Storey but not Cavendish nominated for UK Sports Personality of the Year

Sarah Storey of Team Great Britain with her gold medal from the women's C5 Time Trial on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Sarah Storey of Team Great Britain with her gold medal from the women's C5 Time Trial on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Sarah Storey has been nominated for the UK’s Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award, but there is no room on the shortlist for Mark Cavendish.

The prize is awarded annually by the BBC to celebrate the year’s sporting success.
Cavendish himself walked away with it in 2011 after winning the World Championship road race, with Bradley Wiggins his successor after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012.

This year, there are just six nominees on the shortlist, and Storey is the only cyclist, having become Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time. 

The 44-year-old, who was born without a functioning left hand, won three gold medals in Tokyo to take her tally to 17. Riding in the C5 category, she triumphed in the Individual Pursuit on the track before pulling off the road race and time trial double.

It took her tally of cycling medals to 12 across four Olympic Games, after tasting victory for the first time in Beijing in 2008. Prior to her cycling career, Storey was a swimmer, winning five gold medals across the 1992 and 1996 Games in Barcelona and Atlanta. 

This is the third time Storey has been nominated for SPOTY, after previous Olympic successes in 2012 and 2016. She will face competition from 19-year-old US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu, along with diver Tom Daley, boxer Tyson Fury, footballer Raheem Sterling, and swimmer Adam Peaty. 

"It’s the shortest of short lists to be part of and I’m so incredibly honoured to be named amongst these sporting greats,” Storey wrote on social media. “Fortunately Tyson Fury was born when I went to my first Games, but the others weren’t #doingitfortheover40s" 

There will be no repeat triumph for Cavendish after he was omitted from the shortlist despite a stirring career revival in 2021. The Briton was winless in three years and struggled to find a team as last year drew to a close but he won 10 races this year, including four stages and the green jersey at the Tour de France, where he drew level with Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 stage wins. 

“Good luck to the nominees and congratulations for all your inspiring successes this year. Great year for British sport,” Cavendish said in a magnanimous social media post. 

Other cyclists who might have been in with a sniff of the shortlist include Jason Kenny, who became Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time with one gold and one silver medal in Tokyo. His partner Laura Kenny did the same to take her medal count to five gold and one silver, while Katie Archibald also left Tokyo with a gold and silver, in a year in which she confirmed her status as one of the leading endurance track riders. 

Five riders have won SPOTY in the 65-year history of the award. The first was Tom Simpson in 1965 after his World Championship victory, while the others have been more recent: Chris Hoy in 2008, Cavendish in 2011, Wiggins in 2012, and Geraint Thomas in 2018. 

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