The year is almost over, and on the way to it, the world has seen some tremendous sporting action. Following the chaos COVID-19 wreaked throughout the sporting world, action has resumed in 2021 and gifted sports fans with memorable events and moments. Below is a look at some of the ones that will have engraved themselves deep into the memories of fans around the world.
Super Bowl 55
In February 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers strode out onto the gridiron to do battle against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. The Chiefs had been the favorites to win, and many saw the game as something of a battle between the quarterbacks, with young and dynamic Patrick Mahomes lining up behind the offensive line for the Chiefs, and the veteran Tom Brady doing the same for the Buccaneers. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Buccaneers were in fine form and sailed to victory 31-9.
The game wasn’t just about the victory, though. Super Bowl 55 saw several records made. The Buccaneers became the first team to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium. The result made Brady the first player to win seven Super Bowl titles, but even before that he had made a record by being the oldest player to play in the biggest game in American sport. Not only that, but he also became MVP for a record fifth time.
Conor “The Notorious” McGregor vs Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier 3
Out in the brutal world of cage fighting, July 2021 saw warriors Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier meet in the center of the Octagon at UFC 264 for their third fight. Each fighter had a victory under their belt from one of their two previous encounters, making this one the decider.
Poirier rewarded the faith of anyone who laid their money down on him when they bet on his odds of winning that night. Whereas sportsbooks had set McGregor at around +110 on the moneylines, they had “The Diamond” as the favorite at -130. Poirier walked away from the winner after “The Notorious” was unable to continue due to a broken ankle sustained during the fight. The writing had already been on the wall, though. Poirier had dominated McGregor through the battle.
Tokyo Olympics 2021
Perhaps the most memorable highlight of the Tokyo Olympics, which took place in July and ran into August, was the fact the Games went ahead at all. The adversity of the year before had forced all the athletes to dig deep just to even make it to Tokyo.
Other memorable moments include the debut of skateboarding as an Olympic sport, not to mention proof the Olympic spirit was alive and well. In the men’s high jump, rather than deciding gold over a jump-off, Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim agreed to tie for gold. It was a heart-warming sporting moment that raised smiles around the world.
“The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury vs “The Bronze Bomber” Deontay Wilder 3
McGregor and Poirier weren’t the only ones who had a trilogy to settle. Heavyweight boxers Tyson “The Gypsy King” and “The Bronze Bomber” Deontay Wilder had serious beef. Their first fight had ended in a controversial draw, and their second fight had seen Fury stop Wilder in the seventh round by technical knockout (TKO). The two had decided on a third fight to decide between on all reasonable doubt who was the better boxer.
The boxers, the fans, and the wider world all got their answer in October when the two heavyweights engaged in all-out war in the ring at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. Wilder managed to drop Fury twice during the bout, but Fury got up to fight on, and fight on he did, with a clubbing right hand that sent Wilder to the canvass and ended the fight.
NBA finals: Bucks vs Suns
In the NBA finals, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns treated basketball fans and spectators to plenty of action. The Suns got off to a flying start and looked as if they were going to have things all their way when they took the first two games in the series with 118 points each game.
The Bucks, however, weren’t going to just hand it over to them. The Suns’ fine finals form must have ignited a serious fire deep within the boys from Milwaukee. The Bucks shut down the Suns’ offense, and in Game 6 the Phoenix team finished on 98 points.
In the fightback from the Bucks, one player was exceptionally instrumental: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks forward, returning from injury, put in a good performance in the first game, but no one could have predicted the dominance he’d display in the rest of the series. In Games 2 and 3, he put at least 40 points on the board; Game 4, he executed a block that would help the Bucks bring the series back to 2-2; and his dunk in Game 5 after Jrue Holiday’s steal pushed the team out in front in the series.
Game 6? Oh, he posted 50 points, hitting a career high. The Bucks won the game 108-98 and took home their first championship in 50 years.
This year has seen some big sporting events, with all the drama and excitement they entail, and 2022 shall be no different. Major events you might want to follow include the 2022 Winter Olympics, in February, in Beijing; the MBA All Star Game, also in February; and the FA Cup, in the UK’s Premiership, in May.