Rory McIlroy, Lewis Hamilton, Gareth Bale and Jo Pavey: Who is on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014 shortlist?

Catherine Neilan
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Rory Mcilroy: Early favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year (Source: Getty)

The BBC has unveiled which of the UK’s best athletes are up for Sports Personality of the Year 2014.

Last year it was Andy Murray who picked up the coveted award. The books are now open on who will pick up SPOTY 2014 - and initially at least it looks like a close run between the top two contenders.

It’s probably no surprise that Rory Mcilroy is on the list. The 25-year-old won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May - by one stroke. He then won the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in July, going onto to win both the World Golf Championship at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 2/9

Lewis Hamilton is another strong contender. He has broken numerous British records, including 33 wins so far in his career, helping Mercedes to win 16 of the last 19 possible races.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 3/1

Welsh footballer Gareth Bale had an injury-strewn start to his year at Real Madrid, but finished up having scored 22 goals and providing 16 assists. He also became Wales’s 10th all time top scorer after notching up two goals during their first match of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 25/1

Long-distance runner Jo Pavey, who won the 10,000 m gold medal at the 2014 European Championships in Zürich 10 months after giving birth to her second child, is another possibility. She also won bronze at Glasgow 2014 and now ranks second behind Paula Radcliffe on the UK all-time list at both 5000 m and 10,000 m.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 33/1

In the dressage world Charlotte Dujardin OBE is big news. With her horse Valegro, she currently holds the complete set of the available individual elite dressage titles; the individual Olympic freestyle, World freestyle and Grand Prix Special, and European freestyle and Grand Prix Special titles. Not only that, Dujardin is the first, and to date only, rider to hold this complete set of titles at the same time.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 33/1

Four-time world champion in the super middleweightdivision, and WBA unified champion, Carl Froch has several titles to his name. The BBC has named him the best British boxer pound-for-pound, and has been named Sportsman of the Year by GQ, as well as World Boxing News’ fighter of the year 2012.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 66/1

Swimmer Adam Peatty has had a good 2014, winning two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. He also holds the World Record for 50 metres breaststroke and the four-by-100 metre mixed medley.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 90/1

Aged just 21, Max Whitlock has already proved his abilities, picking up the silver medal in the all-around competition at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, matching Daniel Keatings for the best performance in a world all-around competition by a British gymnast.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 100/1

Also vying for the prize is Lizzy Yarnold, who won the 2013–14 Skeleton World Cup, following this up with a gold in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 100/1

If it’s firsts you are after how about this. Kelly Gallagher, MBE, who is visually impaired, was the first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Paralympics. Gallagher won Britain's first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal during Sochi 2014.

Paddy Power’s verdict: 100/1

The SPOTY panel comprises sportspeople, as well as experts in the field.

This year it includes Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Denise Lewis, Paralympian Dame Tanni-Grey Thompson, and footballer Jason Roberts.

Newspaper sports editors Mike Dunn (Independent, the i and Evening Standard), Howard Wheatcroft (Express Newspapers head of sport) and Alex Butler (Sunday Times); pan-sports broadcaster/journalist Alison Mitchell and the chair of SportScotland Louise Martin are also on the panel.

Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater; head of TV sport Philip Bernie and Carl Doran (executive editor, BBC Sports Personality of the Year) round the team off.

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