The BBC announced the shortlist for the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award on Monday 30 November.
The sports desks of various national and regional newspapers are asked to submit their own top ten nominations. The ten most popular names from across all nominations become the shortlist for the national vote.
So the shortlisted nominations come from Athletics (x2), Boxing, Cricket, Cycling, Diving, Football, Formula 1, Gymnastics, and Tennis.
Geographically, the nominees can trace their roots from Dunblane in Scotland (Andy Murray) to Plymouth (Tom Daley).
View BBC SP09 – the shortlist in a larger map
Two of the nominees were actually born in Johannesburg, South Africa – Beth Tweddle and Andrew Strauss. So on the map, Beth’s home town of Bunbury, Cheshire and Andy’s spiritual home of Lords are shown.
Its always fun to speculate about the extent to which voting “blocks” exist in SP09?
Do the different sports automatically get behind their man or woman? If so, are Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu at a disadvantage in 2009 because they will split the athletics vote?
Does geography play any part? Are there enough voters in Wales to give Ryan Giggs the title, or is the vast diaspora of Man United fans the key to his victory?
Last year, Chris Hoy won the prize with 283,630 votes to Lewis Hamilton’s 163,864. He was victorious despite coming from a “minority” sport. What’s more, there were three other cyclists – Nicole Cooke, Bradley Wiggins and Rebecca Romero – in the shortlist. He also had a rival for Scottish votes in Andy Murray.
So, maybe the key to his victory simply reflected the widespread awe for a man who became the first Briton in a century to win three Olympic Golds at a single Games while keeping his feet firmly on the ground – when not attached to his pedals!
As @SporLand I speculated in a tweet whether SP09 might be decided by twitter, given the growth in its influence over the last year? At the time of the tweet, all the nominees except Phillips Idowu, Jessica Ennis and Andrew Strauss were already on twitter – their twitter names can be found on the map above.
That tweet would have been seen by @SkyNewsOlympic who was filming with Jessica Ennis at the time. Since then, @jessicennisftw has started tweeting.
So, have I contributed to the start of a SP09 twitter campaign?
Let battle commence!