Behind the scenes at BBC Sports Personality 2014
15 January 2015
Glasgow 2014 volunteer Lisa Blythman-Wood was one of the lucky Clyde-siders invited to the star-studded Sports Personality of the Year 2014.
I have watched the BBC Sports Personality of Year for years, voting for my favourite sportsmen and women, cheering on my fellow Games Makers in 2012. But, this year was going to be so very different.
For once I didn’t have to spend hours deciding what to wear, it was simply going to be my distinct Games-time red and grey uniform with a little added sparkle. Putting it on always made me feel proud and honoured. It gives everyone the license to say hello, ask me to be an impromptu photographer and for strangers to talk to me on the train.
I boarded my flight to Glasgow on Sunday and quickly realised the plane was packed with sporting elite. Sitting next to Gary Street (head coach of the England Women’s rugby team), in the same row as Paul Vice (awarded the Military Cross and medalist at the Invictus Games), Jonny Wilkinson behind me and the Women’s Rugby World Cup winners (about to be Team of Year) in front of me, I knew that the evening’s celebration was going to magical.
This summer, I was lucky enough to be one of the 15,000 Clyde-sider’s at the Commonwealth Games. I was based at Barry Buddon, so coming back to Glasgow where my training sessions had taken place was like being welcomed home with open arms.
We had the best seats in the house. Sitting within touching distance of the great and the good, from sporting legends and unsung heroes to Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Gary Lineker. On cue at eight o’clock we went live, Jim Kerr’s Simple Minds started singing ‘Waterfront’ and I had to pinch myself that this was really happening.
It was then time to go through this year’s contenders. Gareth Bale, Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Froch, Kelly Gallagher & Charlotte Evans, Lewis Hamilton, Rory McIlroy, Jo Pavey, Adam Peaty, Max Whitlock and Lizzy Yarnold. My loudest cheers went to two of these:
- Volunteering during London 2012 Paralympic Games I realised what the human spirit can overcome. The superhuman performances in the world of sport amaze me. So I was rooting for Kelly Gallagher & Charlotte Evans, remembering that Gallagher goes down the slopes at 100km/h despite having little vision.
- I started watching F1 with my Dad when I was little and, although now he has Dementia, it is the one passion that seems to always spark a smile from him. Having won 11 races this year and going on to a nail biting finish in Abu Dhabi – Lewis Hamilton, my Dad and I salute you.
Between these contenders were the equally important Young Sports Personality of Year, Overseas Sports Personality of Year, Helen Rollason Award, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award and Unsung Hero.
The Helen Rollason Award went to the 400 servicemen and women who competed at the Invictus Games. Presented by Prince Harry, his words struck a chord with the full capacity crowd and me,
“We should not underestimate the power of sport that changes lives. All of those who compete in the Invictus Games have achieved so much just to make it to the starting line-up.”
The standing ovation and the support for the men and women on stage was fitting and overwhelming.
Join In patron Eddie Izzard then came on stage to ask the audience and viewers at home to tweet a #BigThankYou to volunteers across the country, which proved to be hugely popular. He then presented Jill Stidever the Unsung Hero award, which captured the hearts of all the Clyde-siders present and reminded me why I do what I do.
As the ticker tape floated down from the ceiling, Lewis looked shocked to have won. Well done Sir, well done. I can’t wait to show my Dad the photos when I see him next. After hugs, shout outs and exchanged contact details the party came to a close. I have made friends for life, learnt new skills and I went back to my hotel to toast all the nominees and winners; reflecting on a truly stunning evening that I was lucky to be part of.
Like Gary, when I awoke the following day with no voice I knew it had been a good night. Last night created more amazing memories, celebrated another incredible year in sport and was a fitting way to end my Clyde-sider journey!