So it was off to SP08 at European Capital of Culture – Liverpool. Sadly there was a distinct lack of personality and culture at the Echo arena. I know that world class athletes train like machines and are almost robot-like in performance, but some of the condenders for sports personality took that approach a tad too far. Most notably Bradley Wiggins, who gave possibly the worst interview I’ve ever witnessed – likening winning Olympic gold medals to ‘ticking boxes’. I know as a top sportsperson you have to stay focussed and keep your feet on the ground but every now and again it helps to get excited when you achieve something special. Lewis Hamilton was equally as dull, it’s just not what people watching want to hear, they want excitement, passion and humanity – which is why Chris Hoy was a worthy winner.
The Paralympics enjoyed high coverage this year and the profile of Paralympic sport has greaty increased. However I can’t help but feel that the BBC bottled it a bit, because I thought Dave Roberts should’ve been in the 10 having equalled Tanni’s record – something that has gone strangely unrecognised – they didn’t need 4 cyclists in the top 10, at least one Paralympian should’ve been in. I also thought Paralympics GB should’ve been up for team of the year and Tim Reddish for coach of the year for Paralympic swimming. I worry that Ellie Simmonds might succeed Tanni as the tokenistic disabled athlete – really pleased she won the award though.
It’s quite annoying the stick that athletics is getting. It’s true that in both Olympics and Paralympics, athletics is the most competitive sport by far, with 150 contries competiting for the medals. While I realise athletics needs to improve, I think it’s unfair to compare us to other, less competitive sports. People say Paralympic sport is moving foward in terms of parity with able-bodied sport, but I think it remains in the same position as where I was sitting at Sports Personality 08 – right at the back!