ne of the most celebrated and prestigious individual annual awards in British sport will be decided on Sunday as the public vote from a star-studded six-person shortlist to determine the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Here, Standard Sport looks at the contenders in the running to succeed last year’s winner Ben Stokes…
A summer that began with the frustration of being dropped ended with Broad reasserted as the leader of England’s attack and talk of retirement rendered premature in the extreme.
A frank Sky Sports interview in the middle of the first match of the West Indies series - the only Test of the summer in which Broad didn’t play, and the only one which England lost - left the onus on the Nottinghamshire quick to deliver when the time arrived and he did so in fine style, taking 29 wickets at 13.41 to inspire series wins over both the Windies and Pakistan.
In the process, the 34-year-old became only the seventh man in the history of Test cricket to pass 500 wickets, and he even remembered how to bat, scoring an entertaining half-century at Old Trafford.
2020 was the year in which Doyle completed her rise from trailblazing female jockey to one of the best riders on the planet, full stop.
As well as shattering her own record for the most winners in a year by a female jockey and becoming the first woman to ride a five-timer in Britain, the 24-year-old also enjoyed landmark breakthroughs at the highest level; a first Royal Ascot winner was followed by a first Group One success on Champions Day at the same course.
A remarkable season ended with wider recognition at home and abroad - Doyle was named the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, while also riding at America’s Breeders Cup meeting for the first time.
The heartbeat of Jurgen Klopp’s side, Henderson became the first Liverpool captain to lift the Premier League trophy as the Reds ended their 30-year wait for an English top-flight title.
Having already skippered a Champions League winning outfit in 2019, Henderson has continued to prove wrong those who doubted his potential in the years after his move to Anfield from Sunderland. Many of them, in fact, voted him their Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Player of the Year.
Off the pitch, he showed himself to be as much a leader as on it as he led Premier League players’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic, helping set up the Players Together initiative to support NHS charities.
It says something about the irregularity of 2020 that Hamilton is the only former winner - and one of only two former nominees - on this list.
While so much has changed, Hamilton has remained at his consistent, at times invincible, best, equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven Formula 1 world titles.
Along the way, the 35-year-old broke the German’s mark for most race wins and used his platform as the grid’s only black driver to lead the sport’s campaign for racial equality in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It now seems a case of neither when, nor if, he will become (statistically at least) the sport’s greatest ever driver outright - presuming his new Mercedes contract is finalised, Hamilton will be a red-hot favourite for title number eight next year.
If he had his way, Fury wouldn’t be on this shortlist. The self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’, who finished fourth in 2015 voting, has declared himself the “people’s champion” and says he has “no need for verification or any awards” but the BBC refused his request to be removed.
For a time earlier in the year, he was a red-hot favourite for the prize, having been one of the few British sports stars to squeeze in a notable achievement before the coronavirus pandemic decimated the calendar.
It was all the way back in February that Fury ended American Deontay Wilder’s unbeaten record with a stunning seventh-round knockout in Las Vegas to become a two-time heavyweight champion of the world.
Whatever the result on Sunday, he looks set to be part of one of the biggest events of next year - a unification bout with Anthony Joshua.
The Rocket won his sixth world title at the Crucible earlier this year, moving within one of Stephen Hendry’s modern era record, but this is a nomination that feels less about O’Sullivan’s achievements in the last 12 months and more a recognition of the past 28 years.
Remarkably, this is the first time that O’Sullivan has been in contention, and though it may be reasonable to suggest he is the biggest beneficiary of the lack of Euros, Olympics, et al, it is equally fair to say it is long overdue.
The bookmakers have him down as third favourite, perhaps recalling the way darts fans weighed in behind Phil Taylor in 2010.
One unofficial prize he must be odds-on for is the interview of the year gong - the 45-year-old claimed the game’s up and coming players were “not that good, really” and were, in fact, “so bad” he’d “have to lose an arm and a leg” to slip outside the world’s top 50.