The BBC has announced the 12 nominees for the 2012 Sports Personality of the Year award. Britain's Olympic and Paralympic champions dominate the shortlist for the award. The event, now in its 59th year, will be held at London's ExCeL centre on December 16.

Here are the contenders:

Nicola Adams

The Leeds boxer thrashed Chinese world number one Ren Cancan - who had beaten her in two previous world finals - en route to a triumphant popular gold medal win.

Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie celebrating his fourth Olympic gold medal at the sailing venue in Portland. Credit: PA

Ainslie held off Dane Jonas Hogh-Christensen to win gold.

To cap a glorious year, he also won his sixth Finn World Championships title, pipping compatriot Edward Wright in Falmouth.

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis celebrates winning gold in the Women's Heptathlon after finishing the 800m at the Olympic Stadium. Credit: PA

Ennis charged to heptathlon gold in London, setting the standard with two personal bests on the opening day and had little trouble holding off silver medallist Lilli Schwarzkopf to win gold.

Ennis wrapped up her victory on 'Super Saturday' as she was first to cross the line in the discipline's final event, the 800 metres.

Mo Farah

Mo Farah winning the Men's 5000m Final during Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympics at the Olympic Stadium, London. Credit: PA

Farah destroyed the long-standing African dominance of the men's long-distance events by winning Olympic gold in the men's 10,000m.

He repeated the achievement seven days later when he held off the fast-finishing Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia to win his second gold.

Katherine Grainger

Katherine Grainger after winning gold in the women's double sculls at Eton Dorney Rowing Lake, Windsor. Credit: PA

Grainger won an Olympic gold medal for the women's double sculls at Eton Dorney Rowing Lake, Windsor, with her partner Anna Watkins.

Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy with his two Gold medals during a photocall at team GB House, London. Credit: PA

Cyclist Hoy won two gold medals at the Games. He set a new world record in the team sprint and then won the Keirin to rewrite the history books.

Rory McIlroy

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy. Credit: PA

McIlroy claimed his second major title when he won the USPGA Championship by a record eight strokes, and played a crucial role in Europe's extraordinary Ryder Cup victory.

McIlroy finished top of both the European and US money lists, and wrapped up his season by claiming victory in the World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray with his Olympic Gold Medal, after winning the Men's Singles match at the Olympic Tennis Venue, Wimbledon. Credit: PA

Murray finally claimed Britain's first men's grand slam singles title in 76 years with a thrilling five-set win over Novak Djokovic in the US Open.

He also won Olympic gold with a victory over Roger Federer, compensating for his defeat in the Wimbledon final the month before.

Ellie Simmonds

Paralympian Ellie Simmonds launches the Royal Mail Post Early campaign to encourage consumers to send their Christmas cards early. Credit: PA

Ellie Simmonds won gold medals in the S6 disciplines of the 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley, as well as picking up a silver in the 100m freestyle and a bronze in the 50m freestyle.

Sarah Storey

Sarah Storey celebrates winning Gold during the Women's Individual C4-5 500m Time Trial at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park, London. Credit: PA

Storey claimed Britain's first gold medal this summer with victory in cycling's C5 pursuit.

She went on to claim three more golds in the C4-5 time trial, the C5 road time trial, and the C4-5 road race respectively.

David Weir

David Weir with his gold medal after winning the Men's 5000m - T54 at the Olympic Stadium, London. Credit: PA

The Weirwolf claimed three gold medals on the track in the 5000m, 1500m and 800m before completing a sweep by winning his fourth in the men's marathon.

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins during a photocall after winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games. Credit: PA

Wiggins was the first British rider in history to win the Tour de France, before winning gold in the men's time trial in London 2012.

The cyclist is favourite with bookies to win the award:

  • Bradley Wiggins 2/5

  • Mo Farah 5/1

  • Andy Murray 8/1

  • Jessica Ennis 10/1

  • David Weir 25/1

  • Ellie Simmonds 50/1

  • Rory McIIroy 100/1

  • Ben Ainslie 150/1

  • Sir Chris Hoy 150/1

  • Sarah Storey 200/1

  • Nicola Adams 250/1

  • Katherine Grainger 250/1

Source: Ladbrokes