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SPOTY 2009 starts to take shape

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Carl Doran | 07:00 UK time, Thursday, 3 September 2009

September is always an exciting time of year for the Sports Personality team.

It's when planning starts to move into top gear as many of the year's biggest sporting events have already taken place.

It is also when some of the leading contenders for the main award start to emerge.

With no Olympic Games or World Cup I must admit I was a bit worried at the start of the year that 2009 might prove to be a bit of struggle for big moments and for a really competitive race for the main Sports Personality of the Year Award.

spotypic_bbc_595.jpgChris Hoy celebrates winning the 2008 Sports Personality of the Year

How wrong I was to worry! What a sporting year this has already been.

There are already some outstanding candidates to follow in the footsteps of Chris Hoy who, of course, picked up the famous trophy from Michael Johnson in Liverpool last December.

There's Britain's Jenson Button leading the Formula 1 Drivers' Championship; a number of leading potential candidates like Andrew Strauss, Andrew Flintoff and Stuart Broad from the England team that stunned the Aussies to regain the Ashes and not forgetting the likes of Claire Taylor who helped make 2009 equally as memorable for the women's cricket team.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Plymouth to welcome home teenage diving sensation Tom Daley following his gold in the 10m platform dive at the world championships in Rome after he became Britain's first ever individual diving world champion.

Andy Murray has had another amazing year - is up to number two in the world rankings ahead of Rafa Nadal. And he still has a chance of winning the US Open - arguably his best surface.

Elsewhere, with London 2012 less than three years away the British squad came home from the World Athletics Championships with their best medal haul since 1999.

Phillips Idowu's lifetime best snatched gold in the triple jump and Sheffield's Jessica Ennis is likely to get a magnificent reception at the Sheffield Arena after her amazing comeback from injury to win the heptathlon title.

British rider Mark Cavendish finished the Tour de France in spectacular style by winning the final-stage sprint on the Champs-Elysees. It was his sixth stage-win of this year's Tour and his 10th overall, while the victory also saw him become the first Briton to win the final stage of the world-famous race.

Bradley Wiggins also performed heroically to finish in 4th overall on the Tour, while on the track golden-girl Victoria Pendleton retained her sprint title at the World Cycling Championships in Poland.

And so it goes on - in swimming there were seven British medals at the World Championships including gold for Liam Tancock, Gemma Spofforth and Keri-Anne Payne.

Jockey AP McCoy rode his 3000th winner this year, what a man he is, while Phil 'The Power' Taylor surged to his 14th world title, wow.

Finally, what about golfing super-mum Catriona Matthew - she won the women's British Open by three strokes at Royal Lytham and St Annes - just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second child. She also became the first Scot to win the title.

There are so many success stories this year it promises to be a fantastic show. Check out our Sports Personality temperature check for more on this year's potential contenders.

And there is still plenty more sport to come, including the conclusion of the US Open tennis, the World Road Championships and the final Fifa 2010 World Cup qualifying matches.

Wayne Rooney is just one of the potential candidates who could make the final shortlist.

Overall it promises to be a great night of celebration in Sheffield on 13 December in front of a record crowd of 10,000.

There'll be plenty of other great achievements and moments to remember as well like Usain Bolt's latest astonishing achievements at the World Athletics Championships and Roger Federer's amazing feat of breaking Pete Sampras' all-time record for grand slam victories.

The event will again be hosted by Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey and tickets will go on sale next month with full details appearing on the Sports Personality web site.

In the meantime there will be plenty more twists and turns as the race hots up to become the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The top 10 contenders, once selected by sporting experts from within the media, will be announced during the One Show on BBC1 at the end of November and the winner will again be voted by the public via a telephone vote during the live show.


  • Comment number 1.

    Sorry but most of those you mentioned will not even register on the general public's radar.

    Strauss is seen as a good player who captained England to just scraping past the worstAussie side for years.

    Flintoff and Broad had precisely one very good game each.

    Tom Daley has done fantastically but most people forget who he is 10 minutes after. 95% of the public don't know who Catrina Matthew, Victoria Pendleton or Clair Taylor are, let alone what they have achieved lately.

