SHE’S not someone that is used to coming second - particularly in this golden Olympic year.
But if the bookies are to be believed then Jessica Ennis is destined for a third, third place finish at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
The result will be announced on Sunday night at the ExCeL Centre in London.
Sheffield’s Ennis, aged 26, stormed to heptathlon gold at the London Olympic Games in August but she’ll have to beat hot-favourite Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France and Olympic time-trial winner, and Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 metre winner Mo Farah to pick up the prestigious title.
According to Ladbrokes in the last week Ennis has been backed in from 8/1 to being the joint second favourite with Farah at 13/2, and the market move has also enabled her to be quoted at odds-on (2/5) to finish in the top three.
The gamble has left Atennis star Andy Murray to drift out in the betting to 16/1 being as short as 5/2 after winning the US Open back in September.
Last year’s winner was cyclist Mark Cavendish. He is expected to be replaced by Wiggins when the votes are counted.
n Shortlist: Nicola Adams (boxing), Ben Ainslie (sailing), Jessica Ennis (athletics), Mo Farah (athletics), Katherine Grainger (rowing), Sir Chris Hoy (cycling), Rory McIlroy (golf), Andy Murray (tennis), Ellie Simmonds (swimming), Sarah Storey (cycling), David Weir (athletics), Bradley Wiggins (cycling).
Why she should win...
1. Jess produced a total performance in the showpiece Olympic sport of athletics.
2. As the ‘face’ of the Olympic Games, she was expected to win gold. If she hadn’t finished first there would have been an air of disappointment. She delivered as a champion should.
3. Her overall performance was world class. From the quickest ever heptathlon 100 metre hurdles to the way she stormed down the home straight in the 800m to overtake rival Tatyana Chernova.
4. Being the nation’s sweetheart will help. Everyone knows Jess.
5. The night itself. Wait until the BBC montages. The votes will flood in like her tears on the podium.
Why she won’t win...
1. She isn’t Bradley Wiggins. The cyclist did something that no Brit had ever done when winning the Tour de France.
2. The ‘cycling community’. Some sports have more vociferous voices than others and cycling is one that marshals its followers to vote very well.
3. One gold rather than two golds. Mo Farah has one more medal to polish than Jess so may win more votes for being more successful by weight of precious metal.
4. The athletics vote splits itself in two. True cycling has three contenders in Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Sarah Storey but only Wiggins is a serious contender.
5. Everyone assumes Wiggins will win and doesn’t vote.