Ainslie to strike Sports Personality of the Year gold?

First published in Sailing News

The 12 nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award will be announced tomorrow.

Here, the Daily Echo looks at who might be on the shortlist – with Lymington-based sailor Ben Ainslie sure to be one of the nominees after claiming a record breaking fourth Olympic gold in Weymouth and Portland this summer.

NICOLA ADAMS The Leeds boxer made history by becoming the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold with victory over China's Ren Cancan in the flyweight division. Her inclusion would be a boost for women's sport.

BEN AINSLIE Ainslie's dramatic gold in the Finn class made him the first sailor to win medals in five different Olympics, four of them gold. He was given the honour of carrying the British flag in the closing ceremony.

JESSICA ENNIS The golden girl of British athletics certainly did not disappoint, bringing the Olympic Stadium to its feet with a dominant victory in the heptathlon.

MO FARAH Won his first gold medal in the 10,000 metres on a glorious night that also saw victories for Ennis and Greg Rutherford in the long jump. Added a second gold in the 5,000m, becoming only the seventh man in Olympic history to do the double. Hugely popular and could well improve on his third place last year.

SIR CHRIS HOY The Scot won the main prize in 2008 after his three golds in Beijing, two of which he defended in London. That gave the 36-year-old six gold medals, making him the most successful British Olympian of all time.

RORY McILROY The world number one golfer could well be the only non-Olympian or Paralympian on the list. He has had a superb year, winning his second major at the USPGA Championship, topping the money lists in both the United States and Europe and helping Europe win the Ryder Cup.

ANDY MURRAY After so many near-misses, Murray hit the jackpot in 2012, beating Roger Federer to win Olympic singles gold on the same court he had tearfully lost to the Swiss three weeks earlier in the Wimbledon final. He then ended Fred Perry's 76-year reign as the last British man to win a grand slam singles title at the US Open. It may still not be enough to make him Sports Personality of the Year.

JONNIE PEACOCK The 19-year-old provided one of the moments of the Paralympics when he left superstar sprinter Oscar Pistorius in his wake to win gold in the T44 100m.

ELLIE SIMMONDS Simmonds emerged as a sporting star at the Beijing Paralympics when she was only 13, winning two gold medals. She added two more golds, a silver and a bronze in London, where she was one of the star attractions.

LAURA TROTT The 20-year-old Essex girl was tipped as one of the potential stars of London 2012 and she did not disappoint, winning double cycling gold in the team pursuit and the omnium.

DAVID WEIR The Londoner stole the show where Paralympic athletics was concerned, winning four gold medals at distances from 800m all the way up to marathon, taking his tally to 10 medals overall, six of them gold.

BRADLEY WIGGINS The hot favourite to win the award, Wiggins has been one of the faces of 2012. He became the first British rider ever to win the Tour de France in July and then added Olympic gold in the time trial, his seventh medal overall. Certainly fulfils the personality element.

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