    Idowu is seen as a perrenial underachiever who managed not to screw it up this year.

    Cavendish and Wiggins will be anonymous between now and the ceremony as we only care about cycling during the TDF and Olympics, they have no gold medals and no nationalist campaign behind them.

    McCoy does not get enough press outside the racing pages and if Phil Taylor couldn't get the votes before I doubt he ever will even though he deserves something.

    There are precicely three candidates only in all sense.

    Andy Murray - High profile, sccessful all year long, a good run in teh US open could see him come out on top, especially if Button fails.

    Jenson Button - If he manages to win the WDC will be odds on favourite.

    Jess Ennis - World champion of course, but also has the media profile and will get the block athletics/olympics watcher/female/men who like to drool votes.

    Button wins if he gets his title, otherwise Murray is favourite, if he has a strop then Ennis has a chance. Nobody else is anywhere in reality.

  • Comment number 2.

    "With no Olympic Games or World Cup I must admit I was a bit worried at the start of the year that 2009 might prove to be a bit of struggle for big moments and for a really competitive race for the main Sports Personality of the Year Award."

    A slightly odd thing to think in a year containing the Ashes and a Lions tour, in addition to all the usual annual events.

    Can I put in my annual plea for there to be an actual Sports Review of the Year this Year?

  • Comment number 3.

    Berlino the Bear?

  • Comment number 4.

    How about England's Mens Hockey Team for Team of the Year? European Champions.

  • Comment number 5.

    Far to early to be considering this award. Especially considering that some of the potential contenders are not even close to winning their respective Championships.

    Also the list of contender: Andrew Flintoff/Stuart Broad? Why?

    Currently for me the Contenders are: Jessica Ennis, Catriona Matthew, Bradley Wiggins (contenious because I find difficult rewarding 4th place), Mark Cavandish, Karl Froch, Phillips Idowu, potentially Jenson Button, Tom Daley, Andrew Strauss.

    Team of the Year: Difficult really to chose and not many teams have stood out with the possible exception of Brawn GP. OH, let me revise this statement with the Englands Women Cricket team.

    Overseas: Nailed on Bolt.

    Finally, I wish they would change this award to Sports achievement of the year. Also is it not time that both men and women are given seperate awards.

  • Comment number 6.

    The BBC should make a stand and stop referring to Darts as a sport. (same goes for snooker). They are games.

    It is a cacophony of riches this year. all totally deserving.

    I'm sure it gets asked every year though - where does "personality" come into it?

  • Comment number 7.

    A good summary on the years sporting achievements for our nation.

    When i saw the article I had exactly the same thoughts as you, but there has been a lot a excellent performances from British sports people. I don't think Wayne Rooney has much chance of winning it this year though I hope he'll be next years winner for obvious reasons!

    If Andy Murray wins the US Open, he'd get my vote for it. Failing that i'd vote for Bradley Wiggins

  • Comment number 8.

    It has to be Mark Cavendish. He is the fastest bloke in the WORLD on a bike and won 6 stages in a single tour which is excellent. He also won the Milan-Samremo race which is a great achievment.

    I think the only other 2 people who deserve it is Phillips Idowu and Tom Daley for their excellent efforts in the Olympics & the Worlds.

    England 2018 :-)

  • Comment number 9.

    Team of the Year: Difficult really to chose and not many teams have stood out with the possible exception of Brawn GP. OH, let me revise this statement with the Englands Women Cricket team.

    Brawn GP should not be in contention, they are no different from Man City in that they have got where they are purely down to foreign investment.

    England Women's cricket would be odds on favourite (remember this is not a public vote I think)

  • Comment number 10.

    I mostly follow cycling and so I can really only comment on cycling, but Mark Cavendish needs a nomination at least. 6 stages in the Tour de France is quite an achievment, Milano-San Remo is the longest race in the cycling calendar (at almost 300km), he won that, and it's a very important race. Then all the Giro stages and all the other wins along the way.
    Wiggins' 4th place in the Tour de France is far from "not award worthy", it's a fantastic result! One that would have taken superhard work from anyone, but to make the switch from track, it's great.

