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Goodbye 2016 and thanks for the sporting memories


review

Goodbye 2016 and thanks for the sporting memories

2016 was jammed-packed full of sporting thrills and spills.

After a season of Mercedes domination in Formula One Nico Rosberg finally emerged from the shadows of his championship-winning father Keke to add another world driver’s title to the family collection.

With nine race wins and following an intense battle with teammate Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg climbed to the top step of the season-long podium.

It would be his first and last F1 title as five days after his exploit the 31-year-old German announced his retirement from the sport, ending his career at the top.

Record-breaking Marquez

This year saw Marc Marquez become the youngest ever rider to win a third MotoGP world title.

After his back to back successes in 2013 and ’14, the 23-year-old dominated the 2016 campaign.

He won five races, finished runner-up four times and completed the third step of the podium on three occasions over the course of the 18-race season.

With victory at the Japanese Grand Prix in October, the Honda rider comfortably sealed the crown with three races to spare.

Murray magic

For Andy Murray, 2016 was a stand out year. The Scott won a career best nine tour titles from 13 finals he contested and was runner-up at both the French and Australian Opens.

He won three Masters 1000 events, in Italy, Shanghai and Paris.

His winning haul included a second Wimbledon crown while he also became the first player to retain his Olympic title during the Rio Games.

Murray reached the pinnacle of the sport in November when he overtook Novak Djokovic to become world number one for the first time.

He cemented that ranking by beating Djokovic to clinch the season-ending World Tour Finals for his 24th consecutive victory.

A truly remarkable year for the 29-year old.

Froome Froome

It was a memorable year for Chris Froome also as he became Britain’s first three time winner of the Tour de France.

The Team Sky rider clinched the race in 2013 and 2015 and is now the first man to successfully defend his title in more than 20 years – legally that is.

He joins an elite club of now eight riders to have won cycling’s most prestigious race three or more times.

Victory at last

Team USA headed into the Ryder Cup in September at Hazeltine National in Minnesota looking for their first win in eight years.

The Americans got off to a blistering start and whitewashed the Europeans on the opening day for a 4-0 lead.

A comeback akin to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ was just out of reach for the Europeans as Davis Love’s men would finish the prestigious biannual contest with an emphatic 17-11 victory and there pride restored.

State-side

There were two notable milestones in American sport in 2016.

For the first time in franchise history, the Cleveland Cavaliers became NBA Champions. LeBron James’ team-mates took home the Larry O’Brien Trophy after staging a superb comeback from 3-1 down to defeat the previously invincible Golden State Warriors 4-3 in the finals.

Although it was the Cavs’ first title, it was number three for the impressive James.

Elsewhere stateside – The Chicago Cubs also came back from a three games to one deficit to edge out the Cleveland Indians and win the 2016 baseball World Series.

It was their first appearance in the showpiece match since 1945 and first win since 1908. The team finally rid themselves of the 71-year old Curse of the Billy Goat and they did it in style.

Dark day in football

Tragedy struck the football world in November when a plane carrying members of Brazilian first division side Chapecoense crashed in Colombia.

The little-known team outside of Brazil were travelling to Medellin to face Atlético Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana – the biggest game in the club’s history.

Of the 77 people on board, 71 lost their lives including 19 players. Three members of the team survived the crash.

It was a tragedy that left a town, a nation and an entire sport in shock.

The loss of legends

The year 2016 has seen the deaths of a host of much-loved figures from sport but their lasting memories live on.

Johan Cruyff, one of football’s greatest players and most influential and visionary coaches, died aged 68 after a five-month battle with lung cancer.

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer, whose immense popularity drew a legion of fans to the game at the dawn of the age of televised sport passed away aged 87. At his death, the American ranked fifth on the PGA Tour’s list of all-time tournament victories.

The world of sport also said goodbye to Muhammad Ali, who at the height of his career, was known for his dancing feet and quick fists as well as his ability, as he put it, to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he held the heavyweight title a record three times, and Sports Illustrated named him the top sportsman of the 20th century.

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