Meet the real sporting giants of a great year
The BBC will tonight name the Sports Personality of the Year after a keen contest. The Independent on Sunday awards its alternatives
Unluckiest Sports Journalist of the Year Award
Japanese journalist Daisuke Nakajima travelled 6,000 miles from Tokyo to report on an Irn-Bru Third Division match between Rangers FC and Elgin City. However, it wasn't until he had undertaken a 14-hour flight, an overnight stop in Edinburgh, and a five-hour train journey, and was approaching the football ground, that he opened a local newspaper and found the match had been called off due to an error with ticketing.
Sex-Change Sports Personality of the Year Award
Gabrielle Ludwig, 50, a transgender basketball player, recently made her debut on the court for Mission College, Santa Clara in California. The Desert Storm veteran completed her transition from man to woman in July this year. She is now realising a lifelong dream and, at 6ft 6in tall, rising above the heckles and catcalls from the bleachers.
Football Fan After-Care Service of the Year Award
Diehard fans of German football team FC Schalke 04 can now be buried at the club's brand new cemetery, known as the Schalke Fan Field. The club also has a birthing room, and can host christenings and weddings – all part of its cradle-to-grave service.
The 'Eat Your Heart Out, Bradley Wiggins' Award
In September, 100-year-old Frenchman Robert Marchand became the fastest centenarian on two wheels when he broke the world record for cycling more than 100km for his age group. Competition is admittedly limited, but Marchand managed to complete 300 laps in Lyon, France, in a time of 4hrs 17mins 27secs. Doctors are somewhat baffled about where the 5ft Frenchman gets his energy from.
The Most Sporting Gesture of the Year Award
Jared Stevens, 13, is a wrestling-lover with cerebral palsy, and practises every day with his school wrestling team in Tennessee, despite the fact that he has the strength of a six-month-old, and cannot stand without help. Stevens's coach wanted him to experience a real wrestling match and arranged for him to go in the ring with Justin Kievit, a wrestler from a nearby school. Kievit got on the floor with Stevens, took his opponent's arm, pulled it over himself and let Stevens "pin" him. It made Stevens's year.
Best Performance by a Man Burdened with His Wife
Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen won the North American Wife Carrying Championships for the fourth consecutive year. After the event, in Maine, they received the wife's weight in beer, and five times her weight in cash. The couple shared their beer winnings with the second- and third-place finishers.
Lifetime Achievement in Football Award
This year, Derek May scored his 1,300th career goal – aged 74. The grandfather-of-five started playing football in 1954 and plays three matches a week for Meridian FC, in Kent. He has no plans to retire, saying: "I will pack it up, when it packs me up."
Unfortunate WAG of the Year Award
Some WAGs get an unlimited credit card to flex; others only have to lift a manicured finger to get what they want. The girlfriend of Dutch footballer Leroy Fer, above, is less lucky. He wanted to surprise her with a special gift and so he spent £22,000 on a stallion named Django – a great idea were it not for the fact that she lives in an apartment block.
The Human Quadruped Award
This year, Japanese athlete Kenichi Ito, broke the world record for the fastest 100m run on all-fours. His time was 17.47 seconds. A self-proclaimed monkey-aficionado, Ito is nicknamed "Monkey Man", and seeks to imitate West African patas monkeys in his running style. It has taken him nine years to perfect the technique.
Tennis Tantrum of the Year Award
David Nalbandian lost his temper during this summer's Queen's Club final against Marin Cilic. The Argentinian player kicked an advertising board into a line umpire's shin, drawing blood, triggering a police investigation for assault and earning himself the maximum fine of £8,000, in addition to being stripped of his £36,500 prize money.
Best Runner Without Shorts Award
Petur Geir Gretarsson, a 22-year-old from Iceland, won Roskilde Music Festival's annual Naked Race in Denmark, breaking the three-year winning streak, as it were, of Dane Hans Kristian Andersen. The race has been held every year at the festival since 1998, the rules stipulate runners may wear shoes, but nothing else.
Sporting Gastropod of the Year Award
The winner of 2012's World Snail Racing Championships in Congham, Norfolk, was a snail named Racer. It completed the 13in course in 3mins 20secs. John McCririck, the horse-racing pundit, has said of the sport: "It's much easier to commentate on because it's slower than horse racing".
The Most Costly Pratfall Award
When Alabama's American football team Crimson Tide beat the Louisiana State University Tigers in a championship game, their trophy was a replica American football made of Waterford crystal. The father of a Crimson Tide player subsequently stumbled on a rug and knocked it off the display, smashing the £19,000 trophy to pieces.
Generosity to Opponents in Football Award
In the biggest defeat in British organised football history, amateur football club Nova 2010 FC lost 58-0 to local rivals Wheel Power in the Torbay Sunday League in Devon. A lot of the players didn't turn up to the match, explained a spokesman for Nova 2010, adding: "We expected to lose but not by that much."
The Really Mucking it Up When it Counts Award
In their most vital football game for 15 years, Canada just needed to draw with Honduras back in October to advance to the final qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. They lost 8-1, their biggest defeat since losing 8-0 to Mexico in 1993.
The Not-As-Smart-a Move-As-it-First-Seemed Award
It must have seemed a bright strategy when eight female badminton players – four from South Korea and two each from Indonesia and China – deliberately lost Olympic tournament matches to secure an easier route to the medals round. Less so, however, when they were all disqualified.
The George Osborne Can't Count Award
Organisers were left embarrassed – and competitors upset – after a scoring blunder in the Paralympic athletics meant the wrong medals were awarded in the women's discus. Ukraine's Mariia Pomazan, who had described receiving her gold medal on top of the podium as an "unforgettable experience", was relegated to silver, as part of a results reshuffle.
The Making-the-Best-of-a- Bad-Job Award
Some years ago, Carbrook Golf Club in Brisbane, Australia, was flooded by water from a nearby river. When the waters drained away, players noticed that the lake near the 14th green now held a number of 8ft-long bull sharks. The club now holds a monthly "Sharklake Challenge" tournament to mark what is now truly a water hazard.
The "I've Got Tourette's, Honest, Ref" Award
In Hertfordshire, 14-year-old Owen Thompson – who suffers from Tourette's syndrome – received a fine and suspension for swearing at a referee during a match. The Ware Youth goalkeeper told the ref to "fuck off" after a controversial goal was awarded against his team. His mother showed officials a medical card proving that her son had the condition, but he still received a two-match ban and a £25 fine.
The Topless Mascot of the Year Award
In November, Oregon Ducks mascot, Puddles, performed a skydiving stunt for ESPN's College Gameday. All went well until, as he jumped from the plane in full costume, he lost his furry head. It was later found embedded in a farmer's field.
The Way Below The Belt Sporting Achievement Award
Alan "Nasty" Nash won the World Toe Wrestling Championships in Derbyshire this year, beating the reigning world champion Paul Beech, who changed his name from Toeminator to the Predatoe. Toe wrestling began in 1976 when regulars at Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn, in Wetton, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, decided to develop a sport in which the British might actually win.
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