With 2016 drawing to a close, this year gave us some of the greatest sporting moments in history. From the high of watching an emotional Fiji team take home Rugby Sevens gold in Rio to the not-so-pretty Nick Kyrgios’ on-court dummy spit, the last 12 months have certainly produced the goods. In the spirit of reflection, we’ve curated our greatest sporting moments of 2016 just in time for the new year.
Collingwood Football Club makes the cut in 2016 with the announcement that they’d be the first AFL club to launch their very own netball team ahead of the inaugural National Netball League season in 2017. Featuring a star-studded line-up with the likes of Sharni Layton, April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion, the Magpies will launch into battle in February, 2017 and take on the likes of Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, Adelaide Thunderbirds, West Coast Fever and fellow newcomers Sunshine Coast Lightning. The icing on the cake came in the form of the announcement by Netball Australia a week later that a new landmark pay deal had been struck, ensuring that netball sits firmly atop the list of Australia’s highest-paid women’s sports. And for those reasons this makes number 10 on the greatest sporting moments of 2016.
In a history-making announcement, the AFL launched its first ever Australian Rules womens league. The AFLW will feature 6 home and away rounds, with eight clubs announced to contest the inaugural 2017 season. They include:
-> Brisbane Lions
-> Greater Western Sydney
-> Western Bulldogs
It’s a great move for the continued growth of Australian Rules football and we’re really excited to see the girls in action throughout the 2017 season. Go get ‘em girls!
For all the wrong reasons, we couldn’t go past Nick Kyrgios’ performance at the Shanghai Tennis Masters. Taking on German world number 110 Mischa Zverev, Kyrgios effectively downed tools, allowing serves to whistle past him and placing zero effort into his own service points. Kyrgios quickly lost the respect of the crowd with one fan imploring with Kyrgios to “respect the game and your opponent”. This prompted the talented Aussie to stop mid–point and rebuke “You wanna come down here and play? Shut up and watch”. Hitting the media for all the wrong reasons – Kyrgios offered the following in his post-match press conference:
“I don’t owe them anything. It’s my choice. If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch. Just leave. If you’re so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why aren’t you as good as me? Why aren’t you on the tour? You want to buy a ticket? Come watch me. You know I’m unpredictable. It’s your choice. I don’t owe you anything. Doesn’t affect how I sleep at night.”
Ohhh Nick, we think it may be time to let your immense talent do the talking!
Lewis Hamilton may have taken top spot on the podium at the United States Formula 1®Grand Prix in Austin, Texas but Aussie hero Daniel Ricciardo stole the limelight with his “shoey” stunt. The ever-smiling West Australian took the decision to drink his celebratory champagne from his own sweaty racing boot and was asked in a press conference after the event why he would do such a thing?
“because, you know… Straya” replied Ricciardo.
For that succinct reason, we think Daniel Ricciardo definitely deserves his place in our 2016 greatest sporting moments. Straya.
Maryborough, Victoria – not a place synonymous with superstars on a global stage – however, former resident Matthew Dellavedova changed all that in June when he teamed with megastars Lebron James and Melbourne-born Kyrie Irving to guide the Cleveland Cavaliars to the first National Basketball Association title in their long history. Finding themselves 3-1 down to the fancied Golden State Warriors, the Cavs climbed a seemingly insurmountable mountain, twice winning at the previously impenetrable Oracle Arena to take the best of 7 series, 4-3. ‘King James’ underlined his status as the games’ best player with consecutive 41 point games to force the decider, before his triple double of 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists delivered the city of Cleveland its first championship in any major sport since 1964 and a spot in our greatest sporting moments of 2016. As for our Delly, his minutes were limited throughout the series but he certainly gave the Cavs the usual 110% when he did hit the floor. However, as this picture shows, we reckon he saved his best for the championship celebrations! Superstar.
In a year of broken droughts, we’ve never seen such a rank under-dog defy such huge odds (5000-1) before and we don’t think we ever will again. To believe, in a 38 game season, that the Foxes could outlast the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea & Arsenal, would be to believe that we could win the Indianapolis 500 on a moped. With their entire squad value being under half of what Manchester United just paid for Paul Pogba, most people had Leicester City pegged for potential relegation, including the experts. But Italian manager Claudio Ranieri is no stranger to the demands of EPL football and he concocted the perfect blend of defensive solidity, midfield creativity and forward firepower to steer the Foxes to their first Premier League title, after just 132 years of trying!!
Unlike Leicester’s achievement, the famous Chicago Cubs had won a title before. Like the Foxes though, they still had to wait more than a century to triumph once more! 108 agonising years of mediocrity, near misses and sheer bad luck had generations of Cub fans believing they’d never witness the ultimate success. And like the Cavaliers above, they also clawed their way back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians and capture their 3rd pennant overall and their first since the 1908 season. Versatile Cub, journeyman Ben Zobrist was named World Series MVP for a performance which included a 10th inning double in game 7 which put his side ahead for good. The 71 year ‘Curse of the billie Goat’ was lifted and the city of Chicago celebrated after what was quoted as “one of the greatest game 7’s ever played” and makes the cut this year as one of the greatest sporting moments of 2016.
After a 62-year drought, the Western Bulldogs brought the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Cup back to Whitten Oval, leaving diehard supporters in tears of joy and the rest of the AFL world in complete shock! Chasing just their 2nd flag in a history dating back to 1925, the Dogs rode a tidal wave of support, not just from their own fans but seemingly every neutral supporter in the land. The match hung in the balance from the first bounce till the 25 minute mark of the last quarter when Sydney Swans hearts where finally broken and the Western Bulldogs kicked 3 quick goals to defeat the gallant Swans by 22 points. Amid possibly the loudest roar (or should we say, bark?) the MCG has ever heard, the Western Bulldogs became the first team to win the flag after finishing seventh on the ladder and sparked the biggest celebration the western suburbs of Melbourne have seen since 1954. And don’t be afraid to admit it boys, the toughest of us fought back the tears as winning coach Luke Beveridge called injured skipper Bob Murphy to the podium and slung his premiership medal around the Western Bulldog champions neck. Spinetingling!
The fastest man on Earth – Usain Bolt produced yet another historic moment at the Rio Olympics successfully completing the ‘triple, triple’ – winning gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in three consecutive Olympics. Defeating the likes of American Justin Gatlin and compatriot, Yohan Blake – Bolt captivated fans with his record-breaking performance, with an explosive display of athleticism before turning on the charm, showcasing the endearing personality that has made him one of world sports most popular figures of all time. Although our list is for 2016 alone, we get the feeling his performance in Rio will be remembered as one of the greatest sporting moments we’ve ever seen.
Millions of sports fans across the globe stopped to witness Olympic history as Fiji secured their very first gold medal in any Games defeating Great Britain 43-7 in a final whitewash. Receiving a standing ovation, emotions flowed after the match where players were overwhelmed by the crowd reaction. The Fijian Prime Minister Mr Bainimarama said in a post–match interview that “As a nation, we may be small, but we are strong”. Completely elated, Mr Bainimarama announced a national holiday and encouraged all fans back in Fiji to continue the celebrations long into the weeks that followed. In a graceful display of respect and pure national pride, the Fijian gold medal takes top spot as our greatest sporting moment of 2016.
And there you have it. Our 10 greatest sporting moments for 2016. Want to be in the thick of the action for more moments in 2017? No worries, explore your world of sport today!