Olympic gold medallist Leslie Law is among the contenders for this year’s prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, but will face tough competition from his fellow sportsmen.
The award line-up is likely to include Olympic double gold medallist Kelly Holmes, rower and quadruple gold medallist Matthew Pinsent and cricket player Andrew Flintoff, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of rugby player Jonny Wilkinson, who won last year.
The BBC is continuing to accept nominations for the award until 9 December, when a shortlist will be drawn up. The winner will be chosen from the short-listed candidates by live vote during the glitzy Sports Review of the Year ceremony on 12 December, which will be broadcast on BBC1.
Obviously Law, from Naunton, in Worcestershire, has two Olympic medals to speak in his favour. He was Britain’s first individual Olympic gold medallist in equestrian sports since Richard Meade won in Munich in 1972.
Although Law finished in silver position in Athens, he was promoted to gold when the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the Ground Jury’s decision to disqualify German rider Bettina Hoy for having crossed the start line twice during her show jumping round. His individual gold also meant that the British eventing team was upgraded from bronze to silver.
Law has been competing for Britain since 2000 and his career is filled with medals. He had originally been selected for the Atlanta Olympics, but his horse, New Flavour, went lame when they arrived in the United States. He had a better time in Sydney, where he won team silver with Shear H20. Since then, he has won two team golds at the European Championships in 2001 and 2003, and a team bronze in the World Equestrian Games in 2002.
Law now stands a very good chance to improve on the success of team mate Pippa Funnell, who ended in fourth position at last year’s Sports Personality award. British Eventing have gone all out in a bid to help him make it to the shortlist.
“It has been on our website and we have done a mass email to all our members,” says BE spokeswoman Winnie Murphy. “We are very pleased with his nomination. At the moment, he is fifth and we are hoping to push him into the top three positions.”
Meanwhile, Law has already bagged the BBC Midlands Sportsman of the Year award. Riders swept the board at the BBC Midlands ceremony on Saturday 4 December, as Paralympic gold medallist Lee Pearson won the ceremony’s top accolade — the BBC Midlands Sports Personality of the Year — while Jeanette Brakewell won the East Midlands Sportswoman of the Year award.
Pearson also landed the Disabled Sports Person of the Year title. “I’m overwhelmed to be voted Sports Personality of the Year for the Midlands when there were so many great performances by the region’s athletes this year,” he said. “Athens was a fantastic experience and I would like to thank all of my support team who helped to make it such a success for me and the rest of the British team.”
To vote for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, (tel: 09011 110 830) (calls cost 25p), text 81111 or send in your nomination via the BBC website. Voting for the shortlist closes on 9 December.