The year 2016 produced a lot of remarkable sporting moments the world over. From the unimaginable triumph of Leicester City in the Barclays Premier League, to the comeback win
From the unimaginable triumph of Leicester City in the Barclays Premier League, to the comeback win of Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals, to the plane crash that claimed the lives of players of Brazilian club, Chapecoense, to the unbelievable record-breaking achievement of Michael Phelps at the Rio Olympics, 2016 was the year of ground-breaking moments in the sporting arena.
Here are the top ten sporting moments of 2016:
- Leicester City: The fearless foxes
Leicester City overcame an unthinkable 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League, for the first time in their 132-year history
The previous season, the Foxes as they are called, struggled to remain in the League as they barely survived relegation in the final stages of the season.
Their motto: Fearless, proved to be through as they defied all odds to win the 2015/16 season with a whopping ten points above their nearest challengers, Arsenal.
The Foxes lost only three games the entire season, twice to second placed, Arsenal, and to Liverpool at Anfield.
The pair of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were pivotal to Leicester City’s heroics.
Vardy scored 24 goals while Mahrez added 17.
Claudio Ranieri’s men proved bookmakers wrong, as no one expected a team that just struggled to come out of relegation the previous season, to emerge champions, the next year.
2. King James does it for Cleveland Cavaliers
The word on the streets in America as Cleveland Cavaliers faced then Champions, Golden State Warriors, was will LeBron James finally win an NBA title with his home club, the Cavaliers?
James left the Cavaliers in 2010 to join the Miami Heats, where he won the franchise back-to-back (2012, 2013).
James had previously led the Cavs to their first ever NBA final in 2007, where they lost to San Antonio Spurs.
Carrying the weight off the city of Cleveland, James squared up against a Warriors team inspired by Steph Curry.
In the first four games of the finals, the Cavs were down 1-3 to the Warriors, and no team in NBA history had ever won a final after behind down by that margin in Game 4.
But, James led his troops as they blew the Warriors apart in Game 5 at their home court, the Oracle Arena, 112-97.
Game 6 saw the Cavs win in Cleveland 115-101 as they pushed the final to Game 7, to be held at the Oracle Arena, home of the Warriors.
In Game 7, James came out guns blazing, as he recorded a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to give the Cavs their first ever NBA title.
3. Nico Rosberg drives to first F1 title
Nico Rosberg won his first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix title beating Mercedes teammate, Louis Hamilton to second place
Rosberg secured 385 points, winning nine races in the process.
Rosberg followed the success of his father in 1982 and became the second son of a champion to become champion himself, a feat previously achieved by Graham and Damon Hill.
In the final race of the season, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Rosberg needed to only come second, to etch his name in the annals of history.
In a very tough race, where he faced a lot of challenges, the German driver finished second in a time of 01:38:04, gathering 18 points, enough to make him the 2016 F1 Champion.
4. Phelps swims to Olympic record
You can’t just both admire and respect the achievements of American swimmer, Michael Phelps.
Phelps first came to international limelight at Sydney 2000, when he was chosen for the US swim team at the age of just 15 – the youngest American swimmer selected for a Games in almost 70 years.
He won no medals at the championship, but it was clear that Sydney was just a learning experience for Phelps, who 16 years later became the greatest Olympian of all time.
In Athens 2004, Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals to announce himself as a force to reckon with on the global stage.
At the Beijing 2008 Games, Phelps won 8 gold medals, as he broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.
In London 2012, Phelps won 4 gold and 2 silver medals, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won 5 gold medals and 1 silver. This made him the most successful athlete of the Games with 28 medals, 23 of which are gold.
5. Simone Biles dazzles the world
19-year-old American gymnast, Simone Biles, took the world by storm at the Rio Olympics.
With her gracious and flexible frame, Biles won 4 gold medals at the Rio Olympics, as she set an American record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Games.
She clinched the Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medalist. She was also part of the gold medal-winning team dubbed the “Final Five” at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
She also won the bronze medal for the balance beam during the Olympics.
Biles, who has won a combined total of nineteen Olympic and World Championship medals, became America’s most decorated gymnast, taking over from Shannon Miller, who had held the record since 1996.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.