In Depth

Andy Murray wins SPOTY with twice as many votes as Brownlee

Scot wins a record third award after an amazing 2016 that saw him win Wimbledon, Olympic gold and become world number one

Andy Murray was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for an unprecedented third time on Sunday night after a year during which the Scot won Wimbledon, claimed Olympic gold and finished the season as the world number one after 24 consecutive wins.

The 29-year-old trounced the opposition in the annual poll, becoming the first person to retain the title. Murray earned twice as many votes as second-placed Alistair Brownlee, polling 247,419 votes to Brownlee's 121,665. 

Showjumper Nick Skelton was third with 109,197 votes and Mo Farah was a distant fourth, earning 54,476 votes.

"After a year defined by seismic outcomes of public votes, Andy Murray restored a little order as he deservedly became the first three-time winner of BBC Sports Personality of the Year," says Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph.

But he notes that Murray, after being handed the prize by a swimming pool in Miami, still "offered a characteristic line in self-deprecation".

"I have got a bone to pick with my wife, Kim, who told me that she voted for Nick Skelton. It’s not smart of her, with Christmas coming up," said the Scot, who is often accused of being dour. He also thanked his family and support team as well as the voting public and paid tribute to the other nominees. 

"Murray has enjoyed such a phenomenal year that his second SPOTY trophy in successive years was almost unavoidable," says Alyson Rudd of The Times. "Indeed, the script of the Scot’s 2016 was a perfect blend of elite performance, triumph and emotion. Murray is not an automaton.

"When he wins on the big stage, he usually weeps as well and we adore him for his humility. When you add to the Murray mix that Kim, his wife, gave birth to their first child in 2016, the outcome was close to inevitable."

His domination of tennis this year has been "ruthless" says Martha Kelner of the Daily Mail, "but this was perhaps his most convincing and predictable victory of all".

"The other 15 nominees — even runners-up Brownlee and Skelton — never stood a chance against a man whose last defeat was in the US Open in September. He has won five titles since then," she adds.

It has taken a while but the Scot, who was once accused of being anti-English on an account of a joke he made during the 2006 World Cup, has finally "proved Little Englanders and other snipers wrong with his eloquent tennis racket", says Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian.

"Instead, the question that is now being asked – and answered in the affirmative – across nearly every media platform is an uplifting one: is Andy Murray this country’s greatest-ever athlete?"

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