A HAMPSHIRE Olympian is being touted among the favourites to win this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Lizzy Yarnold, from Shedfield, is hailed as Britain's most successful Winter Olympian, for her successes in the skeleton.

Yarnold was Team GB's flagbearer in South Korea and overcame dizzy spells and a chest infection to retain gold, having contemplated pulling out.

Other favourites for the 65th SPOTY award, which will be presented in Birmingham tomorrow night, include Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, Spurs and England footballer Harry Kane and boxer Tyson Fury.

The BBC's decision to only declare its final shortlist on the night has served to increase speculation over which big names will find themselves going forward to the public vote.

Unpredictability continues to be a hallmark of the competition, following Sir Mo Farah's surprise victory in a non-Olympic year last year, just ahead of the Superbike world champion Jonathan Rea.

And plenty of controversy is also assured, especially if Fury, who fought a world heavyweight title draw against Deontay Wilder earlier this month, is included on the list.

Fury's inclusion in 2015 sparked widespread condemnation due to previous comments relating to homosexuality and the role of women, while the fact that - questionably or not - he did not actually beat Wilder could preclude him from the running.

Anthony Joshua has sold out stadiums this year but the magnitude of his contests have paled when compared to the attention-grabbing antics of Fury and Wilder, so he too may have to wait his turn.

Helping England reach the World Cup semi-finals will make Kane a popular choice, while there were few greater good news stories for British sport this year than Dina Asher-Smith's exploits at the European Athletics Championships.

Thomas is sure to be a popular contender after his Tour de France heroics, but others who achieved some of the biggest feats in sports are bound to be hampered by their relative lack of public profile.

Lizzy Yarnold became the first British athlete to retain a Winter Olympic title, swimmer Adam Peaty lowered his own world record and Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed a record-breaking seventh UK snooker crown.

Meanwhile, the emotional factor could kick in when it comes to former England cricket captain Alastair Cook, who signed off his illustrious career with a century against India in September.