The best and worst of the year in sport – 12/23/2022 – Marina Izidro

In 2022, stars won titles, others retired, new ones emerged, and a war changed the course of sporting events. I list below the highlights of the year –I certainly forget some– according to the opinion and memory of this columnist.

best return: 259 days after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euros, Christian Eriksen is back playing football in the Premier League. The Dane wanted to return to the pitch to represent his country in the World Cup, and he succeeded.

We will miss you: Roger Federer and Serena Williams, two of tennis’ all-time greats, have announced their retirements. Serena’s farewell was at the US Open, where she won the first of 23 Grand Slam titles. That of the Swiss was a doubles match alongside his great rival Rafael Nadal, in the Laver Cup.

cutest scene: Federer and Nadal together holding hands and crying after the farewell match. Impossible not to get emotional.

prodigies: The future of tennis seems to be in good hands. At 19, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest tennis player to become number one in the men’s world. In the women’s category, the post is still well occupied by the Polish Iga Swiatek, 21.

Brazilians who make us proud, most disputed category: tennis player Bia Haddad Maia won two WTA tournaments in singles, was a finalist at the Australian Open in doubles and ends the year in the top 15 on both lists; judoka Mayra Aguiar became three-time world champion; Rebeca Andrade was world champion in the general individual and bronze on the ground in artistic gymnastics; Alison dos Santos, world champion in the 400 m hurdles; in the aquatic marathon, Ana Marcela Cunha was six times champion of the world circuit and won two golds and a bronze in the world championship.

superhuman feat: Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan broke his own world record in 2:01:09 as he won the Berlin Marathon for the fourth time.

sportsmanship: athletes from Ukraine. The Winter Paralympic team managed to leave the country to compete in the Beijing Games amidst the war and finished second in the medal table (29), just behind the hosts.

shame of the year: Russia and Qatar. During the Winter Olympics, there was the revelation of the positive doping test of the skater Kamila Valieva, just 15 years old. With the invasion of Ukraine, Russians lost the right to dispute and host sporting events. Qatar hosted a World Cup full of controversies, discussions about disrespect for human rights and the LGBTQIA+ community and reports of deaths of workers who built stadiums.

suitcase: French President Emmanuel Macron, who glued himself to Mbappé after his defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final. He went to console the star player on the field, on the podium –being practically ignored in both attempts–, and even made a speech in the locker room.

bigger clueless: the gold-plated meat chef, who got into photos with the Argentine players and broke protocol by holding and kissing the cup.

Party pooper: Qatar’s emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani managed to ruin the greatest moment of a football player’s career by putting a black tunic covering Messi’s kit.

And the great sporting feat goes, of course, to Argentina and their number ten.

The year 2023 will also be full of sports, with qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games and the women’s soccer World Cup. And, for the reader, what are the highlights of your list?


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