It’s become one of the most prestigious events in the UK sporting calendar.
But since it was first awarded in 1954, only five Scottish athletes have lifted the distinctive silver camera trophy in recognition of their endeavours over the past 12 months, while a further six have made it as far as the final three.
IAN BLACK (1958)
The Aberdonian swimmer was named Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) aged just 17 and remains the youngest athlete to win. It capped a remarkable 1958 for Black, who won three gold medals at the European Championships in Budapest in the 400 metres and 1,500m freestyle and the 200m butterfly - a combination of titles that has never been repeated. He also excelled at that year’s televised Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, winning a gold and two silvers for Scotland. “You could say that in my life I had a golden patch, a golden spell or era, and it lasted about six months. And that was from June 1958 to December 1958 – everything was packed into that little period,” Black told The Scotsman. Black, who admitted he didn’t think he had a chance of winning, finished first ahead of Bobby Charlton and Formula One star Stirling Moss. He retired from swimming aged 19 to concentrate on his education, later becoming headmaster of the junior school at Robert Gordon’s College.
JACKIE STEWART (1973)
Milton-born Stewart won three Formula One world drivers’ championships between 1965 and 1973, and was known in the press as the Flying Scot. His 1973 SPOTY win followed his third title triumph in what was his final season in F1. Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver (27) for 14 years.
LIZ McCOLGAN (1991)
The long distance runner from Dundee became the first Scot to lift the silver camera trophy in 18 years when she finished first in the public poll. McColgan had enjoyed a stellar 12 months, winning gold in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Tokyo as well as triumphing in the New York Marathon. Her 10,000m best of 30:57.07, set that year, made her only the third woman in history to run the distance in under 31 minutes.
CHRIS HOY (2008)
It’s fair to say 2008 was a good year for Hoy. The Edinburgh cyclist became the first British athlete since swimmer Henry Taylor a century before to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Games. Hoy won two further gold medals at the London Olympics and is the most successful British Olympian of all time in terms of gold medals. He was knighted in 2009.
ANDY MURRAY (2013, 2015)
Dunblane’s favourite son was among the favourites for the 2012 SPOTY title, but faced some stiff competition in fellow Olympic gold medallists Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins. In the end, Wiggins’ Tour de France triumph was enough for him to edge into first. Murray didn’t have to wait long, however, winning the trophy the following year, months after his historic victory at Wimbledon.
The Dunblane won the title again in 2015 after inspiring Great Britain’s tennis team to a first Davis Cup victory for 79 years.
And those that were nominated, but didn’t reach the top spot...
COLIN McRAE (1995)
The late rally driver from Lanark finished third in 1995, behind record-breaking triple jumper Jonathan Edwards and heavyweight boxer Frank Bruno. McRae’s outstanding performances with Subaru earned the team three consecutive World Rally Championship Constructors’ titles from 1995-1997.
STEPHEN HENDRY (1990)
Hendry won the first of his seven world snooker titles in 1990 at the age of 21, and would go on to dominate the sport for the rest of the decade. The former Inverkeithing High School pupil made 775 competitive century breaks and won a total of 36 ranking titles before his retiral in 2012. Hendry was runner-up in the 1990 SPOTY, behind Paul Gascoigne. Gazza had that year endeared himself to millions of football fans by breaking down in tears during the World Cup semi-final between England and West Germany.
SANDY LYLE (1988)
Lyle became the first British golfer to win the Open in 16 years when he triumphed at Royal St George’s in 1985. He followed that success by winning the 1988 Masters, becoming the first Briton to wear the famous green jacket. Lyle finished third at that year’s SPOTY behind snooker player Steve Davis and swimmer Adrian Moorhouse.
DAVID WILKIE (1975, 1976)
Despite being the only swimmer ever to hold British, American, Commonwealth, European, world and Olympic swimming titles at the same time, Wilkie never won the SPOTY title. At the height of his fame, he finished third in 1975 and again in 1976.
JIM CLARK (1965)
The legendary Formula One racing driver from Berwickshire was runner-up in 1965, losing out to cyclist Tom Simpson. Tragically, the pair would both be killed persuing the sports they loved within three years of the event. Simpson collapsed and died during the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France, during the ascent of Mont Ventoux. Clark was killed in a Formula Two crash in Hockenheim, Germany in 1968. At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) than any other driver.
BOBBY McGREGOR (1963)
Known as the Falkirk Flyer, McGregor was a specialist in the 100m freestyle. He won a silver medal at the 1962 European Championships in the 4x100m relay, and was second in the 100m freestyle at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. It is said British Olympic selectors were stunned to learn McGregor regularly trained in a modest 25m pool in his hometown of Falkirk, given his speed.