Despite the ever-looming menace that is Covid, the past year has been an unforgettable one in the world of sport. From fireworks in Formula One to Euro-mania in the summer, we’ve seen it all; thrills, spills and more controversy than you can shake a stick at. Below we take a look back at our favourite memories over the past 12 months.
Football - England do a nation proud at Euro 2020
More English penalty heartbreak, but would we have it any other way? England fans were taken on a fairytale journey this summer as Greath Southgate’s Three Lions reached the Euro 2020 final, beating old rivals Germany along the way. It wasn't meant to be though, and a nation was left heartbroken as Italy picked up their second European Championship. Roll on Qatar 2022, eh?
Motorsport - F1 season finishes in style at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The most jaw-dropping conclusion in the whole of 2021? Perhaps. The 2021 Formula One season’s grand finale saw two titans of motorsport in Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen go head-to-head right until the bitter end in the United Arab Emirates, leading to some heart-pounding moments of drama. The controversy around the safety cars won’t go away anytime soon, but the memories will last forever for F1 fanatics.
Boxing - Josh Taylor becomes undisputed champion
In May, Josh Taylor became the first boxer to ever become an undisputed four-belt champion in the super lightweight division when he edged out Jose Pedraza on the judges’ scorecards in Las Vegas. The Scottish southpaw’s historic achievement has been widely overlooked in the grand scheme of 2021 (the Tartan Tornados’ omission from the Sports Personality shortlist was a travesty), but his win was the most significant of the last 12 months from a British boxer.
UFC - Julianna Pena stuns Amanda Nunes
Amanda Nunes was on course to continue her run as the greatest female fighter in the UFC’s history but, out of nowhere, 7/1 underdog Julianna Peña pulled off the biggest upset victory we’ve seen since Matt Serra defeated George St Pierre at UFC 69 back in 2007.
Tokyo 2020 - Diving gold for Tom Daley and Matty Lee
Britain’s Olympic darling finally brought home the big one this year, winning a gold medal in the 10m synchronised diving with partner Matty Lee. The belated Tokyo 2020 games also saw the 27-year-old take home bronze in the 10m individual event, capping a banner year for Daley.
Horse-Racing - Rachael Blackmore makes Grand National history
What a year it’s been for the Irish jockey. The 32-year-old made history at the Cheltenham Festival in March when she became the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle. But she topped it at Aintree in April, when she guided Minella Times to victory in the Grand National. Blackmore became the first woman to win the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Tennis - Emma Raducanu wins the US Open
Emma Raducanu became the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1972 to win a Grand Slam title when she beat Leylah Fernandez to clinch the US Open in September The 19-year-old, who picked up the 2021 Sports Personality of the Year award earlier this month,, became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles tournament in tennis history and worldwide sensation overnight.
Snooker - 750/1 underdog Jordan Brown stuns Ronnie O’Sullivan
750/1 journeyman Jordan Brown pulled off a stunner at the Welsh Open as he stopped four-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan in his tracks in the final. The ‘Antrim Ferrari’ knocked out Mark Selby in the quarters and then Stephen Maguire in the semis to set up the match of a lifetime with the red-hot favourite. After a terrific match, the Northern Irishman held his nerve in the decider for one of snooker’s greatest ever upsets.
Rugby League - Kevin Sinfield goes the extra mile to raise over £1m for charity
The biggest hero in sport in 2021, without a shadow of a doubt. In November, former Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield raised over £1million for charity after completing a 101-mile run in 24 hours. Sinfield’s gruelling journey took him from Leicester to Leeds, with the route split into 7km sections which had to be completed in 60 minutes. The funds will go towards a new care home in the name of Sinfield's former Rhinos team-mate and friend Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019.