As 2016 witnessed three major sporting events – the Rio Olympics, the UEFA Euro Cup and the ICC World T20, lets revisit the best moments from the world of sports in 2016.
Every year, there is at least one major sporting extravaganza clinching the limelight among all other sporting events of the year. May it be the London Olympics in 2012, FIFA World Cup in 2014 or the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015. However, 2016 had three major sporting events – the Rio Olympics, the UEFA Euro Cup and the ICC World T20. Creating a special place in the memories, every year, such events marks their spot in the history, amid moments, never to get faded in recent times. And, like every year, as even 2016 witnessed several records broken, history rewritten, plenty of ‘firsts’, retirements and dominance from swimming pool arena to the football pitch, lets revisit the best moments from the world of sports in 2016:
Novak Djokovic achieves Career Grand Slam after winning French Open
Serbian tennis star and top-seeded Novak Djokovic had won all the Grand Slams other than the French Open. But every time he came close to winning the French Open, he had lost it, either in the semis (4 times) or in the final (thrice). A Gland Slam at the clay court in Rolland Garros had always been an elusive title he hadn’t won.
This year the clay court nemesis ended for the stylish Serbian, bringing cheers to the fans, as finally Djokovic took his Grand Slam tally to 12 after winning a come-from-behind battle in the final against his nearest rival Andy Murray, the present World number 1. Doing so, he went on to become the eighth player to achieve a Career Grand Slam and at that juncture of time holding all the four Grand Slam titles.
Serena Williams equals Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles
When she won the Wimbledon this year, defeating Angelique Kerber of Germany, ace US Tennis player Serena Williams equalled the German legend Steffi Graf’s record of winning 22 Grand Slams. The American could have had added more Slams to her tally but lost in the finals of the Australian Open and then the French Open, to Angelique Kerber of Germany and Garbine Muguruza of Spain respectively. Sitting above Serena in the list of records is Margaret Court with 24 Grand Slams, the most in women’s tennis history.
Usain Bolt continues to break records at the Rio Olympics
The fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt has already registered his name in the record books and at the Rio Olympics which was his final Summer Games, the Jamaican added to his accomplished medals tally by adding three more gold medals in his kitty.
He previously had already won the 100m and the 200m sprints, and in his final race for Jamaica in the 4 x 100 m relay, Bolt combined with Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade to make it a perfect third gold. Thus, he became the first man in history to win all three sprint events at three Games.
Legendary swimmer Michael Phelps ends career with 23 Olympic golds
In his final event before retirement, American Michael Phelps captained the US swim team to a 400-meter medley relay at the Rio Olympics and completed a career that spanned five Olympics, with an unbelievable 28 medals, out of which 23 were gold.
Phelps had earlier retired after the London Olympics in 2012 and then made a comeback after one and a half years to swim for one last time, getting a medal in the butterfly event. At the Rio Olympics, the American captured five gold medals and a silver medal.
Leicester City wins maiden English Premier League title
Leicester City winning the English Premier League title this year was a major surprise for many soccer fans around the globe. They never expected a lowly ranked team managed by Claudio Ranieri would go on to lift the prestigious trophy in 2016. The odds were also stacked at 5000-1 against them. It was like Simon Cowell becoming the next British PM or Andy Murray naming his son Novak!
But the Foxes did the unthinkable, made the unimaginable possible by winning the Premier League title edging past Tottenham Hotspurs during the closing stages of the season to not only lift the EPL trophy but also qualify for Europe’s premier continental tournament – the UEFA Champions League.
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Portugal winning Euro Cup, defeating hosts France 1-0
Substitute Eder’s header during the closing minutes of the extra time proved to be the deciding factor as Cristiano Ronaldo’s men disappointed thousands of French fans present at the Stade de France stadium in Paris, to lift their first major tournament title. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo, often compared with Lionel Messi, when it comes to national duty, went a step ahead of the Argentine captain, as he lifted the trophy for the Portuguese fans, supporters and for millions of fans, for whom he is the best. Ronaldo had to leave the field after he sustained an injury in the 25th minute of the first half, when he collided with France’s forward Dimitri Payet; and had to be taken off the field in a stretcher.
Lionel Messi misses penalty in the Copa America final, retires and makes a comeback
Argentine soccer great Lionel Messi missed a crucial penalty during a shoot-out at the final against Chile in the Copa America Centenario (Hundredth event); as he failed to deliver coming under intense pressure of performing and too much of expectations from his fans. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t emulate the great Diego Maradona’s feat in carrying forward the Albiceleste. Thereafter, he went on to announce a retirement, shocking fans around the globe.
However, two months of reconsideration he reversed his decision and made a comeback to the soccer field, playing for Argentina and their quest to qualify for the FIFA World Cup- 2018.
PV Sindhu wins silver medal at the Rio Olympics
India’s image at the Rio Olympics was saved by two girls- PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, who won silver (Badminton) and bronze (Wrestling) for India. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who qualified India for the first time in gymnastics missed a medal by a whisker, as she finished fourth. While Sindhu lost to World no.1 Carolina Marin of Spain in the final, she won million Indian hearts.
Sakshi Malik wins bronze medal at Rio Olympics
Sakshi Malik, the woman wrestler from Haryana opened India’s medal tally at the Rio Olympics by winning the bronze medal in the 58kg freestyle wrestling category. She pulled off a sensational 8-5 victory in the repechage stages to topple Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan. In this process, she went on to become only the fourth woman from India to win an Olympic medal following the footsteps of Karnam Malleshwari, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal. Soon after Sakshi’s heroics, Sindhu’s achievements were also added to this list.
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Sania Mirza solely ends year as World No 1
India’s Sania Mirza became the World No 1 alongside doubles-partner Martina Hingis in 2015 in what was already a massive feat for both of them. Mirza’s achievements stand as a great inspiration to woman’s tennis in India. Come 2016, and she went a stepped ahead to take sole custody of the WTA doubles World No 1 ranking at the end of the Cincinnati final in August this year. Mirza ended her doubles-partnership with Martina Hingis this year and teamed up with Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic to end the year as the World No 1.
Nico Rosberg wins his first F1 title
Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes sealed his first Formula 1 championship in a season that ended in a thrilling finish as the German emulated his father Keke Rosberg’s championship winning exploits at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit. He needed to finish within top three, with his nearest rival being his own teammate Lewis Hamilton from Britain, racing close with him. However with a second placed finish, Rosberg clinched his first title to become racing’s 33rd champion. But he would not be defending his title in 2017 as he announced a surprise retirement at the F1 Awards Gala, as he was pretty satisfied with his achievements.