So we were not kidding when we said this was awards season. Not long had we told you about the Sportswomen of the Year Awards when the announcement was made for BBC’s stalwart, Sports Personality of the Year Award (SPOTY). Now one key difference between these two is that one is specifically for women (ie. Sportswomen) whilst the other takes on the non-gender specific ‘personality’ because this is an award for all, where men and women stand equal and united…
…or perhaps not. As we waited for the BBC One Show Team to reveal the nominees our baited breath began to get shallower and shallower as the wave of frustration crashed over. When the names were read out only two belonged to female sportswomen. In 365 days of sport only the stellar efforts of Christine Ohuruogu and Hannah Cockroft made the cut. (you can find the full list here)
SPOTY has had a few issues recently. Remember 2011? No, neither do we. That’s because we’ve blocked it from our minds. And that’s because it was the year where no women were deemed worth of making the 10-man (literally) shortlist. It was also the year where Nuts and Zoo magazine were on the selection panel.
While 2013 isn’t quite back to the dark days of 2011, nor is it the shining beacon of 2012 where the extended list of 12 nominees saw 5 women make the shortlist thanks to the Olympics and Paralympics. 2013 has been a great year for women’s sport, with three names worth mentioning that had more than a strong case for making the shortlist:
Two World Champions (Stanford in the triathlon, under the most dramatic of circumstances having overcome a 15-second penalty during the event and James in track cycling with both the individual sprint and the keirin events) and one Ashes-winning player of the series (Knight, whose staggering 157 in the series’ test match marked her out as the dominant force as England regained the Ashes).
Frankly it may have been unlikely to see five women on the shortlist (expectations being what they are), but not to see at least one of the above nominated alongside Christine Ohuruogu and Hannah Cockroft is just frustrating.
Don’t get us wrong, all the male athletes that have been nominated deserve recognition, but there is such a wealth of talented women out there its disheartening to not see their names among the best. It also seems like a huge oversight on the BBC’s part in as far as the overall support for women’s sport goes. Whilst Sky Sports and BT Sport have upped their commitment to women’s sport in the post London 2012 era and have now even gone as far as to support or run their own female athlete awards, by only putting two women on the shortlist for the SPOTY makes the BBC look a bit antiquated.
So BBC, why not just expand the nominee list to make room for all those other fantastic sportswomen if you can’t decide between the men? We don’t want set quotas or a women’s only SPOTY award, we just want you to think a bit more about the message you’re sending out to 100os of young sportswomen.
FQ and CS.
Images from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/sports-personality/ – thanks (Now go count the women that feature on that page who aren’t the award presenters…)