2012 has been an amazing year for sports, particularly for us Brits. Here are some of the highlights and low moments of sports and fitness this year:
Let’s be honest with ourselves, as a fairly pessimistic nation we were waiting for something to go wrong at the Olympics but luckily we were all proved wrong. Not only was the organisation of the Olympics a success, team GB pulled through and showed the world that our nation has a lot of fabulously talented athletes. The Olympics ended with Great Britain third in the medal table with only China and the USA (the two most powerful countries in the world) ahead of them.
The highlight for Great Britain has to be the night in which Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford all won gold on the same night in the Olympic stadium.
The most watched Paralympics of all time followed the success of the Olympics in style. Team GB did us proud again by placing third in the final medal table behind Russia and China.
Whether we consider Andy Murray as one of our own is irrelevant when he has had a year of such epic success. We saw the first signs of Murray’s year when he reached the final of Wimbledon and lost out on the title to Rafael Nadal. Not long after this, Murray beat Nadal to win the gold medal at the Olympics and a silver medal in mixed pairs with Laura Robson. A few months later and Murray topped off a brilliant year by finally getting his hands on the US Open trophy.
After winning the tour de France and a gold medal at the Olympics within weeks of one other, Bradley Wiggins is now on the 2013 New Year’s honour list to be knighted by Her Majesty. He also beat out the fierce competition to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award this month.
After 44 years of being the underdog and suffering under the reign of Manchester United, Manchester City finally got their moment of glory this summer when they won the Premier League. They continue to battle with United over the top spot in the Premier League this season, only 2013 will tell how far the success of 2012 can take this team.
Many people doubted him. Many people said he was ‘past his prime’ and that his training partner would beat him in the Men’s 100m Final at London 2012. In an epic display of athleticism, Bolt proved that his title of fastest man on the planet belonged to him and only him.
‘Bionic’ Woman Finishes London Marathon
It’s hard enough for an able-bodied person to finish a gruelling 26.2 mile marathon, let alone someone who’s paralyzed. But thanks to the help of modern technology that is exactly what Claire Lomas managed to do when she recently competed in the London Marathon with the help of some high-tech bionic legs. In what can only be described as inspiring, Britain's own "bionic" woman completed the London Marathon with the help of robotic limbs, putting all lazy couch potatoes to shame in the process.
Women in the UFC
The Ultimate Fighting Championship finally opened its arms and welcomed female mixed martial artists into the company. Ronda Rousey is set to defend her UFC title in the first ever female UFC fight at the beginning of next year.
Felix Baumgartner became the first human ever to break the sound barrier with his free fall from 23 miles above the earth’s surface.
The professional golfer from Northern Ireland has had yet another successful year. He won the 2012 PGA championship by a record eight shots and is currently ranked world number one. Not only that, he is dating beautiful Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and became the youngest player to reach $10 million in earning this year.
Michael Phelps won his 18th gold at the Olympics this year taking his total Olympic medal tally to 22. If he were a nation all on his own, this would rank him 12th ahead of nations such as Romania, Poland and Spain.
A scandal that shocked the sporting world this year was when Lance Armstrong was revealed to be a drugs cheat and stripped of his tour de France title. After inspiring millions with his athletic success and overcoming illness, he now faces shame and financial ruin.
Government Tax on Supplements
It was all set to be a tax on fast foods (eg pasties) to try and deter people from buying junk food and hopefully take a small step in the right direction to deal with the obesity crisis. Instead, the government decided that the fitness enthusiasts among us seeking to better our health were to take the tax hit. They applied the 20% tax on all sport supplements on the 1st October this year.
Probably one of the most horrifying things to witness in 2012 was the collapse of Fabrice Muamba during the FA cup tie of Bolton vs Spurs. Muamba was ‘dead’ for 78 minutes and it took 15 shocks to restart the fit and healthy 23 year olds heart. Thankfully, Muamba is fighting fit although he has been forced to retire from football.
David Beckham’s football career is now uncertain has his term at LA Galaxy has come to an end. With many calls for him to retire, it is as yet unknown whether he will continue to play football in 2013.
After playing his heart out for Portugal in the semi-final of the European Cup against Spain, Ronaldo baffled many spectators and supporters when the decider of the match came down to penalties. Ronaldo decided he was going to take the fifth kick in the penalty shoot-out for his team and could only watch in shock as Bruno Alves hit the bar with the fourth penalty kick for Portugal catapulting Spain into the finals.
The reigning Paralympic Cycling champion was denied a chance to compete at London 2012 after being disqualified for a false start. Jody Cundy was understandably distressed by this and went into a full-blown angry rant live on TV shouting that he ‘had wasted the past 4 years of his life’.
No Gold for Australia
Australia is a country which prides itself on sporting excellence so it came as a surprise to everyone when they failed to pick up a gold medal in the first week of the Olympic Games this year. They managed to pull it back in the second week but only finished 10th in the final medal table ranked by golds.
Granted, she won a medal in the asymmetric bars final this time. Unfortunately for Beth, she failed to stick her landing (again) after a flawless performance and ended up with a bronze medal.