Only one footballer has won BBC Sports Personality of the Year since David Beckham in 2001.
That is set to change in 2022, with Beth Mead installed as the massive favourite to top the voting this week. In a field of six nominees, Mead is miles clear of the pack.
After Emma Raducanu’s triumph last year, this is set to be the first time with consecutive female winners since Princess Anne (1971) and Mary Peters (1972).
Beth Mead was the star of England’s historic win at the women’s Euros.
Scorer of six goals and credited with five assists, Mead won the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament as the Lionesses won their first ever major trophy by defeating Germany in a dramatic final at Wembley.
Mead’s performances throughout last summer earned BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year and a runner-up placing in the Ballon d’Or behind Alexia Putellas.
On top of the tournament glory, Mead also shattered Jimmy Greaves’ record for the most goals in an England season.
She is already the first footballer to win SJA Sportswoman of the Year and looks set to add the Sports Personality of the Year gong to her collection on Wednesday night.
Winner of the award after heroics at Lord’s and Headingley in 2019, Ben Stokes is the closest challenger to Mead in 2022.
Stokes led from the front in 2019, defying the odds in white and red-ball cricket. In 2022, he took England home under immense pressure again in the T20 World Cup final and completely transformed the Test match team as captain.
England had won one of 17 Tests when Stokes took over. Facing New Zealand, India, South Africa and Pakistan, Stokes has skippered England to nine wins from 10 with an exhilarating, never-seen-before brand of Test cricket.
His individual performances are not at the dizzy heights of three years ago, but Stokes has had a transformative impact as captain. What his England side are doing is changing Test cricket.
If the Lionesses hadn’t won the Euros, Stokes would be the heavy favourite here, particularly with recency bias in his favour after their historic series win in Pakistan.
Breaking personal bests and collecting medals, Jake Wightman had a 2022 to remember.
The highlight was a spectacular run to win gold in the 1500-metre final at the World Championships in Oregon.
Wightman also added a silver in the 800 at the European Championships and a bronze at the 1500 at the Commonwealth Games.
On 52 occasions, athletics has provided a top-three finisher in Sports Personality of the Year voting. Having already claimed SJA Sportsman of the Year, Wightman has a decent shot at a podium placing.
Ronnie O’Sullivan has been very critical of this award over the years, and perhaps understandably so after it took until 2020 for his first nomination.
The Rocket is looking to become just the second snooker player to win the award, and first since Steve Davis in 1988. No snooker player has finished in the top three since 1990.
One of the greatest British sportspeople of all-time, O’Sullivan tied Stephen Hendry’s record with a seventh World Championship in 2022, and became the sport’s oldest world champion ever in the process.
At just 18 years old, gymnast Jessica Gadirova is by far the youngest of the nominees. Only once before has a gymnast finished in the top three for Sports Personality of the Year, a feat achieved by Beth Tweddle in 2006.
Gadirova claimed the floor gold on the final day of the World Championships, which was her third medal at the event after a bronze in the all-around competition and silver in the team event. The teenager is just the fifth British gymnast ever to be crowned an individual world champion.
At the fourth and final attempt, Eve Muirhead finally got her hands on an Olympic gold medal. Muirhead skippered the women’s curling team which defeated Japan 10-3 in the final.
Prior to announcing her retirement, the Perth native also won the World Mixed Doubles Championship in Geneva alongside Bobby Lammie.
Curling has never had a top-three finish in Sports Personality of the Year. As these odds indicate, it is a longshot for Muirhead to finish ahead of three of the other nominees.
All odds are subject to change