Adlington the new favourite to receive BBC honour

Rebecca Adlington is the new favourite to become the BBC Sports Personality of the Year after a flood of money continued to pour in at bookmakers across the country yesterday. The 19-year-old Olympic swimmer, who won two gold medals in Beijing, is now the odds-on favourite, at around 5-6, having displaced the long-time front-runner, Lewis Hamilton, now the second favourite at around 7-4.

Only one other contender on a shortlist of 10 – the cyclist Chris Hoy – has any chance at all of shocking that pair, according to the betting. Hoy is 5-1, with the next closest contender, Joe Calzaghe, at 33-1. The decision will be made solely by a public phone vote during the live broadcast on Sunday between 7pm and 9pm.

Most high-street bookmakers, including William Hill, have seen a surge of bets of up to £500 a time on Adlington. "It seems the public feel that Olympic achievement outdoes a contest held annually," said a spokesman for William Hill, Graham Sharpe. "Or maybe Lewis's lustre has come off because he is seen as a tax-dodger. I've been studying this event for 30 years and it still baffles me. I would also warn Rebecca that she, and not Lewis, will now need to avoid the recent curse of the favourites. Lewis last year and Darren Clarke in 2006 were both hot favourites on the morning of the show but got beaten."

After weekend money sent Adlington's odds crashing, she became the clear favourite overnight on Sunday into yesterday on the betting exchanges. A Betfair spokesman, Tony Calvin, said: "There has been an extraordinary gamble on Adlington in the past few days and she is now the odds-on favourite." One Betfair customer placed a £2 wager on Adlington before she won her medals, at 999-1.

The Sports Personality Award contenders

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence