It's that time of year again.
The BBC sports personality of the year will be announced on Sunday and the shortlist, expanded from the usual 10 athletes to 12, is dominated by gold medallists from the Olympics and Paralympics. It would be easier to pick a favourite film than it would be to select a winner from this list.
It is no surprise that the heroes from London 2012 have an almost complete monopoly of nominations. So harsh was the selection process that luminaries such as Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott do not make the cut and non-Olympic stars of 2012 such as Ian Poulter, don't get a look-in. There is a refreshing absence of footballers, cricketers and Formula One drivers which perhaps illustrates the impact that the Games had on the nation.
Loading article content
For sheer sporting achievement, Bradley Wiggins stands out. He became the first Brit to win the Tour de France in July and then followed it up 10 days later by taking gold in the Olympic time trial. He is the bookies favourite to come out on top on Sunday.
Andy Murray is another notable contender. He demolished Roger Federer to win the Olympic gold medal, added a silver medal later that day in the mixed doubles, and became the first Brit to win a Grand Slam for 76 years when he took the US Open title a month later. Murray is unlikely to win SPOTY however, because he is still not universally popular south of the border. This is due, in part, to his failure to be born and bred in the south of England and the fact that he is not Tim Henman reincarnate.
Mo Farah's gold medal double-winning both the 5000m and the 10,000m in London makes him, arguably, Britain's greatest distance runner and gives him a good shot of topping the public vote on Sunday.
The predicament that the BBC found themselves in last year when the list was devoid of any female representation has been rectified, with five women making an appearance.
Jessica Ennis carried the hopes of the nation in London, a journey which climaxed superbly in a gold medal when she dominated the heptathlon from the very first event.
The country took Nicola Adams to their hearts when she won the first Olympic gold medal in women's boxing; Ellie Simmonds and Sarah Storey were heroines of the Paralympic Games; and Scotland's Katherine Grainger finally became an Olympic champion at Eton Dorney. Her win was the ultimate story of perseverance, coming as it did on the back of silver medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
Rory McIlory, the one non-Olympian who has made the shortlist, will have to settle for being world No.1 and adding another major title to his list of achievements this year: he hasn't a hope of triumphing over this summer's Olympians on Sunday.
Completing the list are Chris Hoy, who became Britain's most successful Olympian ever when he won his fifth and sixth gold medals in London, sailor Ben Ainslie who won his fourth consecutive Olympic gold and David Weir, who claimed four Paralympic gold medals.
My vote will be for Wiggins. Not only did he make history in 2012- winning the yellow jersey is perhaps the toughest of all endurance tests in sport, but he also has that one asset which has been sorely absent in some previous winners of SPOTY: namely a personality.
His victory in the Tour may not have been flashy but his post-race interviews were a revelation. He was continually questioned on the issue of doping in his sport, and was prompted to pen an article in The Guardian defending his position as a clean rider and his annoyance at the constant accusations. Such an eloquent reply has never before been witnessed, particularly in the midst of the Tour itself. Wiggins is, at times, accused of neglecting his duty as a role model– he is not adverse to the occasional swear word– but his refusal to be an automaton is refreshing.
I'll be at the ceremony in London on Sunday as part of Team GB, and for all the accusations levelled at the BBC about their annual awards show being parochial and smug, there is no arguing that this year's show will be a delightful tribute to an extraordinary year of British sport.