Memorable Moments in Sports 2016/2017
2016 and 2017 saw many great moments that should go down in sporting history but some stand out more than others for various reasons. For sporting fans there are plenty of memorable events that will be talked about for years to come. 2016 was a year that saw many great athletes pass, some retire and others excel.
2016 saw the L.A. Lakers basketball team player Kobe Bryant play his final season on court. While the Lakers had what some consider to be their worst season ever Kobe still managed to end his 20 year career by going out on a high note. It had been 7 years since he had last played a 60 point game but on that final night he managed to do it again.
Also in 2016 World class tennis player Serena Williams made history by winning her 22nd major title, something had only been achieved previously by Steffi Graf. Serena’s opponent in this historical moment at Wimbledon was Angelique Kerber, who had beaten Serena and taken the No. 1 World ranking in the Australian Open final. With a mighty slam Serena defeated Angelique and gained her place in tennis history.
Not all sporting moments were victorious in 2016 as evidenced when Master golfer Jordan Spieth, dubbed the next best thing to Tiger Woods, stepped up to play the 18th hole at Augusta. With the lure of joining golfing greats Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as back-to-back winners at August, Spieth was 5 shots ahead when he reached the 18th. Who knows what caused Spieth’s shot to fall far short of his goal but it was his undoing. With a three-shot win Danny Willett was the victor and Spieth was left shaking his head in disbelief.
What would any year of sport be without a mention of the Super Bowl? 2016’s football grand finale game had Peyton Manning on the opposite end of the field to his rival Tom Brady in what was to be the last time the two would face off against each other. Though the game itself was not particularly noteworthy Peyton Manning made one final run in his winning style, despite it being the worst season of his career. It was a heartwarming ending to an illustrious career for Manning, and put an end to any possibility of regrets at the way his career came to an end.
Young swimmer Katie Ledecky spent 2016 breaking records in the pool. In Rio she made modern history by winning the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events with what appeared to be effortless style. She also added a gold and silver medal for her participation in the relays causing her to be the most decorated American woman swimmer at any Olympic games. Katie had achieved not 1, not 2 but ten fastest times in history in the 800 but it wasn’t enough for the young swimmer. She dominated the women’s swimming events, being unbeatable, leaving her opponents far in her wake. The question on viewers lips wasn’t whether Katie would win or not but by how much.
The Rio Olympics saw another swimmer make history as Michael Phelps entered the Olympic pool again. Dubbed the ‘winningest Olympic athlete in history’ Michael proved that he was capable of competing against younger athletes and still come out on top. At the grand old age (for Olympic swimmers at least) of 31 Michael added another 5 gold medals to his already amazing collection. When questioned whether this marked his official comeback Michael announced that in fact the opposite was true. Retiring on a high note would give Michael the chance to look back at his career with no regrets.
With 2017 half over one of the highlights of the year so far was the announcement that 40 year old Floyd Mayweather is to face 28 year old Conor McGregor in the square ring, something enthusiasts have been waiting to hear. The match has been predicted to be the most lucrative in the history of combat sports but there is some concern that the match may be lacking the audience promoters are hoping for. One thing is certain; the fight is certainly happening on social media with McGregor taking some harsh shots at Mayweather already. Of course most of the jibes are just hype but it all adds to the anticipation for when the match finally happens.
Sadly 2016 was also the year we bid farewell to several sporting legends, among them boxer Muhammad Ali who had been struggling with ill health for many years prior to his passing. Though his death may have been expected by some it was still a passing that saddened not only boxing fans but sports enthusiasts in general. 2016 was also the year that the great golfer Arnold Palmer passed, leaving behind him some great golfing moments created during his amazing career. These two legends were joined by Canadian Ice Hockey player Gordie Howe, American sports reporter Craig Sager, and sports journalist John Saunders.
With so many great moments happening during 2016 and the early part of 2017 it can be extremely difficult to isolate just a few. Almost every sport has some highlights that are memorable and some that are likely to be forgotten the minute the game is over. There are even some moments that participants wish never happened and could be erased from the memories of all those who witnessed them.
Regardless of the sport if a fan watches long enough he or she will be able to recount a number of moments that stand out for them. For athletes gaining a place in the sporting Hall of Fame is the ultimate prize and being remembered for great sportsmanship, skill and endurance is perhaps the stuff that legacies are made of. Certainly these great athletes can give up and coming players something to strive for. Sports greatness is not given; it is earned through a healthy dose of blood, sweat and tears.