LEWIS Hamilton must hate the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Last year, after finishing just one point short of world glory in his debut year, he was the victim of a royal robbery, pushed into second by someone 99 per cent of the voters had never seen compete – horsey toff Zara Phillips.
After winning the title on the final corner – not to mention starting to nail a Pussycat Doll – he could not have had a better 2008. Yet still he was beaten, this time by a genetic freak lovingly known as “that Scot with the big thighs.”
You would have got long odds on ‘The Real McCoy’ Chris Hoy lifting the trophy this time last year but, to be fair, three Olympic gold medals is a fairly decent achievement.
You might say his job is as easy as riding a bike, but he does ride at the same speed you drive.
The Scottish cyclist became the first Brit in 100 years to claim three golds at one Games by winning the individual and team sprints and keirin in Beijing.
He topped the public phone vote and collected the prize ahead of Hamilton, with swimmer Becky Adlington third.
Hoy said: “I really wasn’t expecting this, it’s such a shock. After the year I’ve had this is unbelievable. It’s the big one.”
Hoy’s triumph capped a great night for Britain’s cyclists whose eight Beijing golds secured team of the year, while David Brailsford was the best coach.
Now can anyone remember the names of any other member of the cycling team? Was one of them called John something?
• WBC turned into WWE when David Haye and Vitali Klitschko were involved in a furious wrestling match at a packed restaurant after it was announced Haye would fight the man nicknamed Dr Ironfist for the WBC world heavyweight title in London next June.
The Haye-maker made 6′ 8″ Vitali snap by taunting him about baby brother Wladimir.
The lairy Londoner tossed a mocked-up magazine picture showing a decapitated Wladimir on to the table in front of other diners.
Klitschko’s manager Berndt Boente said: “Vitali was very, very angry. He grabbed David and they then wrestled for a few seconds.
“He also gave David a push. He fell back and tried to make a joke of it by doing some kind of dance – only then did it calm down.”
Ukrainian Vitali whined: “He crossed the line. It’s more than tasteless and he’ll be punished for it. I will do that without emotion in the ring.”
Haye’s manager Adam Booth said: “David and Vitali came to the restaurant to shake hands. David had a copy of the magazine with him dressed up as one of the characters from the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ film holding Wladimir’s head. When Vitali saw it he just lost the plot.”
The former cruiserweight king hopes to stage the fight at Wembley or Stamford Bridge and will team up with ex-undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis ahead of the contest.
Haye said: “It was always going to be (IBF and WBO champion) Wladimir. But Vitali was ringside for my victory over Monte Barrett and I think he saw something in me that he doesn’t want his brother getting involved in. I’m someone who wants to go out there throwing bombs and my bombs on Wladimir’s chin would equal a knockout. Vitali knows he has got a better chin. He’s a lot sturdier and stronger, so I think he made a family decision to put himself in the firing line.”
Judging by our pic it seems Wlad is used to being in the firing line.
• IT WAS a good weekend for South African golfers as Richard Sterne and Tim Clark both tasted success. Sterne claimed the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and Clark the Australian Open at Royal Sydney, beating Mathew Goggin in a sudden-death play-off.
But although he hasn’t swung a club for six months, Tiger Woods stole this week’s golfing headlines for his refusal to sack obnoxious caddy Steve Williams – New Zealand’s richest ‘sportsman’ – despite him saying: “I wouldn’t call Phil Mickelson a great player, cause I hate the prick.” Woods called this “inappropriate.”
Surely Russell Brand was sacked for far less.
HE may have looked like Quasimodo and ran like he had just been bitten by a snake, but Peter Beardsley didn’t need ego-driven TV interviews or glamorous aftershave adverts, he was just a ruddy good player.
When you think of modern Tyneside legends you think Alan Shearer. But, bizarrely, standing in his shadow is a man who was a much better footballer, won much more silverware, played almost as many games for his hometown club and country, set up hundreds of goals and whose 2.5 games-per-goal ratio for Newcastle compares very favourably to Shearer’s 2.04.
He wasn’t a show pony, but a creative genius who opened up defences with cunning and dainty dribbling. This isn’t to say he wasn’t a tough bugger. To play 763 games over 20 years shows he was as hard as nails.
He played four fine seasons with Newcastle at both the start and end of his career. It was just before the record £1.9m transfer that took him to Liverpool that he won the first of 59 England caps and was arguably England’s brightest spark at Mexico 86 and Italia 90, linking up magically with Gary Lineker.
At Liverpool he starred in one of the best English league sides ever and picked up an FA Cup and two titles. They never won the league after he left for Everton and a thrilling St James’ swansong under Kevin Keegan.
Unusually for a Geordie he was a non-drinker, but we won’t hold that against him. True legend.