrains. He has propelled cycling onto the main stage and has made the name Team Sky synonymous with fortitude and implacable success.

BetVictor odds: 4/6

 

Andy Murray

Let’s head back to the beginning of 2012, just for a moment. Andy Murray was then, at best, Britain’s greatest hope of Wimbledon success – someone who allowed us to forget the painstaking disappointment of the Henman years. And at worst? He was the tantrum-throwing non-British-Scotsman who we struggled to warm to (plus his mum was Anne Robinson, and she’s pretty scary). So it goes without saying that we were completely bowled over when the guard was finally taken down and Murray revealed what was probably only an ounce of the pain he was experiencing at having a Grand Slam title snatched from well within his reach yet again. Just a few short months later and Murray is celebrating what has been the greatest year of his career to date. He is Olympic Champion, Grand Slam title holder and, most unpredictably, the people’s champion. Talk about a turnaround.

BetVictor odds: 11/4

 

Mo Farah

Few moments from the world of sport in 2012 are quite as memorable as that of Mo Farah crossing the finishing line to claim his second Olympic Gold. In the space of a few short weeks Farah made us proud to be British, caused one unnamed reporter to look utterly foolish (“Look mate, this is my country.”) and reminded us that the qualities of graciousness and humility do have a place in elite sport. Oh, and he trademarked his own move…. which we’re all a bit jealous of really. If it’s personality you’re looking for, Farah has bucket loads. 

BetVictor Odds: 7/2

 

Jessica Ennis

The poster girl of London 2012 and one of Britain’s biggest gold medal hopes, heading into the Games; you would have forgiven Jessica Ennis for displaying some small sign of buckling under the weight of public hope and expectation. But for Ennis, competing with the weight of a home crowd behind her and the support of a Nation clinging to the backs of their sofas, made this particular gold medal mission a walk in the park. Ennis catapulted her way into the hearts of the nation with the perfect combination of incomprehensible talent and total grace. Her 800m win in the final event of the heptathlon was the picture perfect ending to a note perfect performance. Conquering seven different disciplines has never looked quite so easy.

BetVictor odds: 12:1

 

David Weir

Why have one gold medal, when you can have four? This year Weir claimed first place in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon, becoming one of our favourite over-achievers of London 2012. His presence was undoubtedly a key factor in the unexpected wave of energy that surrounded the Paralympic Games and he quickly became the headline athlete on each and every day that he competed. Weir now has ten Paralympic medals to his name. Could this be the year of the Weirwolf?

SkyBet odds: 18/1

 

Ellie Simmonds

If Ennis was the poster girl of the Olympic Games then Ellie Simmonds was the smiling, superhuman billboard for the Paralympics 2012. At just 17 Simmonds has achieved more than many swimmers do in a lifetime – four Paralympic golds and ten World Championship golds….an achievement worthy of the highest recognition. But more than success in the pool, Ellie has helped to increase awareness of disability sport and has served as an inspirational role model for young people who find themselves in a similar position to her.

SkyBet odds: 40/1

 

Jonnie Peacock

Oscar who? Jonnie Peacock stormed the 100m, leaving behind the T44 favourite, as well as the existing Paralympic record. ‘Britain’s Bladerunner’, the man who beat the unbeatable…and an athlete who made clear his pride in representing GB as a Paralympic competitor…not bad at just 19 years of age.

BetVictor odds: 100/1

 

Sir Chris Hoy

The most decorated British Olympian ever. Never did we think adding two more Olympic golds to an already impressive tally could mean so much to the man who owns the velodrome. In stark contrast to the likes of Simmonds and Peacock, Hoy is creeping towards the 40 mark but continues to demonstrate that age is no more than a number.

BetVictor odds: 66/1

 

Victoria Pendleton

Overlooked in last year’s Sports Personality line up, Pendleton has made a name for herself both on and off the bike. High profile magazine shoots, lucrative sponsorship deals, media profiles (oh, and naked bike riding), Pendleton has achieved what many athletes competing in non-mainstream sports fail to do, to make her achievements stretch farther than the sporting arena. Pendleton has been World Champion, Olympic Champion, European Champion and Commonwealth champion….. Sports Personality 2012 would surely be the icing on the cake, as she happily hangs her bike in the shed for good.

