The SportingJournal

Best sporting moments of 2012

No matter what sport or code you follow, everyone can agree 2012 has been a pretty fantastic year of athletic endeavours.

The Sporting Journal staff writers share their favourite moments of the year.

Pearson wins Gold for Australia. Credit: Getty Images

Pearson wins Gold for Australia. Credit: Getty Images

Jacob Arnott – Sally Pearson and Mo Farah

Arguably Australia’s best sporting performance for 2012 came from Sally Pearson.

A shy girls from the Gold Coast who grew into Australia’s best female athlete, Pearson added Olympic Gold medalist to her collection of achievements which already included a World Championship.

Sally made it clear she was going to stay cool, calm and collected, a formula that worked a treat until moments after she crossed the finish line and nerves kicked in as she waited to see if she had achieved Olympic glory.

Pearson started strong and secured a good early lead, however Dawn Harper who had beat Pearson in her last meet before the Olympics, reigned in Sally’s lead to inches at the line forcing the final decision to be confirmed by a photo finish. A tense few seconds felt like hours, before the final announcement sent Sally to the ground crying of joy, a long way from the excited 21 year-old that won a silver in Beijing.

Meanwhile, a little known Somalian immigrant transformed a nation’s dreams into a reality. Team Great Britain’s Mo Farah endured 25 laps around London’s stadium of dreams to win a double gold in the 10,000m and 5,000m long-distant events.

A stellar 10km effort of 27 minutes and 30 seconds was enough for Farah to edge over training partner, American Galen Rupp to win Great Britain’s first Gold Medal in the long distance event.

His efforts sent the United Kingdom into a frenzy, at a Westfield mall on the outer of the Olympic Precinct was the perfect example. Thousands of shoppers paused in-front of many big screens to scream and shout their support for their Mo in the final lap of his race.

Tom Richardson – King James is crowned

It took nine seasons, two failed NBA Finals appearances and years of public and media scrutiny, but LeBron James finally became a king with a crown.

His triple double in the Game 5 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder not only ensured LeBron the ring he had coveted for so many years, but also silenced his many doubters.

It stopped the name-calling. It stopped the jokes.

That’s what I found most impressive about LeBron. Not the MVP’s or any other awards he received, but how he kept pushing through all matter of diversity only to come out as an NBA Champion.

Now we just have to wait and see if he can live up to the “not one, not two, not three . . .” NBA Championships speech.

Aimee Dawson – The ‘Harrison Hoist’

My most memorable sporting moment of the year was the introduction of the ‘Harrison Hoist’ into the game of netball by the ANZ Championship team, the Northern Mystics. This involves one defending player lifting their team-mate in the air to deflect the shot on goal.

The move was successfully attempted for the first time at the Melbourne Vixens v Northern Mystics match in Melbourne earlier this year, and many teams have attempted it since.

The move also rocketed netball into the mainstream media, gaining a wealth of attention from the public, questioning whether it is in the spirit of the game of netball. The move is an exciting innovation for the game of netball and is thrilling to watch live, when successfully performed.

Tom Decent – Usain Bolt

It was the question on everybody’s mind as the world’s most enthralling athlete touched down in London ahead of the XXX Olympiad.

Can Usain do it again?

An injury plagued preparation before the Games was compounded by Bolt’s shock second placing in the Jamaican trials behind his training partner and junior of three years, Johan Blake.

Sceptics were adamant that Bolt’s Beijing brilliance was a one off, and that sprinters seldom can back it up four years down the track.

All the big guns of Bolt, Blake, Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay recorded scintillating times in the heats and semis, which only increased tension in one of the most hyped races in recent years.

A two-horse race was now more tightly contested than most thought.

When the big race came, Bolt was his exuberant self; unperturbed about the fact that he was about to run the race of his life. Billions of onlookers were glued to their TV sets for 10 seconds. After a charismatically slow start, at the 60 metre mark Bolt began his acceleration en route to an Olympic Record of 9.63 seconds and his fourth gold medal in front of a vociferous crowd.

Looking back, who could honestly have backed against the relaxed Jamaican, who seems to take life as seriously as a Siamese cat?

Bolt’s status as one of the greatest Olympians of all time was cemented in the following days with victory in the 200m and 4x100m relay.

Only time will tell whether Bolt will be held in higher regard than nine-time gold medallist and sprinting pioneer Carl Lewis. However, his efforts on Sunday August 5 will be spoken about nostalgically for many years to come.

Anna Meares & Victoria Pendleton embrace as Anna wins Gold. Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty

Anna Meares & Victoria Pendleton embrace as Anna wins Gold. Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty

Ahmed Essof – Anna Meares

It has been a fantastic year of sport and as a football journalist, when my editor asked me to pick my favourite sporting moment of the year, I immediately began to think of a footballing moment. I thought about Manchester City winning the EPL title. Brisbane Roar making it two championships in a row. Lionel Messi breaking the record for most goals in a sporting year.

However, I found that there was still a moment that kept coming up, -Anna Meares winning gold at London 2012.

Meares lined up against long time rival and heavy favourite Victoria Pendleton in the gold medal event in the women’s sprint in London.

Meares won the first of the three races to take a 1-0 lead. It was a close win and many expected Pendleton to fight back in the next race. This was not to be the case, however as Meares stormed to victory in race two to take an unassailable lead and win the gold medal for Australia.

It was an amazing achievement and much deserved reward for an athlete who epitomises the “never give in” attitude.

It was a night that will live long in the history books and one that stands out for this journalist as the best sporting moment of 2012 – only just, though.

Patty Mills celebrates after his last gasp basket. Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty

Patty Mills celebrates after his last gasp basket. Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty

Erin Byrnes – Opals and Boomers buzzer beaters

So many of the moments talked about by TSJ writers have involved the Olympics – with good reason. The pinnacle of sporting excellence, the London Games delivered some incredible results that will long live in sporting folklore.

However, my two favourite moments (it was impossible to split them) come not from gold medal success, but in the form of dual buzzer beaters Australian Opal Belinda Snell and Australian Boomer Patty Mills.

Snell hit a miracle three quarter bomb to send the Aussies into overtime against France – and it’s unlucky the Opals ultimately lost the game, or it’d be talked about in higher esteem.

I’ve written at length about Mills shot here.

As much as I loved seeing Anna and Sally take what was theirs, for me, there’s nothing better than the thrill and emotion and adrenaline of a last second win.

I watched the Boomers game on my laptop in one of the (very quiet) media centres in London, surrounded by a few dozen foreign journalists with my headphones in. When Mills lit it up from the arc, I’ve never yelled so loud or fist pumped so hard in my life.

 

 

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