    In other sports, Button surely deserves something, a great start of season. Murray did well in Wimbledon and Queens.
    It's been another good sporting year (Now we're away from the 2008 Olympics)

  • Comment number 11.

    I know this will be overlooked in favour of other more high profile sports people but Steve Peat has just won the Mountain Bike Downhill World Championships in Canbera, Australia. If any of you are not aware of Steve he has be at the top of this sport for nearly 20 years and his history is as follows..

    17 World cup wins
    3 x World cup Champion
    2 x European Champion
    8 x British Champion
    7 x British Series Champion
    1 x British 4 X Champion
    4 Silver Medals at World Championships
    47 World cup podiums
    and now al last, WORLD CHAMPION.

    if this sport was an Olympic event Steve would has been SPOTY by now.
    and as this year the event is being held in Sheffield, just for your information, Steve is from Sheffield! Congratulation Steve, you really do deserve this.

  • Comment number 12.

    Just wanted to suppport Charlielynes comments, Steve has been immense in his sport and is deserving of wider recongnition.

    Even if you dont get it Steve, well done fella!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Agree with Charlielynes

    Steve Peat is not only the greatest downhill mountain bike racer in history with more world cup wins than any rider and more podium finishes than anyone he is probably the nicest professional sportsman you could wish to meet. In fact you couldn't meet a nicer guy any where.

    Sheffield born and bred he lives and trains in Sheffield training for world cup wins in Wharncliffe Woods.

    He has been awarded an honourary degree from Sheffield University for his contribution to Mountain Biking and Sheffield.

    He is responsible for bringing a number of youngsters through and Josh Bryceland was Junior World Champ last year and could go on to emulate what Steve has acheived thanks to Peaty's mentoring. Billy Matthews who's in the Peaty Syndicate team is coming on nicely also.

    Not only that my son asked him to come and ride with us on a small hill near us in the Midlands, which we offered to do for charity and he came in his own time at his own cost with Josh Bryceland and a load of his mates and we raised £6,000 for Stephen Murray, a BMX rider from Newcastle who was paralysed in a freak accident.

    Come on BBC give recognition to a guy who wins and is at the very pinnacle of his sport.

    World Champion, Steve Peat. Cheers!

  • Comment number 14.

    Wide open this year. I think the cricketers can pretty much be ruled out due to selling out to Sky - if it had been on C4 (or even the BBC) I'd put Stuart Broad as the odds on favourite, but with just a million or so watching it on Sky the likes of Jessica Ennis have had much more exposure, though if Button does clinch the F1 title he'd pretty much the favourite, and unlike Hamilton, probably has the personality to clinch it.

    As for team - the cricketers again should be ruled out - it needs to reward consistent achievement, not flukes.

  • Comment number 15.

    If only the BBC would allow him on the shortlist and let the public find out about him then A P McCoy would be a nailed on certainty.

    The man rides about 6 times a day, every day. No other sportsman competes every consecutive day of the year (apart from when injured or Christmas Day). He has incredible stamina and durability despite having to keep to 10stone and living off a rubbish diet. He has broken nearly every bone in his body including his back and neck only last year, which took him just months to recover (because he is a bit mad). He is modest and doesn't complain at his lack of recognition despite having been champion of probably the toughest sport in Britain for over 14 years. When swimmers complete a competitive couple lengths in a fast time once a week (min) and get damehoods and SPOTY awards immediately then what does McCoy have to do to even get on the shortlist? Just because he's been around for so long does not mean he is less deserving than the one-hit wonders.

    Knowing the BBC he'll have to win the Grand National first because that's the only race they've ever heard of despite it being far from the highest class race in Britain.

    Give him equal coverage that the rest of the contenders get and put him on the shortlist and I can guarantee you that people will vote for him.

  • Comment number 16.

    I wish more people cared about cycling because oh my goodness mark cavendish and bradley wiggins are lighting the world on fire. just today cav destroyed the field for the 2nd day running in missouri! murray will be unlucky but i think 2010 will be his first slam. jenson button will only win if he gains some confidence and momentum sharpish and ends up cantering away with the championship. i like tom daley but like jess ennis i dont feel that they should be in true contention for the top prize. brian o'driscoll should be on the list for sure. i have to disagree with some of the strauss bashers to be honest, strauss led by example and was the best english batsman present this summer. idowu finally managed to produce the goods, like he honestly should have done last year. bolt or federer will win overseas. brawn gp, england cricket or Ireland Rugby. the irish have toiled too long for that grand slam championship and they deserve every praise, even if my fellow welshmen had a chance to deny them at the death!

