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Top five moments for sport in 2012

Top 5 / Top 10 28 Dec 2012, 00:25 IST

2012 saw the culmination of three of the most decorated years for sports fans around the globe, that began with the FIFA World Cup taking place for the first time on the continent of Africa in 2010. 2011 saw another major sporting event in the form of the Cricket World Cup, which saw India lift the trophy on home soil in Mumbai. And 2012, has to be the grandest of them all, with European football championships being hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine, and finally the summer Olympics in London.

Records have been broken, new milestones have been set, rules have been changed and the world of sports is set to welcome yet another generation of athletes. The stars who took to the stage during the first decade of the new millennium have passed on the baton to a newer lot. We take a look at five of the most massive moments.

5. LeBron James wins his first NBA title

King James, 3 times NBA MVP, finally helped himself to the his first taste of basketball’s top savoury, after Miami Heat defeated Oklahoma City Thunder, in the the best of 7 finals, 4-1. James also took the double crown of season and Finals MVP, after scoring 26 points, making 13 assists and hauling 11 rebounds in game five.

4. Michael Phelps makes history as the most decorated Olympian ever

Phelps was the indomitable force that outshone many other spirited performances at the Beijing Olympics and was defending eight titles at the London Games. Age may have taken some shine away from his performance, but Phelps ended his career with 22 Olympic medals accumulated since the Athens Games, in 2004. Of his record haul of 22, 18 are gold, of which 8 medals were won at the Beijing Games and 3 more at London.

3. The fall of Manny Pacquiao

Filipino-American fighter Nonito Donaire saw four wins out of his four fights, as he surely stepped out of the shadow of Manny Pacquiao. But elsewhere, 2012 was surely not the year for the other feisty Filipino,who witnessed his first defeat since 2005, on June 9th, at the hands of American boxer, Timothy Bradley.

The bout reviewed by the WBO handed the win to Pacquiao, though the decision was irreversible.

But the more apparent was the second defeat to arch rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, via a 6th round knockout. As Pacquiao fell flat on the floor for the first time since 1999, culminating in a sharp drop in his rankings, numerous debates have been raised over the issue of his retirement. As popularly quoted by many, is it the beginning of the end for Manny Pacquiao?

2. The dissolution of Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was the face of the true spirit of athleticism that permeates across every sport. He was deemed to be the living embodiment of virtues every sport holds true: determination, perseverance, grit, hard work, winning mentality…

Was. Lance Armstrong now shall forever be remembered as the most impudent dope-cheat in the history of any sport.

On October 22nd, Lance Armstrong was stripped off his seven Tour de France title by the International Cycling Union and handed a lifetime cycling ban. This was courtesy the US Anti-Doping Agency, and spearheaded by Travis Tygart, who not only blew the lid off Armstrong’s doping activities, but also a number of other participating cyclists during the seven Tours.

The revoked titles were erased from the records and no other cyclist was declared a winner. Armstrong is yet to apologize or comment on the issue.

1. The year when Manchester was BLUE again

The English Premier League can keep you on your toes for the best part of the season, but for a long time, no edition of the Barclays sponsored event has gone down to the wire, as seen in 2012.

After being under the shadows of their noisy neighbours for 44 years, oil-funded Manchester City sealed their first title victory, after a win over Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad.

Even after 90 minutes, when Dzeko equalled the scores, 2-2, the Red Devils were set to begin the party for their 13th title under Sir Alex, but a late, late, late strike from Kun Aguero painted Manchester blue again.

Other honorable mentions:

  • Messi eclipses Gerd Muller’s record haul of 85 goals, vs 91 goals, for club and country.
  • West Indies win their first T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, ending a World Cup trophy draught stretching back to 1979.
  • Usain Bolt becomes the first Olympian to win back to back gold in the 100m and 200m categories.
  • Novak Djokovic plays the longest Grand Slam finals of the Open era, to win the Open of the Asia-Pacific, versus Rafael Nadal.
  • Sebastian Vettel staves off an against the odds surge from Fernando Alonso to win his third Driver’s title with Red Bull Racing.
  • Andy Murray ends the British hoodoo by beating Novak Djokovic in the US Open finals.
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