Issue 94 - December 1996
BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 1996
Steve Redgrave lost his first race since 1992 when he was beaten into second place for the BBC Sports Personality of 1997. But he and his coxless pairs partner Matthew Pinsent won the team award, presented by Dr Ann Redgrave, Britain's rowing team doctor and wife of the four-times Olympic champion on Grandstand's review of the year on December 15.
Thus Britain's most successful athlete of all time failed to capture the popular vote. Despite the efforts of Regatta magazine and the rowing community to roll out the Redgrave vote - the team award is made by the BBC, not the people - the electorate preferred Damon, the son of the stroke of London Rowing Club's 1953 Grand eight, a contract driver for an engine manufacturer who won this award two years ago for coming second. The late Graham Hill said that rowing is very good for your competitive mental outlook and "I think that I learnt a lot while I was rowing which has helped me in my motor racing career".
Regatta would like to thank all rowers and supporters who made the effort to record votes for Steve. Getting a rower into second place in a popular vote is an achievement in itself. But the result is a damning indictment on those who voted for other candidates, particularly for professional drivers of noise pollutants which have no place in sport.
The overseas sports personality award was won jointly by the boxer Evander Holyfield and the sprinter Michael Johnson.
The review of the year itself gets nil points from Regatta. It maintained its
record of tedious banality and still managed to run ten minutes over its
allotted time. As seems the custom, very little time was allotted to Britain's
most successful amateur sport.
© Copyright Christopher Dodd, 1996.
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