Wow! With lots of extra free time this year through various lockdowns, the amount of sport I watched is borderline criminal. From cricket to football to boxing and everything in between, here are my Top 10 Sporting Moments of 2021!
AFL – Melbourne Overcome a 57-Year Drought!!!
The Melbourne Demons dominated the Western Bulldogs to claim the AFL Premiership. After a 57-year drought, the Demons came into the match as the favourite and took an early lead due to the performances of heavyweights Petracca and Oliver. The Bulldogs hinted at a comeback in the second quarter, but after half-time, the Demons kicked them off the park! The centre-clearances were incredibly effective as they piled on the points without any answer from the Western Bulldogs. It was a much-deserved victory from a team that has consistently sat at the bottom of the ladder for the past few years.
BOXING – George Kambosos Jr. Shocks the World!!!
Even for hardcore boxing fans, the name George Kambosos Jr. was not a familiar one. His opponent, Teofimo Lopez, is universally recognised as one of the best boxers in the world and was on track for superstardom. However, the world got it wrong. Kambosos Jr. defied the 7-to-1 odds against him to knock down Lopez in the first round and survive a 10th round knockdown to score one of the biggest upsets of 2021. The Australian is now the WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring lightweight champion with mega fights and mega pay-days around the corner in what is set to be a monumental 2022 for the new lightweight boxing king.
CRICKET – Australia Wins the T20 World Cup!!!
This was incredible! Coming into the tournament only ranked 6th in the world, and with a limited warm-up, the Australian team grew from strength to strength throughout the tournament. Advancing to the knockout stages off the back of an inspired performance by David Warner, the Australians remained composed against Pakistan and dominated New Zealand in the final. Incredible performances from Mitch Marsh, Josh Hazelwood and Mathew Wade catapulted Australia into an extraordinary victory, winning the tournament for the first time ever!
FOOTBALL – Italy Win the Euros!!!
After waiting an extra year, the 2020 Euros eventually took place this year, with Italy claiming an iconic victory against England at Wembley. The tournament so the failure of favourites France and Belgium, the rise of England and Italy, and various dark horses such as Denmark. The Italian team rode a historic win streak and, although conceding early in the final thanks to Luke Shaw, clawed their way back into the contest and found an equaliser through Bonucci. Dramatically, the game went to penalties, with England’s young stars such as Rashford, Sancho and Saka unable to remain composed, with Italy claiming victory.
F1 – The Best Formula One Season Of All Time!!!
As a motorsport fan, it doesn’t get any better than this year’s formula one season. A gripping title battle, numerous fan favourites achieving success, and a calendar that saw the teams travel to a vast array of tracks, keeping the drivers (and fans) on their toes. Firstly, I have to give a special mention to Daniel Ricciardo’s incredible victory in the Italian GP at Monza. Then, I have to talk about the championship fight between 7-time Champion Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The two heavyweights of the current F1 Era, Mercedes and Red Bull, went head to head throughout a season riddled in drama, controversy and incredible races! A huge congrats to Max Verstappen and the Red Bull team, and I can’t wait to see the two racing again next year!
MOTOGP – Fabio Quartararo Wins the Title for France!!!
It was a season of redemption for Yamaha, who imploded in the second half of the 2020 season, opening the door for Suzuki and Joan Mir to claim the title. However, there was no implosion this year as Mr Consistent Fabio Quartararo maintained his lead of the competition and claimed the title with 2 full races to go. Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller put up a commendable fight for Ducati but ultimately failed at the key moments to capitalise on high-scoring points positions, with too many crashes for the team allowing Quartararo to continue extending his advantage. And, a very special mention to Valentino Rossi, who retired at the end of the season, wrapping up one of the greatest MotoGP careers of all time.
NBA – Glory for the Milwaukee Bucks!!!
In front of a deafening home crowd and over 60,000 people cheering outside, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns to win the 2021 NBA Finals in 6 games and capture the franchise’s first NBA Championship in 50 years! Led by their franchise star and finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team overpowered the Suns after many attempts in previous seasons to achieve NBA glory. The Suns were commendable, with many ruling them out of contention before the season began, but found the perfect balance of the experienced Chris Paul with the youth of Devin Booker to transform their season. Still, it wasn’t enough, and the Bucks claimed glory for the people of Milwaukee.
NFL – Tom Brady is the GOAT!!!
Arguably, Tom Brady could’ve retired after leaving the New England Patriots, and he would still be considered the Greatest Of All Time. However, he made the bold decision to risk his legacy with a move to the underperforming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the end, he made it look like a simple decision. A dominant season culminated in a composed, efficient and spectacular post-season campaign, which saw the team outplay the Kansas City Chiefs in the Superbowl. Brady was almost perfect throwing the ball, linking up with veteran and former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski to produce another victory for the GOAT.
OLYMPICS – Swimming Gold for Australia!!!
It has been incredibly difficult to decide on my favourite moment of the Olympics Games. There were many standout individual performances such as Elaine Thompson’s 100m victory and numerous team victories like Canada’s win in the Women’s Football. However, the Olympics started with a bang in the pool, and it was the Australians who turned the nation on fire! Sitting at home (as lockdown was in full swing), supporting athletes such as Emma McKeon and Ariane Titmus dominate in the pool set the tone for Australia’s Olympic campaign and was a huge reason for Australia’s overall success in Tokyo!
UFC – The Wonder of Kamaru Usman!!!
2021 was undoubtedly the best year of UFC action we’ve ever seen! The rise of young stars such as Ian Garry, Paddy Pimblett and Jiri Prochazka will see the success of the UFC continue for years to come. But, it was the championship fights that continued to steal the show! Brandon Moreno, Rose Namajunas and Francis Ngannou defeated their division’s respective champions to claim the belt. But still, nothing can come past the year of Kamaru Usman. 3 fights, 3 outstanding victories against some of the best opponents the welterweight division has ever seen. He is now the number 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and if he decides to continue competing, it will only be a matter of time before he is seriously considered as the greatest UFC fighter of all time!
Well, there you have it! My Top 10 Sporting Moments of 2021 with only 1 representative from each sport! There is so much to look forward to in 2022! The FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Winter Olympics, Cricket World Cup, and new domestic competitions – the world of sport never sleeps!
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