Ronnie O’Sullivan is honoured to finally receive a nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year and is hoping the news will help to elevate snooker in the mind’s of the public.
Despite being one of the most recognisable figures in British sport for over 25 years and becoming the greatest snooker player of all time, the Rocket has never made it onto the shortlist for the BBC award.
That has now changed and he finds himself in the final six this year, following his sixth World Championship title in August.
It has been a long time coming, and he revealed that he came very close a long time ago, but the 44-year-old is delighted to finally get the nod.
‘It was exciting to get the nomination, I grew up watching those awards on the TV so it’s a great honour to be part of the final six this year,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
‘I haven’t told anyone because I still wasn’t actually sure. They asked me about 25 years ago, said I was in the final 10, came and did a couple of hours with me and then I wasn’t in the final 10.
‘Obviously they’ve put it out on social media, so it was only tonight I’ve accepted I was in the running.’
The Rocket has not taken his lack of nomination for so many years personally, instead believing that snooker is just not high profile enough to warrant his includsion.
‘It’s been a funny year with Covid, no Olympics, if the Olympians do well they tend to get the vote,’ he said.
‘Snooker has lost its place in the pecking order a bit, you’ve got tennis, golf, Formula One, football, a lot of really massive sports.
‘It wasn’t so much a reflection on me, not wanting to give it to me, but snooker’s just lost its way a bit.
‘Anything like this is great for snooker so I’m happy to be able to be in a position to be nominated, so if it helps snooker, grows the popularity, elevates snooker a little bit, that’s fantastic. I’m honoured.’
Also nominated alongside O’Sullivan are Jordan Henderson, Lewis Hamilton, Stuart Broad, Hollie Doyle and Tyson Fury and the Rocket would be happy to see the Gypsy King claim the crown.
‘For me, Tyson Fury’s the standout, it’s a gladiator sport, he’s comeback, he’s the real Rocky,’ said O’Sullivan after Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder in February to win the WBC world heavyweight title.
‘He’s said, “where do you live? I’ll be over next week.” He’s a proper fighter’s fighter, he’s the superstar for me.’
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