  • Comment number 17.

    An update from Carl:

    Thanks to everyone for your messages and Charlielynes, LeedsPaulB and billy860, particular thanks for your comments regarding Steve Peat.

    Steve's success story is amazing and his career record is frankly awesome. A big congratulations on his success at the Worlds from everyone at SPOTY.

    I must stress the top 10 is not decided on by the BBC, but by a group of sporting experts.

    However, we will definitely be inviting Steve to this year's event and, whether he makes it into the top 10 or not, it will be especially nice to have him there being from Sheffield.

    Please keep your comments coming.


  • Comment number 18.

    Nice one Carl, it's great to know you read the comments, and the emails and take the time to Reply. Give us a pointer to the people who make the decision.

    Peaty's the man, just put his record up against anyone else without knowing what the sport is and he'd be first choice.

    I've got a great quote on my wall

    "Downhill - because golf and football (and tennis and cricket) only need one ball"

  • Comment number 19.

    thanks to Carl for reading and replying, as Billy860 says, its nice to know you read the comments. Is there any chance we could have a list of the peple who will be drawing up the short list for SPOTY? if not here then through our membership email details. At least then we would be able to let some of them know that Steve is fully derserving of the award.

    love the quote Billy860, LMAO

  • Comment number 20.

    I am really pleased to read Carl's reply. I very much hope all these well paid dapper sports journos given the task to find such a small shortlist from so many great people are sufficiently switched onto cycle sport to see beyond the obvious Cav / Wiggout selection. I hope they find time to consider the gravity sport side of Mountain Biking which 2009 World Champion Steve Peat has very much been the vanguard behind which the UK despite some rather half hearted big hills compared to many European states and the Americas has for the past 5 or 6 years been packing 6 or more riders into the top 20 world standing of riders.

    In a career often beset with mechanical and personal damage disrupting races he has not only maintained a consistency in performance almost longer than many thought possible for the human body in such conditions. At races he is always in the pits and always welcoming young fans and giving words of encouragement saving a generation from sedentary life watching sports from the comfort of a sofa with 6 pack.

    Outside of this he takes his own time pursuing activity helping promote events to raise funds for seriously injured riders like Stephen Murray or helping promote the all rider facilities on the edge of Sheffield at Wharncliffe where he helps raise funds for local charities and allowing many to thrill at personally being a Steve Peat for the day.

  • Comment number 21.

    I totally agree with Hackerjack's comments about who is most likely to win the SPOTY, it is usually the person who is highest in the general public's conciousness. I guess it has always been this way, regardless of the actual achievement of those who are celebrated - its how they capture the public's imagination.
    However, I think SPOTY should be a forum for showcasing lesser known sports as the stories and individuals involved in these are no less important. In fact I think we need to move away from the mainstream 'celebrity' sportstars in sports like football. As a society we idolise these idiotic, overpaid, premadonas on a weekly basis, yet the dedication of real sportsmen and women is often overlooked. Take Rebecca Adlington for example, a girl who rightly deserves all the plaudits she gets as she has to get into a cold British swimming pool (thanks to substandard UK sport facilities) at some ungodly hour in the morning to train 5-6 times a week. Would Wayne Rooney or Ashley Cole do that for less than 50k a week? Yet these people are role models. Should aspiring kids think that they can act like hooligans and get paid 50k a week? Why do I need to work hard if I can earn that much money based on talent alone? Would Craig Bellamy or Emanual Adebeyor be considered a sportsman at all?
    The purpose of this comment is to ask the BBC to showcase the dedication of sportsmen and sportswomen and their fans in lesser know sports and to stop focusing on those constantly in public limelight. This does not mean a 2 minute highlights segment of 'other British achievements' this means a proper feature on each sport. Anyone remember Transworld Sport on C4 on Saturday mornings? I used to love that because it looked outside of the mainstream. BBC, can I please ask that you cast your net wider.
    Specifically, I would like to draw attention to one Steve Peat. British Downhill Mountain biker and recently crowned World Champion for the first time at the grand old age of 35. His achievement on September 6th in Australia was watched live on the internet by thousands of adoring fans around the world. It was the greatest moment in mountain biking and a fairytale story of a man in the twilight of his career finally getting the world title that has eluded him for 16 years. Dr Peat is the most popular mountain biker in the world and an embassador for our sport. It will never attract the crowds of other spectator sports, yet the dedication of those who compete and follow this sport should be heralded.
    Steve's achievement was the greatest momement in mountain biking, and it was British. A cross of St George proudly held on the winners podium, the man they call 'Sheffield Steel' would aptly receive all the credit he gets at this year's SPOTY held in his home town. Come on BBC, here is an opportunity to showcase a genuine sporting hero!

