As the year draws to a close, we here at Sportzwiki present our viewers the Top 50 Memorable Sporting Moments of 2013 “Yes.” With one word, Lance Armstrong finally confessed to a cycling career built on performing-enhancing drugs, putting himself on a par with Canadian athlete Ben Johnson as the world’s most notorious drugs cheat. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, Armstrong ended his years of denials about systematic doping and said it would have been impossible to win one of his seven Tour de France titles without the drugs. “I am flawed,” the American said. “Deeply flawed.”
Stunned disbelief greeted the news that Oscar Pistorius, who triumphed over disability to compete with able-bodied athletes at the Olympics, had shot dead his girlfriend ReevaSteenkamp on Valentine’s Day. South Africa’s “Blade Runner”, a double amputee who uses carbon-fibre prosthetic blades to compete, will be tried for murder next year. Pistorius told a Pretoria bail hearing: “I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva.” Andy Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s champion by vanquishing Novak Djokovic in an electric final at the All England Club in July. Willed on by thousands of Union Jack-waving fans on Centre Court and millions across Britain, the Scot won tennis’s most prestigious title in straight sets. Murray told Reuters: “I know what it feels like to lose in finals, in a Wimbledon final, but now I know what it feels like to win and that’s certainly a lot better.” Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA capped an incredible comeback to retain the America’s Cup in San Francisco after a winner-takes-all showdown with Emirates Team New Zealand. Hit with a pre-match penalty that required Oracle to win 11 races on the water, the American boat appeared to be down and out at 8-1 behind. But helped by speed improvements and installing Britain’s multi Olympic champion Ben Ainslie as team tactician, Oracle reeled off race after race to win sailing’s biggest trophy.
Alex Ferguson announced his retirement. The news was not entirely unexpected but it still stunned British football. Alex Ferguson, the country’s longest-serving and most decorated football manager, announced he was retiring after more than 26 years and 1,500 matches at the helm of Manchester United. The 71-year-old Scot’s era at Old Trafford brought the northern English club 13 league titles, two European Cups, five FA Cups and four League Cups. Baseball’s greatest closer, Mariano Riveira, was reduced to tears on the mound as he brought the curtain down on a stellar 19 years in Major League Baseball. The New York crowd rose to their feet, chanting Rivera’s nickname “Mo”. “It definitely was a magic moment,” said Rivera, who rose from poverty in Panama to be one of the most revered players in America’s favourite pastime. He recorded 652 saves and served as the Yankees’ closer for 17 seasons. Russian Yelena Isinbayeva pulled off a winning leap when it mattered most to claim her third world title in front of a partisan home crowd in Moscow. The double Olympic champion was the only vaulter to jump 4.89 metres. “I’m the pole vault queen, the crowd is mine,” said the 31-year-old who then sparked controversy with comments on Russia’s anti-gay laws. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won three titles at the championships. Ending months of speculation, Tottenham Hotspur forward Gareth Bale finally put pen to paper and joined Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee of 100 million euros ($132 million). The fee eclipsed the previous record of 94 million euros that Real paid for Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009. The Welshman said Spurs would “always be in my heart” before jetting off to Madrid to take his place among the Galacticos. Boston closer Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out as the Red Sox clinched their first World Series at Fenway Park since the 1918 championship. The win came six months after the city was shocked by the deadly marathon bombings, and the Red Sox had emerged as a beacon of hope for Boston. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who won the Most Valuable Player award, said of Boston: “We stick together. It’s a family, and we fight against the world.” Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar struggled to hold back the tears after calling time on a 24-year cricket career in Mumbai, his birthplace. The “Little Master” finished his career as the sport’s most prolific international run-scorer but was unable to sign off with a century against West Indies in his 200th and final test. “My life’s been 22 yards for 24 years,” said Tendulkar who scored 15,921 test and 18,426 ODI runs. Sebastian Vettel cruised to a fourth successive Formula One title but his road to the championship hit a speed bump in Malaysia when he chose to defy his team’s orders and overtake Red Bull team mate Mark Webber. Vettel was told to stay behind Webber, with both asked to save their tyres and fuel to ensure a one-two finish. Vettel said: “I am the black sheep right now … all I can say is apologies to Mark.” The relationship between the two deteriorated beyond repair.