BetVictor odds: 150/1

 

Rory McIlroy

Ok, so if we had it our way all ten of our shortlist would come from the world of athletics. After all, there aren’t many occasions where we are afforded the luxury of ignoring football in favour of fencing. But with the Ryder Cup underway there may well be space for a golfer in the shortlist this year and it is McIlroy who has enjoyed a standout twelve months. Add to this the rekindling of the irresistible McIlroy/G-Mac partnership and you’ve got yourself another strong contender for SPOTY.

SkyBet odds: 100/1

 

So there we have it, some of this year’s strongest candidates. As a lasting thought, here’s who some of the team at PHA would like to see named Sports Personality of the Year 2012:

  

“Jonnie Peacock, for sheer force of personality, triumphing over the odds, beating Oscar Pistorius who is a true legend and for answering the question do you now want to compete in the Olympic Games with the answer: “Why would I do that! I am a Paralympian and proud of it!””
Phil Hall

 

“I’d go for Andy Murray….Olympic Gold and Silver, US open and finalist at Wimbledon…the best ever year by a British tennis player. He’s everything Tim Henman was not and will win five or six slams now. (Plus I can’t separate the Olympians!)”
Stuart Skinner

 

“It has to be Bradley Wiggins. The Tour de France has got to be the ultimate sporting endurance event and to become the first ever British winner and then follow it up with Olympic gold less than two weeks later is an incredible achievement.”
Rob Treloar

 

“Mo Farah. A true champion whose tremendous double-gold lit up a fantastic Olympics. He manages to effortlessly mix his brilliance with humour, warmth and modesty. And he gave us the MoBot!”
Neil McLeod

 

“Jessica Ennis. She was the poster girl for the Olympics and the pressure on her shoulders going in to the Games was immense. But did she let that get to her? Of course not. Her response to that added pressure was to smash the field to pieces in the most gruelling of athletic events. Yes, Mo Farah is awesome at distance running, Murray is phenomenal at tennis, Elle Simmonds rules the pool, but Jess ran, jumped and threw her way to her gold medal in astonishing style. To compete in all those different disciplines to Jess’ standard requires a phenomenal all-round athleticism. And she did it all with a smile on her face and with a grace and humility that endeared her to the entire nation.
It sounds corny to say it but Jess is an inspiration to the nation; not least to a generation of young girls who previously lacked sporting female role models to look up to. Plenty of female athletes have helped put that right over the summer, but none more so than Jess in my opinion. Jess epitomised the spirit of the Games and I believe will epitomise the legacy that lives on.”
Katie Matthews
 
“I would like Ellie Simmonds to win because she won two gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and has truly captured both the hearts and minds of the British public. For me, Ellie was the face of the Paralympic Games in London and should be an inspiration to others out there, both able bodied athletes and those competing with a disability, showing the world that sport has no boundaries.”
Laura Field

 

“Before London 2012, how many of us were familiar with the accomplishments of David Weir? Probably not very many. Now, he is not only the greatest wheelchair athlete of all time but, quite rightfully, a household name. Time and time again I find myself in awe of the strength and tenacity with which he competes. But more than this, Weir has been instrumental in increasing awareness of disability sport and has made the remarkably mammoth task of bridging the gap between the Olympic and Paralympic Games look as easy as a wheelchair wheelie. He is a truly outstanding talent who has inspired the nation”
Sarah Taylor

 

“Wiggins: Not only Olympic gold and a truly historic Tour de France win, but is a genuine character and a Mod, something we need more of in sport”
Jonny Davies

 

“Bradley Wiggins should take the crown. He is the first Briton to win the Tour De France, has four Olympic Golds and seven medals overall making him the equal most celebrated British Olympian and he deserves to be recognised. For that reason in my eyes he stands above Mo Farah, Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis. Wiggins has reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the Tour De France and has the medals to show for it!”
Dan Apostolos

 

Words by Sarah Taylor