  • Comment number 22.

    Realistically, in a relatively poor year for British sport, there is only one standout winner of the award: Mark Cavendish. Unfortunately, the BBC does not cover cycling, but people need to realise that Mark is head and shoulders above anyone else in terms of his achievements. At the tender age of 24, and in only two years of serious competition, he has arguably become the greatest British cyclist of all time. Some wonderful competitors have gone through their whole career without ever winning a stage of the Tour de France. Mark has won 10 (yes ten!) in two years. It is no exaggeration to say that each of these is roughly equivalent to an Olympic gold medal (bear in mind that on each occasion he has been competing against around the best 180-200 competitors in the world in his sport). In addition, this year he has accumulated 23 victories in top class events including the classic 'monument' Milan - San Remo race, three stages of the 'Giro' (Tour of Italy) and a couple in each of the Tours of California and Missouri among others. He is a household name in most European countries, and people over there would be shocked to hear that he had yielded to Button, Ennis or, Heaven forbid, a player in a two-nation competition in a very minor sport in international terms (the Ashes). So, come on BBC, give Cavendish a bit of the hype he deserves in the run-up to the award in the hope that the sporting public will accord him the recognition he deserves.

  • Comment number 23.

    It has to be Mark Cavendish. 6 stage wins in TDF, won Milan San Remo, 1st Briton to win on the Champs Elysees, greatest number of stage wins for a Briton in TDF, more than 50 stage wins in Pro road racing and he's a genuine bloke, I've met him. He's not arrogant as some report. He just tells it like it is.

  • Comment number 24.

    Carl, thank you so much for reading the previous comments regarding Steve Peat. I would also like to add my support. Not only has he an awesome career record, but he is also a great ambasador for sport, particularly for kids. I am really pleased that you will be able to at least bring him to the attention of the panel.

    mackeroo1976 - I agree about Transworld - that is a great loss to sport and a good example of the sort of consideration that should be given to a whole range of sport out there.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    If anyone other than the England Womens Cricket team wins Team of the Year, it will be a traversty. World Cup Winners, Twenty20 World Cup Winners, 4-0 win in the ODI series against Australia, and retained the Ashes. Say no more!

  • Comment number 27.

    Ssome interesting choices this year in several catagories!

    My choices:
    Cavendih and Wiggins performances in the TDF were exceptional.
    Ennis in the World Championships
    I would like to say AP McCoy but if he hasnt won it by now surely he never will?!

    For the team prize there are several strong contenders:

    England Men's cricket; my view though is that it is a great achievment beating the Aussies but not the same achievement as beating them 4 years ago and the overall performance during the year have been disappointing.
    Womens cricket team
    GB swim team; great performance in the World Champs
    England Football team; amazing qualification for WC; lets hope they are more worthy after next year!
    England hockey team; European champions, first gold since 1920 for England and 1988 for British team; brings back memories of Sean Kerly!

  • Comment number 28.

    For "sports team of the year" it's a no brainer for me. It has to be Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. In pre season as the preperations were uner way for the new season Adam Watene passed away during a weights session in the gym. It devestaed thousands of people and left the club in turmoil. No one knew where we would go from here and we started the season in great fashion doing the memory of Adam proud. Then just a month into the new season we were due to play Celtic away but in the cademy game before the first team game Wakefield player Leon Walker collapsed and wa slater pronounced dead in hospital Yet another tragedy to hit the club in a short space of time.

