Five surprising SPOTY winners

On many occasions, you can guess who will win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award before the show has started… or so you think.

Over the years there has been a number of shocking winners that stunned the audience and proved that minority sports can produce a champion of the crown.

As Kevin Sinfield prepares to go head-to-head with some of the biggest names in world and British sport for the prestigious award, we look back at some of the most famous shocks in the competition’s history.

Notably, all five entries on the list are from the past decade, a big confidence boost to all the Rugby League advocates determined to see Sir Kev win the accolade.

And if the Rugby League community rallies round like it has done so many times in the past, Kevin Sinfield may well be added to this list of surprising winners.

Zara Phillips (2006)

In one of the most surprising results, Zara Phillips overturned heavy odds-on favourite Darren Clarke, who had spearheaded Europe’s Ryder Cup success at the K-club and who had lost his wife to cancer shortly before the awards. A concerted campaign within the horsey set led to this shock result.

Joe Calzaghe (2007)

Joe was available at 10/1 with the bookies on the night as it was expected that Lewis Hamilton would romp to success. Until now Joe had not really received the recognition he deserved as unbeaten champion for 10 years, but the boxing crowd rallied around him and left the bookies with egg on their faces.

Chris Hoy (2008)

Hoy had won triple gold at the Beijing Olympics, yet again it was Lewis Hamilton or Rebecca Adlington who dominated the papers in the run up to the awards night. Chris was expected to take third place at best and was third favourite behind the more favoured pair, yet on the night he won by an absolute landslide following a campaign within the cycling community.

Ryan Giggs (2009)

Giggs was a surprise entry on the shortlist for the award and having been available at 200/1 before the list was announced, he was still an unconsidered 16/1 shot after making the shortlist. However, his price got shorter and shorter in the run up to the award as it was clear that Man Utd fans would stand together and vote for him en-masse. With the weight of United fans behind him, no one else stood a chance.

Lewis Hamilton (2014)

Rory McIlroy was a double major champion and was a 1/10 shot on the night of the award. All evening it looked as though he would be crowned champion, and there were shocks of disbelief when he was pipped at the post by Lewis Hamilton – who finally managed to win the award having been bridesmaid so many times. Petrol heads keen to ensure the same thing didn’t happen again joined forces to ensure he got the votes he needed.

So if you thought our man didn’t have a chance, think again.