Like London 2012, Rio 2016 took a little while to get going for Team GB but once it did it the medals flowed. Great Britain and Northern Ireland became the first host to win more medals at the next Games. To finish second in the medal table to USA was a sensational achievement and they are getting all the plaudits.
It was absorbing sport. The middle weekend was particularly exhilarating with Mo Farah winning gold on the Saturday night in the 10,000m, followed by a Super Sunday where GB had its best day for golds in history. Max Whitlock became the first Brit to win a gold in gymnastics and doubled up a couple of hours later. Justin Rose, Jason Kenny and Andy Murray also collected. Leaving the sofa wasn’t an option.
Tuesday in the velodrome was another highlight with Kenny and Laura Trott, Britain’s golden couple, both winning gold. Kenny joined Chris Hoy with a record six in total and Trott won two, to go clear with four as the most by any GB woman. This was the BBC’s most watched session of the fortnight with over 11 million viewers.
The gold rush continued, culminating in Mo’s 5,000m win – giving him the double-double. He’s Britain’s most successful track athlete and arguably its greatest ever sportsperson, given that running must be the most competitive sport of all.
Hats off to James Ross (@DrRoss76) who came up with some great stats on knighthoods and previous SPOTY winners in the comments here. He was quick to call the potential for Sir Mo and his chances in this year’s SPOTY.
Mo certainly looks a danger to the spotybet selections at the moment. There continues to be doubt about his popularity to the wider voting demographic on SPOTY night, having disappointed backers on numerous occasions, not least when off the podium in 2012 after his first double. But his achievements this time are rightly being lauded and there seems a determination amongst his fans for some SPOTY recognition this time round.
Mo himself has even acknowledged the situation. Although how much he really cares it’s hard to be sure as he forgot he was actually on the podium in 2011 (how could he?).
I knew Adam Peaty was a bad pick just hours after posting it but fortunately we have Murray (at 10/1 ew, 7/2 e/w and 2/1), Trott (16/1 ew) and Whitlock (66/1 ew) high up in the running, as well as Gareth Bale. Murray is trading at around 2.8, Trott 7.6 and Whitlock 25 at the moment to win on Betfair, and all in with good chances of placing. They have provided solid trading material at least, having traded at 1.8, 6.0, 6.4 respectively along the way.
After doubting Mo, I’m a little worried about him now upsetting the apple cart. It will be interesting to see what happens to his price in the coming months. There aren’t now many more big sporting events to come that could shake things up. There are of course the Paralympics. Plus Hamilton could win a third F1 title and Murray has the US Open and potentially the Davis Cup to come. We also have a few world cup qualifiers and the Kenny and Trott wedding.
I get the feeling Murray may have to win one of the two to stay as favourite as I’m not sure how ending the season on a bit of a disappointment, coupled with having won it last year (as well as 2013) will appeal to the voters on the night.
The media seems in a bit of a SPOTY frenzy at the moment in what is a vintage year – one that hopefully translates into plenty of liquidity on the various Betfair markets as we move towards and beyond the shortlist announcement at the end of November.
My certainties to make the list at the moment are: Murray, Farah, Trott, Kenny, Whitlock, Peaty
Probables: Adams, Froome, Hamilton, Skelton, Joshua, Willett, Bale
Potentials: one or two Paralympians, Frampton, A Brownlee, Dujardin, a wild card
Please feel free to share your thoughts below.