A look at 5 biggest stories on intl scene

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-12-25 5:03:03

Much has happened in 2015 to fill our hearts and heads with sporting memories, but there are some things that we will never forget. There was the unlikely - Andy Murray leading Great Britain to the Davis Cup and Chile winning the Copa America for the first time in over a century ­of trying - and there was the inevitable - Barcelona helping themselves to another five trophies in a calendar year and Abby Wambach retiring as international soccer's top scorer just months after winning the women's World Cup. Elsewhere, the Seahawks came so close to being the first team to defend their Super Bowl title in a decade, the Golden State Warriors beginning their NBA title defense with 23 straight wins and Jordan Spieth took the US Open and The Masters in golf.

The list of incident and achievement goes on and on, but as we await another bumper year in 2016, we've picked 5 key events that defined 2015.

FIFA mired in scandal

Sepp Blatter

It was a funny old year for the funny old game and it ended with its two most high-profile executives banned from football for eight years. FIFA head Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart and successor in waiting, Michel Platini, were ­censured for a payment that Swiss courts deemed illegal, despite the pair's insistence that it was all above board as part of a gentleman's agreement. Blatter's effective retirement from the game was just the latest in a litany of setbacks for FIFA and its member organizations that began in May with a US court indicting 14 officials as part of an FBI investigation and seven such officials being arrested in Switzerland as they awaited the 65th FIFA Congress, where Blatter was returned as president. FIFA announced that they would be halting the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup while allegations into the bidding processes for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar are investigated.

The age of Novak and Serena

Nick Kyrgios might have taken the headlines and Roger Federer the love but it was Novak Djokivic who took a firm grip of men's tennis and effectively made the division his own this year. The Serb started the year by becoming the first man to win five Australian Open titles since the Open era began and he didn't let up. A record of 82 wins and six defeats saw him add a third Wimbledon title and the US Open among 11 titles in a year he made the final of every event he entered but for Qatar Open. Serena Williams was as imperious, recovering from a setback in the semis at Flushing Meadows to take her major wins to 21 and secure third place on the all-time list. She won 53 matches, losing a mere 3. Such was the dominance of their respective domains that only two shock results stopped a clean sweep of the majors in both the mens and the women's game. Djokovic lost to Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros to continue his search for a first French Open title, while Serena lost to Flavia Pennetta. Don't expect either to make the same mistake again.

Bolt strikes twice to save athletics

Usain Bolt reacts after winning the men's 100m final during the World Championships in Beijing on August 23, with the cameraman who ran over him four days later following. Photos: CFP

The IAAF might have thought people accidentally thought it was FIFA given the scrutiny that governing body of world athletics found itself under this year. The case against athletics ­included the revelation from the WADA that Russia has effectively been operating a state-­sponsored doping ­program, made worse by newly ­released e-mails indicating that those at the top of IAAF knew about it back in 2013 and wanted to hush it up. IAAF head Seb Coe has also disgraced the sport by dragging his heels in dropping his ­ambassadorial role with Nike, a clear conflict of interest in the eyes of the world media. Thankfully, there is always Usain Bolt. The ­Jamaican ­returned to the stadium that he became a superstar at 2008 ­Olympics and took World ­Championship titles in the 100m and 200m. That he did so by beating ­Justin Gatlin, an athlete who has a questionable past with ­doping, made it all the more fitting. Bolt saved athletics, and then he got run over by a Chinese cameraman on a Segway.

All Blacks become world's best

All Blacks perform the haka

In the year when New ­Zealand rugby mourned its most famous son, current All Blacks played in the spirit of Jonah Lomu in becoming the first team to win the World Cup three times. They lifted the Webb Ellis trophy after beating Australia 34-17 in the final and sticking to their blueprint of attacking rugby. Coach Steve Hansen masterminded victory but was helped out by Dan Carter, who scored a trademark, picturebook drop goal against the Wallabies, and a strong supporting cast - winger Julian Savea matched Lomu's eight tries of the 1999 World Cup and Sonny Bill Williams who won acclaim for giving his medal to a pitch-invading ­schoolboy.

Boxing's main event

The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was five years in the waiting but the bitter taste of the non-event in Las Vegas in May will live on for much longer. Fans who wanted a classic, something to live up to the Fight of the Century hype that had been building up prior to the pay per view, were left ­disappointed. It wasn't all doom, gloom and ­contributing to the bank balances of mulit-­millionaires. Tyson Fury and all his unpredictable antics was a breath of fresh air in defeating Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight crown. Everyone knows that boxing needs something as it tries to stop its ­audience defect to UFC and the charismatic Conor McGregor.
Newspaper headline: The year in sports

Posted in: Feature, Miscellany

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