    No one knew how we would cope with this, but the club dealt with it really well and the sport of rugby league came together like a family as they do best.

    How did Wakefield do after all the bad news and tragedy? Well we had out best season to date finishing 5th, best position yet and most points ever, after media has predicted us to finish bottom.

    Now that is a "sports team of the year"

    Never been so proud to be a Wakey fan

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    The obvious names are in the list but there's no mention of Chrissie Wellington. After this weekend's performance surely there is no argument that she is one of our greatest sports people of all time. Triathlon may not be a marquee sport like football or F1 but her achievement in winning a 3rd Ironman World Championship (including the new record) is absolutely incredible and definitely deserves some serious recognition - especially when you look at how high she placed in the overall standings too!

  • Comment number 31.

    There can only be one serious contender for 'SPOTY' 2009 and that is Phil 'The Power' Taylor - Arguably the greatest sportsmen the UK has ever produced and pretty much shunned by the Beeb as they no longer get to televise him! He now holds the grand slam of darts - i.e. 5 titles @ the same time. Darts is once again becoming a major televised sport and Phil has done more than most to bring this fabulous game back to a wider audience.

    Get voting for Phil

  • Comment number 32.

    Chrissie Wellington is by far the UK's most dominant athlete on the world scene, male or female: Now 3 times World Ironman Champion, course record holder at Hawaii and World Record holder over the Roth course in Germany: From her first 'Iron' distance triathlon at Korea in 2007, she has never been beaten, this is an incredible record that deserves way more recognition in the UK.. Chrissie for SPOTY!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Team of the year should be the England Men's Hockey team, currently ranked 6th in the world, they were unbeaten in the EuroHockey Nations Championships. Beating the Netherlands (Rank 4) in the Semi finals then spanking Germany (Rank 1) 5:3 to become European Champions for the first time ever.

    If not it should go to the Women's Cricket team.

    The award can not go to the Mens Cricket team, yes they may have won the ashes but they have been spanked at everything else by the Ozzies! And the Mens football team, er no, they have only qualified for the World Cup not actually won anything!

    It's time for sports which don't have money coming out of there ears to win things!!

  • Comment number 34.

    If SPOTY is going to just be an awards show like it has been for the last few years is there any chance we could have an actual sports review of the year somewhere in the schedules?

  • Comment number 35.

    Still no mentioning of Chrissie Wellington??? She is the perfect candidate for SPOTY, not only are her achievements absolutely amazing, but she is also a role model and inspiration for thousands of enthusiastic triathletes across the coutnry, male and female, whether competing on short or long distances.

  • Comment number 36.

    There's not even a mention of him here but if young Rory McIlroy captures the Race to Dubai this Sunday then surely he shoots to the top of the list of contenders.Here is a man only 20 years of age about to win the biggest prize in European golf but not only that he is one of the most charismatic and charming people in British sport.It is not too much to say that winning the Race to Dubai would be the greatest achievement by a British sportsperson this year.

    And to cap it all off he is a regular poster over on the golf 606 forum here on the bbc website!

  • Comment number 37.

    AP McCoy is the most successful person ever in his sport.

    Can you say that for any of the other candidates? no. End of discussion.

  • Comment number 38.

    How can AP McCoy be ignored again ! How many other sportsmen have won 13 consecutive championships, had more than 3000 winners and it looks like number 14 this season. National Hunt racing is one of the most dangerous sports and still he hasn't had the recognition he deserves. He IS the ultimate master in his profession. Forget Jensen Button ( 1 championship only) Bradley Wiggins (Who ?). OK racing seems to be the Black sheep in the sports world to the BBC after cutting the number of live broadcasts this year but surely AP must be recognised for his achievements !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    My favorite candidates to win SPOTY: Jenson Button, Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley and Mark Cavendish.

    Overseas Winner: Usain Bolt, guaranteed!

  • Comment number 40.

    Wellington's achievements deserve more recognition and definitely worthy of being on the shortlist. She had been truly outstanding, an amazing world champion and an inspiration.


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