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Andy Murray is not just the bookie’s favourite to win Sports Personality - based on the makeup of the previous winners, his major and Olympic winning season, combined with his age, leave him looking the most likely of all the candidates.

Since Christopher Chataway was first awarded the title in 1954, the average age of winners has been 28 years and 6 months - with Andy Murray sitting at 29 years old, this leaves him in the prime spot to take the title.

53 out of 62 previous winners also won a major tournament or title in their Sports Personality winning year, meaning Murray’s second Wimbledon title takes him a long way towards earning the gold.

And, in an Olympic year, gold is all the more important - out of 15 years with an Olympics or Winter Olympics, 10 winners have been an Olympic Champion. This means Murray’s remarkable year ticks another Sports Personality box, while some other bookie’s favourites - Gareth Bale and Anthony Joshua included - could well be overlooked.

Andy Murray claiming the title again would also continue a recent trend of England falling behind the rest of the UK - just two winners in the last nine years have been English, despite 48 English Sports Personality winners out of 62 (exactly three quarters) historically.

Andy Murray is already at the top of the table in terms of his Sports Personality successes - with two first places and one-third, he is tied with Nigel Mansell. Snooker player Steve Davis has made the top three more than anyone else, however, winning once and finishing second and third twice each.

And, despite there being four two-time winners - Henry Cooper and Damon Hill also claimed two titles - nobody has won in consecutive years, meaning that if Murray claimed his third title he’d also be the first athlete to retain the crown.

Given their respective ages, Anthony Joshua (27) and Alistair Brownlee (28) are also both contenders, particularly given the former’s world title and the latter’s Olympic title - obviously not forgetting him helping his heat-exhausted brother cross the finish line during a World Triathlon race in September.

Mo Farah is also definitely not out of the running either - athletics has long been a favourite with the Sports Personality viewers, with 17 winners in 62 years. In fact, 12 of these have been runners - though it’s been 10 years since Kelly Holmes took the title and 12 years since Paula Radcliffe.

Max Whitlock’s stunning double gold medal performance could also easily go overlooked, as a gymnast has never won Sport’s Personality of the year. Even the young age at which he snagged those medals might not be enough - there have already been 12 Sports Personality winners aged 23 and under, with Michael Owen winning at age 19 in 1998 the most recent example.

In fact, you have to look a few years younger for the youngest ever winner - Scottish swimmer Ian Black won the title at age 17 way back in 1958. That was just one year after the competitions oldest ever winner, golfer Dai Rees, took the title at age 44.

When it comes to the popular sports, Formula One, Football, Boxing and Tennis consistently perform well - if only Lewis Hamilton had claimed a surprise title victory this year, he could have had a great shot at doubling up on his 2014 title - but didn’t even make the eventual shortlist:

 

Sport

Number of Wins

Athletics

17

Formula One

7

Football

5

Boxing

5

Tennis

5

Cricket

4

Cycling

4

Figure Skating

3

Golf

2

Swimming

2

Eventing

2

Motorcycle Racing

1

Show Jumping

1

Snooker

1

Rugby

1

Horse Racing

1

Rowing

1

 

The full breakdown of the winner’s nationalities is also interesting, with Mark Cavendish’s 2011 win adding the Isle of Man to the list:

 

English

48

Scottish

6

Welsh

4

Northern Irish

3

Isle of Man

1

 

Notes

The full data can be found via the link below:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PaVfc2PNDwXa7WnJ1uAvL9r0FlVn94y2GJItZLnOXdQ/edit?usp=sharing

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