Bayern Munich won the UEFA Champions League by defeating Bundesliga rival Borussia Dortmund 2–1. This was Bayern’s tenth final, their first European Cup title in twelve years, and their fifth overall. In the process, they completed a treble following their Bundesliga and German Cup titles. The Super Bowl blackout, which delayed the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers for 34 minutes at the start of the third quarter, was at first somewhat scary, then confusing, then totally surreal, as the players stretched out on the darkened Superdome field, waiting for the game to resume. The Baltimore Ravens ultimately defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34–31 to win their second Super Bowl title. IPL Spot-Fixing Scandal and its aftermath. Some tapped phones, a few casual conversations, some casual bets, some bundles of notes and then unravelled Indian cricket’s second tryst with spot-fixing. It began with the arrests of Sreesanth, AjitChandila, AnkitChavan, all of the Rajasthan Royals. Then came the arrests of actor VindooDara Singh and Chennai Super Kings’ erstwhile CEO GurunathMeiyappan and Rajasthan co-owner Raj Kundra. Many more, including umpire AsafRauf, were implicated in this episode of greed and deceit. A handful of BCCI officials quit. Others presided over a farcical inquiry that cleared Meiyappan and Kundra. What came off it but a sport with no credibility left in it? Wrestling fans were shocked when the IOC announced it was dropping the sport from the Olympic programme because of its failure to modernize after decades of waning interest. Wrestling responded by overhauling its rules, administration and gender equality policy and was reinstated for the 2020 Games. The sport featured in the ancient Olympics as well as every modern Games, apart from 1900. France won their first U-20 World Cup, and thus became the first nation to win all five FIFA 11-a-side men’s titles (FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup, FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, and Olympic gold medal). After the Toronto Maple Leafs opened a 4-1 lead against the Boston Bruins, in the third period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Bruins looked cooked. After all, no team in NHL history had ever won a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period. Things looked even bleaker with under 90 seconds left in the game, with Boston still trailing by two goals. But then another miracle on ice broke out: the Bruins scored twice in the span of 31 seconds. Milan Lucic punched in a shot that deflected off Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer, then Patrice Bergeron rifled in the game-tying goal from in front of the blue line. Bergeron also scored the game-winner in overtime. Boston’s TD Garden – and pubs – exploded. It was another great moment in Boston sports’ history, and a month after the marathon bombings, a celebration the city sorely needed. The Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Crimson Tide was tied with arch-rival Auburn, 28-28, with one second left in this year’s Iron Bowl. Alabama, two-time defending national champs, sat atop the rankings once again, and was riding a 15-game winning streak. The game seemed destined for overtime, but Saban decided to let a freshman backup kicker, Adam Griffith, try a 57-yarder for the win. Griffith’s kick – just the third field goal attempt of his college career –fell short, right into the hands of Auburn’s Chris Davis, who was parked in the end zone. His dash–more than 100 yards–into the end zone won the game for Auburn, crushed Alabama’s hopes for a three-peat, sent the stadium into hysterics, and had fans calling it the greatest second in college football history.
