It's been an amazing year for British sport: Team GB collects its finest Olympic haul since London 1908, the youngest ever F1 champion seals a nail-biting victory at the end of only his sophomore season, and tennis sees its first British-born Grand Slam finalist for over 30 years. With no home country involvement in Euro 2008, some new stars finally got to bask in the adulation of their public…which is exactly why the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award must go to John Terry.
The victories of cyclists and swimmers are hollow. Their medals may be gold, but these individuals' legacies are made of brittle wood, disintegrating under the harsh conditions of British apathy. Tennis stars command attention for perhaps four weeks each year, with boxers and racing drivers lucky to receive four days of intense press coverage. These are not sporting heroes; these are fleeting memories, mild distractions as we wait for the next pre-season match from the Amsterdam Tournament, Adidas Cup or Cillit Bang Vase. We cannot allow ourselves to be caught up in the zeitgeist by picking Hamilton, or get bogged down by history in congratulating Murray: it is our duty to honour the man responsible for the single greatest moment of individual sporting drama of 2008, whose detractors shed two tears of joy for every one the man himself shed of despondence.
John Terry led his merry band of brothers to the brink of history, to the heart of his paymaster's Russia, and stood twelve yards from glory. He placed the starred ball in the bitter cold and lashing rain, blinking under the harsh Moscow floodlights as millions around Europe watched what would become a landmark British moment. John Terry's strike was set to be the full-stop to conclude a breathtaking season of football, the culmination of Abramovich's flamboyant project, and so the fact that he missed – that the story was allowed to continue and ultimately reveal one final twist – is the strongest example anyone could possibly provide of a selfless contribution to British sport.
But that's not all. Do we recall Rebecca Adlington's victorious histrionics? Did Hamilton's celebrations extend past the tired champagne-spraying of decades past? These are not even sporting personalities. For the pathetic capitulation, both of his standing foot and his emotional stability, John Terry deserves to be named Sports Personality of the Year. The fact that seven years have now passed since the last true sports personality – a footballer – won the award is truly galling, and can only be rectified by the rightful ignoring of other flash-in-the-pan nobodies. We must give Terry the trophy; it will finally give him a chance to hold something over his head this calendar year.