As Tokyo 2020 concludes this weekend and with August now with us, the contenders for Sports Personality of the Year 2021 are starting to take shape.
An Olympic year usually features prominently on the annual shortlist for December, in fact, in every edition of SPOTY with a Summer Games in the same year, an Olympian has scooped the coveted prize since Sydney 2000. With the gold medal tally again mounting up for Team GB in Tokyo, its stars could feature heavily come the end of year gala.
After winning an emotional and unexpected Olympic title at his fourth attempt, Tom Daley is currently favourite and can be found at the best price with Betfair at 11/2, but at 5/2 with SkyBet is for some, an even surer bet.
Though the Plymouth diver will carry a sizeable share of the public vote, depending on how GB’s other hopes fair in the remaining days of the Games, Daley’s odds however, could drift. Laura Kenny now has five Olympic medals after taking a silver in the women’s team pursuit, but her best chance to win gold in Tokyo for a third-successive Games remain in both the omnium and the returning madison events to come.
Still a lofty 14/1 with MansionBet, perhaps though it is the other half of the Kenny dynasty, Jason Kenny, with the better chance and whose value is beginning to shorten with some bookmakers. At one point holding a value of 25/1 with SkyBet only days ago, his own silver in the team sprint has seen his price cut to 16s with the same bookie and 9/1 on the Betfair Exchange. It should be noted however, that Bet365 retain his original market value from last week of 25s.
Now level with Sir Bradley Wiggins on eight Olympic medals, a ninth for Kenny in either the men’s sprint or keirin, will surely slice his odds further in the races left in the Izu Velodrome. Should the colour of said medal(s) be gold, we could then be looking at odds in single digits very soon. It may well already be worth a punt on the Farnworth flyer.
Adam Peaty’s chances cannot be ruled out either, as part of GB swimming’s most successful Olympics ever. After the Uttoxeter man became the first Brit in the pool to retain his title, Peaty still looks a decent shot at as long as 16/1 with MansionBet, but as short as 5/1 with BetVictor.
In the football arena meanwhile, despite England reaching the final of Euro 2020, the Three Lions’ failure to beat Italy in the final will surely harm both Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling’s chances at 14s and 16s respectively – both with PaddyPower – so might it be another man on two wheels that could yet feature?
Having already won SPOTY back in 2011, Mark Cavendish equalled Eddie Merckx’s Tour de France record of 34 stage wins this summer. With four cyclists having scooped SPOTY since 2008, Cav, at a best price of 10/1 with Betfair, perhaps looks the best candidate outside of the Olympic contenders so far.