The time is fast-approaching where we reflect on the many amazing sporting achievements of the year gone by and there have been plenty so far in 2023. There have been standout performances in the World Athletics Championship, the Ashes, the Women’s World Cup, and we still have so much more to look forward to before the year’s end. With that said, this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Award is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested in recent memory. Magnificent storybook careers have drawn to a dramatic close and lifelong ambitions have been realised but who will claim the famous trophy? Will it be an triumphant underdog story once again or a fan favourite enjoying their moment in the spotlight? Here’s our look at the favourites for this year’s SPOTY award.
Stuart Broad – 11/8
Unsurprisingly, one of England’s greatest ever bowlers is the frontrunner for this year’s SPOTY award. The 37-year-old Nottingham native’s credentials as one of cricket’s all-time greats are there for everyone to see; Broad sits fifth on the all-time test wickets list with 604 over a career spanning 16 years. His long list of accomplishments speaks for itself as he and Jimmy Anderson combined to establish themselves as one of the most feared bowling attacks in the history of the sport. That’s reason enough to put him in contention for this year’s awards but his odds were slashed following the announcement of his retirement on the third day of the fifth and final Ashes test this summer. Having been the scourge of Australian batters for years, it proved that way once again earning the final wicket that securing a draw in the series as well as the fairytale ending his illustrious career deserved. Broad finishes his test career with more wickets against Australia than any bowler in history with 151 from his 40 matches against the Aussies. He is the sport’s most successful fast-bowler behind teammate Anderson and with undeniable charisma, a burning passion for the sport and an unrivaled competitive spirit, he is a shoe-in to become the sixth cricketer to claim the award.
Frankie Dettori – 7/2
Another sportsman finishing off their career in contention is legendary jockey Frankie Dettori. 2023 is to be Dettori’s final year in the saddle as he brings an incredible 36-year career to a close. He first garnered attention in 1990 for becoming the first teenager to reach over 100 wins in a season since Lester Piggott. Perhaps his most impressive achievement though is his record at Ascot in 1996 where he managed to claim victory in all seven races on one day. Ascot’s Champions day in October is set to be his last hurrah and he will be looking to finish with a flourish, adding one more win this season in which he has already won the Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and an Epsom Oaks triumph. If successful, Dettori would become the first jockey to win the award since Sir Anthony McCoy fended off Phil Taylor and Jessica Ennis in 2010. While fast payout options bookmakers still have Broad as the favourite to win the award courtesy of his announcement back in July, Dettori was the frontrunner by a clear margin before then and at 7/2 is still in contention to claim the coveted prize.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson – 12/1
Katarina Hohnson-Thompson has been one of the stars of British track and field of recent times and has continued that run in 2023. The 30-year-old recently won her second World Championship gold in the heptathlon in Budapest in a nail biting climax. The second-place finish in the 800m phase proved just enough to hang onto victory and her accomplishment in Hungary was made all the more satisfying for the Liverpudlian by the fact it was the shortest points margin of victory in the history of the Championships. The English multi-eventer now has two World Championship golds along with two Commonwealth golds. Her triumph was one of only two gold medals won by a Great British athlete at this year’s Championship and the nature of her victory propelled her into the SPOTY award conversation. She’s certainly in with a chance of becoming the first athlete since Mo Farah in 2017 to claim the award and after struggling for form since tearing her calf at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, the performance in Budapest will ultimately help her chances with voters who fancy an underdog narrative.
Ben Stokes – 12/1
The England test captain is easily one of the most admired characters in cricket. His attacking flair while at the crease and his ability to provide moments of individual brilliance made him a standout performer in the year’s Ashes series. England’s resurgence in the test format since Stokes became captain is well-documented as himself and Brendon Mccullum continue to mastermind their rebuild. In 2023, he set a new record for most sixes in a Test career and scored an incredibly entertaining 155 at Lord’s in the second Ashes test. Their efforts were not enough to earn England the Ashes but coming back from a 2-0 deficit to ensure England’s long-standing unbeaten home run in the series remains intact has seen Stokes enter the frame once again. It has been another remarkable season for the 32-year-old and he might yet add to his SPOTY award credentials having announced his return to the ODI format ahead of the Cricket World Cup and recently scoring the highest ODI score for an Englishman of 182. He started off the year as the top contender for the SPOTY award and if he performs out in India, then he could well end up lifting the trophy for the second time in December.
Mary Earps- 5/1
England’s Lionesses may have come up heartbreakingly short of claiming their first Women’s World Cup out in Australia and New Zealand but it was still an incredible showing throughout the tournament to help them reach the final. Some incredible performances throughout the team helped them get there but none more so than goalkeeper Mary Earps. The 30-year-old is already a star of the women’s game but further highlighted her talents with her sterling showing between the sticks that earned her the Golden Glove for the tournament. She is one of the biggest characters in the England dressing room and that presence was on full display throughout the World Cup, endearing her to millions back home. This golden generation will have another crack at glory soon enough and Earps will likely play a big part in the team’s success. While she didn’t lift the World Cup this summer, she could well lift the SPOTY trophy.