Tears make prizes…

FROM sponsored swimmers to grieving golfers, being crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year has less and less to do with being good at sport, argues Rob Lyons on Spiked as he takes a hard-hearted swipe at Norn Iron’s Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke. He adds: “Clarke is a pretty decent golfer. He’s never won a ‘major’ nor topped the European Order of Merit, but he was one of the best players in the Europe team that retained the Ryder Cup this year. But as an individual, in what is essentially an individual game, he’s never quite set the world on fire. However, his performance in this year’s Ryder Cup won plaudits because it came just weeks after the death of his wife from cancer.”Lyons continues:

That Clarke showed some considerable fortitude in getting himself together to play in a high-pressure golf tournament is certainly worthy of praise. But if the Sports Personality of the Year means anything at all, it should surely be judged on sporting achievement alone. On that basis, Clarke’s achievements this year are relatively moderate in comparison to winning an athletics gold medal at the Olympics or being crowned world heavyweight champion like some past winners.

Admittedly, his achievement is somewhat greater than Paul Gascoigne’s, who won in 1990 for playing football quite well and blubbing like a girl during the World Cup. But that was really recognition for the fact that England nearly won the World Cup that year which is as big as sporting success gets. Europe always win the Ryder Cup these days.

So there you have it. I’ll probably watch Sports Review this year, like I do most years. In between the cheesy chats with sports stars past and present, they do actually show all the best bits from the sporting year. A few people think the whole thing is well past its sell-by date and they might have a point. If the top gong is awarded on the basis of bereavement or charitable works, it might be beyond saving.

  • joeCanuck

    what a curmudgen.
    The award isn’t for sporting achievement of the year.
    It is for personality.

  • Penelope

    Say what you like about the piece, it does come across as rather hard, but on this side of the pond Clarke’s story was highlighted in pre-game segements and running commentary of his grace & class part of the coverage during the matches.

    Helped made for some compeling viewing knowing background.

    Surely that played a huge factor, especially if award is personality based?

  • againstthehead

    although the title states sports personality, it generally is given to an individual who has excelled at his/her sporting event over the past year. with regards to playing golf, Darren probably has not set the world on fire, however, if we take his personal circumstances into account then he has displayed immense stength and courage.
    In conclusion, if the award is for personality, give it to him, if it’s for talent then prob not.

  • Yokel

    Would be nice for Darren if he gets and npot too many people are going to have an issue with it but the guys analysis is spot on.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    “sporting acheivement alone…” – hmm

    David Steele – 1975
    Didn’t make a century against the Aussies in a series England lost

    Nigel Mansell – 1986
    Lost F1 World Championship

    Paul Gascoigne – 1990
    As per Lyons

    Damon Hill – 1994
    See Mansell

    Greg Rusedski – 1997
    Lost US Open

    Michael Owen – 1998
    Didn’t win a medal (even losers)

    David Beckham – 2001
    Scored to scrape a draw against Greece – no medals

    At least Darren was in a team that won something and performed individually, winning 3 points out of 3 in a year where he had barely played, not even taking into account the emotional state he was in.

    Mr Lyons – errr, no Olympics this year, no home World Heavyweight Champ (though Calzaghe should be a contender but is Welsh, so isn’t) so no logic to that argument.

    Acheivement is comparative to your peers in the year concerned – all those mentioned above acheived great things, some more momentous later when they won things (see Mansell and Hill). Darren’s performance over the three days was nothing short of inspirational to me at any rate and he will be a worthy recipient should the public deem it so – he gets my vote.

  • Patrique

    Having lost the boat race, there is now very little sport on BBC. We have Andy Murray, winner of nowt, Princess Anne’s daughter’s horse, and…..even the good darts players are not on BBC.

    Just give it to Audley Harrison, he was on BBC.