Andy Murray is set to start as one of the shortest price favourites in history when the 10-strong shortlist for the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year is announced on Tuesday.
This year’s Wimbledon champion is a virtual certainty to claim the award, having finished in third place last year behind winner Sir Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis.
The shortlist will be selected by a panel of experts with viewers voting for their winner on the night of the show, which will take place on December 15 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
Other likely contenders include jockey Tony McCoy, the 2010 winner, who rode his 4,000th career winner this month, and Mo Farah, who won double athletics gold at the World Championships in Moscow.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome and US Open champion Justin Rose are expected to make the cut, while Gareth Bale’s dazzling performances for Tottenham - not to mention his world record transfer to Real Madrid - make him football’s leading contender.
James Anderson’s 22-wicket haul in the first 2013 Ashes series could win him the cricket vote, and Ronnie O’Sullivan may earn a place on the list after his snooker comeback culminated in his fifth world title in May.
The BBC will be particularly keen to avoid the controversy which surrounded 2011’s all-male shortlist, with Christine Ohuruogu likely to be included after winning the 400 metres world title in Moscow.
At least one of cycling world champions Becky James and Laura Trott could find themselves on the list, as could Non Stanford, who was crowned world triathlon champion in London.
There could also be a challenge from the nation’s winter sports contingent, with Eve Muirhead leading Scotland to the world curling title and Shelley Rudman claiming the skeleton crown.
If successful, Murray will be the fourth tennis player to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, and the first since Greg Rusedski beat Tim Henman to the title in 1997.
The shortlist of contenders will be officially unveiled during the One Show on BBC1 from 7pm on Tuesday.
JAMES ANDERSON: Starred in England’s summer Ashes win, taking 22 wickets including a 10-wicket haul in the first Test at Trent Bridge, as well as becoming his nation’s all-time leading ODI wicket-taker.
GARETH BALE: Was barely out of the news in a year which saw him sweep the board of Footballer of the Year awards for his dazzling displays for Tottenham, before his world record £85million move to Real Madrid.
MO FARAH: Farah continued where he left off in 2012 by winning both 5,000m and 10,000m world titles in Moscow, as well as breaking Steve Cram’s 28-year-old British 1,500m record in Monaco in July.
CHRIS FROOME: May lack the broader public profile afforded his Great Britain team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins but proved equally adept on two wheels by succeeding Wiggins as winner of the Tour de France.
BECKY JAMES: Having missed out on a place at the London 2012 Olympics, the then 20-year-old James came of age at the World Championships in Minsk by claiming double gold in the sprint and keirin.
TONY McCOY: The 2010 winner enjoyed another dominant year in the saddle, culminating in sealing his 4,000th career winner when his mount Mountain Tunes won at Towcester in early November.
ANDY MURRAY: Ended Great Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s Wimbledon title when he beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Centre Court, having also previously lost in the Australian Open final to Djokovic.
CHRISTINE OHURUOGU: Ohuruogu bounced back from the disappointment of her silver medal in London by winning her second 400m world title in Moscow, pipping Amantle Montsho by the narrowest of margins.
RONNIE O’SULLIVAN: Having sat out the majority of the season, the irrepressible O’Sullivan returned to the Crucible and won his fifth world snooker title with an 18-12 victory over Barry Hawkins.
JUSTIN ROSE: Finally made good on his early career promise by winning the US Open at Merion, overhauling Phil Mickelson to become the first British winner of the event in 43 years.