VOX POP: As BBC search for Sports Personality of the Century, who wins your vote?
Sunday 14 November 1999
As far as I'm concerned, Bobby Moore represented the very best in English sport. If you remember, 1966 was the World Cup year when the tournament was played in [England]. It was such a special event and everybody was riveted by the occasion. We were all there chewing at our finger nails during the final against West Germany. The score was 1-1 and the extra- time arrived and everything suddenly happened. We went on to win 4-2, inspired by a great player and captain; the great Bobby Moore.
In my personal opinion, someone like Steffi Graf really epitomises what a true sportswoman should be in the modern day. Nothing was provided for her, nothing was particularly straightforward. It was her hard work that enabled her completely and emphatically to revolutionise the way people viewed and judged female tennis. Steffi managed to do this through her exceptional natural talent as well as her truly incredible athleticism. She is an inspiration for female athletes all around the world.
Muhammad Ali is unrivalled in my opinion. He gave up the best years of his fighting life and yet he still managed to win the World Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions. Not only was he a great sportsman and athlete, he also did more than anybody else to fight against racism. I don't think that the people who watched the way he fought and spoke, could possibly look at that man and honestly think that they were somehow superior to anybody with black skin.
One who immediately springs to mind is the legendary 1930s American athlete Jesse Owens. He went out in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and managed to win four gold medals. Other candidates for the award must also include Michael Jordan. During his time with the Chicago Bulls, he took basketball to a completely different level. Boris Becker has always been a favourite of mine. When I was a kid, I was given a rucksack for my birthday with a Becker sticker and I've followed his career ever since.
As far as I am concerned there is one truly exceptional sportsman who stands out this century. His name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known to the world as Pele. His first football was actually a sock that he had stuffed full with newspaper. When he finally got hold of a real one, he turned football into a beautiful game. One of his biggest fans was Pope Paul VI and the story goes that he shook with nerves when meeting the world's greatest ever footballer.
Ali, Pele, McEnroe, Bradman, even Botham will get hundreds of votes. I'll pick someone who epitomises the public's love for sport through his personality. On the track, he's a talented athlete and he tells me he once played for Stockport reserves. Many of my generation grew up listening to his enthusiasm that crashed out of the screen and grabbed you by the throat. Playing sport, talking sport, and definitely arguing about sport, he's got the balls and the personality for the lot: David Coleman.
The winner will be announced on Sunday 12 December on BBC1.
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