The final race of the NASCAR regular season at Richmond International Raceway launched the sport into a mess that fans won’t soon forget. It all began when Clint Bowyer spun in a suspicious manner with fewer than 10 laps to go while Ryan Newman led and teammate Martin Truex Jr. looked to be on the outside of the Chase. The caution was followed by Newman losing the lead, Bowyer taking unnecessary time on pit road and MWR’s third car of Brian Vickers being told to pit and drive slower than normal. Fans and other competitors fumed. By the end of the next week, Truex Jr. had been dropped from the Chase, Bowyer had lost points, MWR was fined a hefty $300,000 and both Newman and Jeff Gordon were added back to the Chase in executive maneuvering by NASCAR CEO Brian France. The cost grew for MWR when it lost NAPA Auto Parts as a sponsor, forcing Truex Jr. to leave the team in 2014. India won a total of 9 medals (2 golds, 4 silvers, 3 bronzes) at the 2013 FITA Archery World Cup, with DeepikaKumari being the highlight for the Indian team. A year before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host country made the loudest soccer statement of the year. Spain entered the final of this year’s Confederations Cup, in many ways a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, having gone 29 straight matches without losing, dating back three years. But ninety seconds into the championship game, Spain gave up a goal to Brazil; later in the half, Brazilian phenom Neymar sent a perfectly-placed left-footed rocket into the corner of the net, giving Brazil a 2-0 lead over the defending World Cup champs. It was Neymar’s seventh goal in nine matches. Brazil won the game, played in Rio, 3-0. Neymar has said “it’s almost obligation” for Brazil to win the World Cup. Tina Maze of Slovenia became the first Slovenian to win an overall World Cup title at the 2013 Alpine Skiing World Cup. Maze broke various statistical records in this season, including the highest number of podiums in a season, highest number of top 5 finishes, highest number of points after first 10 races, largest percent of possible points won, and the highest margin over the runner-up.
Chelsea won their first Europa League by beating Benfica 2-1 in the final, becoming the fourth club, after Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich, to have won all three major UEFA club titles. They also became the first team to win the Champions League and UEFA Europa League in consecutive seasons. San Antonio’s old guard – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili – were each just 20 seconds away from what might have been their last chance at an NBA title (Duncan has won 4 championships with the Spurs; Parker and Ginobili have each won three). The Spurs led Game 6 of the NBA finals, 95-92. If they could just stop the Heat from hitting a three-pointer, they could be raising the championship banner in Miami, and abruptly end LeBron James’ dream season, in which he won his second straight MVP award. James missed a three, but Chris Bosh jumped over two Spurs to grab the offensive rebound. (Duncan, one of the greatest rebounders of all-time, wasn’t in the game). Bosh dished the ball out to Ray Allen, the man who has hit more three-pointers than any other player in NBA history. Allen backpedaled behind the three-point line, and hit the corner shot, tying the game. The Heat won in overtime, and took the deciding game seven to clinch its second straight championship. India won the ICC Champions Trophy. With key senior players missing and the storm of spot-fixing raging at home, MS Dhoni took an inexperienced Indian team to the UK. ShikharDhawan and Rohit Sharma emerged a force to reckon with, RavindraJadeja’s stars were on the rise, and the team combined to produce a flawless effort that helped India win the Champions Trophy for the first time. Adam Scott won in a playoff against Ángel Cabrera with a birdie on the second playoff hole, becoming the first Australian to win the Masters Tournament. Nigeria won its third Africa Cup of Nations championship with a 1–0 victory over Burkina Faso in the final. On four separate occasions, Diana Nyad had tried to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Miami without a protective shark cage. On three of those attempts, she was over 60 years old. Rough seas and jellyfish stings and asthma attacks had thwarted her prior trips; so in September, she said she was giving it one last shot. This time, 53 hours after leaping into the ocean in Havana, she arrived safely on shore in Key West, an inspiration to people of all ages. It wasn’t easy; Nyad started vomiting along the way, and sang lullabies to help her relax. “I decided this year to use a mantra,” Nyad told Good Morning America after it was over. “And the phrase I decided to use was ‘Find a way.’” Marcel Hirscher of Austria won the 2013 Alpine Skiing World Cupin Sölden, Austria, his second consecutive title and became the first male to achieve this feat since Stephan Eberharter in 2002 and 2003.
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