In a rather unspectacular year for British sport (insert joke of choice here) many had expected triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington, the world champion rower Kath Grainger or the world champion swimmers Keri-Anne Payne and Rebecca Adlington to get a shot, but they were snubbed by the voting panel.
Said voting panel is actually made up of a range of national and large regional newspapers and magazines and to see who voted for who click here. Mens magazine Nuts has come under fire for failing to nominate a woman (quelle surpise!) and the Manchester Evening News have been rightly battered for parochialism. The newspaper nominated bench-warming Man United striker Dimitar Berbatov and retired Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira.
Soon after the announcement Keri-Anne Payne (seen above) voiced her disappointment on Twitter: “Thank you so much for all your tweets! We don’t need awards just the support from the Great British public! So keep it coming :)” â but Wellington was more outspoken: “No women in @bbcspoty top ten. Its not about me, its about the need to celebrate achievements of so many female GBR athletes. Disgraceful.”
Adlington was also critical. “Think there has been some great women in sport this year including my best friend @KeriannePayne and sad they haven’t been recognised,” she tweeted. “Hopefully next year can be all women nominations after London 2012!!!!”
The 11-time Paralympic gold medal winner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson later suggested that the decision highlighted a lack of recognition for women in sport at the highest level.
“I wouldn’t want tokenism and I wouldn’t want a woman to be on the list just because she was a woman,” she told BBC Wales. “But I think you just look at where the nominations have come from and that highlights another problem really – only 2% of media coverage in sport goes to women.â?
“Women just aren’t on the minds, whether it’s editors or in some case producers, it’s just not there … you’re fighting against the system all the time where it’s the big sports all the time that get the recognition.”
The 10 men nominated for the award are as follows..