Rory McIlroy leads BBC Sports Personality pack

Rory McIlroy celebrates with Jamie Donaldson during this year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Rory McIlroy celebrates with Jamie Donaldson during this year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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RORY McIlroy is a strong favourite to round off the most successful spell of his career with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after being confirmed among the 10 shortlisted contenders on Monday.

McIlroy, who won the final two majors of the year as well as helping Europe retain the Ryder Cup, will bid to become the first golfer to win the prestigious award since Nick Faldo in 1989.

Lewis Hamilton. Picture: PA

Lewis Hamilton. Picture: PA

But McIlroy could face a stern challenge from Lewis Hamilton, who claimed his second Formula One world title in Abu Dhabi at the weekend and finished second in the voting in both 2007 and 2008.

The winner of the award will be announced at the culmination of the live show on December 14 at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow, following a public vote.

But Scottish fans will have no local favourite to support after last year’s winner Andy Murray was left off the final contenders following a year in which he failed to add to his two career grand slam titles.

Gareth Bale is the only footballer to make the cut after an impressive first season with Real Madrid, while boxer Carl Froch also earns a place after his conclusive Wembley rematch win over George Groves.

Olympic and World Cup skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold is joined by skiers Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans, who were crowned Great Britain’s first Winter Paralympic champions when they won the women’s visually-impaired Super G in Sochi in March.

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Charlotte Dujardin, who picked up two dressage world titles this year, and Jo Pavey, whose 10,000m gold in Zurich made her the oldest female European champion in history at the age of 40 and 325 days, take the total list of female contenders to four.

The list is completed by gymnast Max Whitlock, who won world, European and Commonwealth medals in 2014, and swimmer Adam Peaty, who won four European titles and two Commonwealth Games golds.

The shortlist was decided by a panel of former nominees, newspaper sports editors and television sport executives.

SPOTY 2014 CONTENDERS

Rory McIlroy is odds-on favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after being confirmed on the 10-strong shortlist.

The contenders come from 10 different sports and include Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champions.

The winner will be announced at the culmination of a live show staged at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow on December 14.

RORY McILROY (2/9) - McIlroy swept all before him in 2014, winning back-to-back majors at the Open and the US PGA and helping Great Britain retain the Ryder Cup. In addition, the Northern Ireland star won a world golf title and the BMW PGA title at Wentworth to cement his place as world number one.

LEWIS HAMILTON (3/1) - A two time runner-up in the Sports Personality voting, Hamilton got the better of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to win his second Formula One title in dramatic fashion in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, as he looks to become the first motor racing winner since Damon Hill.

GARETH BALE (20/1) - Bale capped a superb first season at Real Madrid by scoring the second goal in extra time to help see off city rivals Atletico in the UEFA Champions League final in May. He finished his debut season with 22 goals and has maintained his form into his second campaign.

JO PAVEY (30/1) - The indefatigable Pavey rose to the occasion in Zurich where she won the women’s 10,000metres to become the oldest female European champion in history at 40 years and 325 days - a statistic made more remarkable by the fact it came just 10 months after giving birth to her second child.

CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN (50/1) - Unsatisfied with her double Olympic gold in 2012, Dujardin continued to conquer all before her on the dressage circuit as she scooped two gold medals and a silver at the European Dressage Championships in Herning, Denmark.

LIZZY YARNOLD (80/1) - Yarnold proved untouchable on the world skeleton circuit, finishing top of the rankings in the World Cup season before soaring to gold at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February, where she beat her nearest rivals by almost a second over the four runs.

CARL FROCH (100/1) - Froch starred in front of the biggest British boxing crowd since the War at Wembley Stadium in May. More than 80,000 fans watched him clatter George Groves to an eighth round defeat to retain his world super-middleweight title in emphatic fashion.

KELLY GALLAGHER & CHARLOTTE EVANS (GUIDE) (100/1) - Northern Ireland skier Gallagher was crowned Great Britain’s first Winter Paralympic champion in Sochi in February after teaming up with Evans to take gold in the women’s visually impaired Super G.

ADAM PEATY (100/1) - Peaty enjoyed a golden year in the pool where he won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before moving on to sweep the board at the European Championships in Berlin with four breaststroke and medley titles.

MAX WHITLOCK (100/1) - Whitlock’s busy year began with three golds each at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games before moving on to the World Championships where he defied injury to take a brilliant silver medal in the men’s all-around competition.

(odds: William Hill)

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