2016 was a great sport calendar year, there was a great deal of Highs and Lows. At Grit Sports we take a look at some of the Highs and Lows that made the back pages around the world.
1. At number 1 – High Wayde Van Niekerk. The South African track star stunned the whole world by breaking Michael Johnsons World Record in 400m, at Rio 2016. He was also named male Athlete of the Olympic Games. The 24-year-old finished in 43.03 seconds, 0.15 quicker than the time Johnson clocked in Seville in 1999
2. Caster Semenya – High Mokgadi Caster Semenya Bronze OIB is a South African middle-distance runner and 2016 Olympic gold medallist. Semenya won gold in the women’s 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 1:55.45 in the final.
3. Leicester City – High LC completed one of the most remarkable stories in the history of English football by winning the Premier League title. Written off as relegation candidates at the start of the season, when the bookmakers made Leicester 5,000-1 outsiders to be crowned champions, they secured the first top-flight title in the club’s history
4. Serena Williams – HIGH – After winning against Yaroslava Shvedov at the US Open, Serana Williams set a new Grand Slam record of 308 victories, to pass Roger Federer in the all-time list of matches won at the tennis majors.The dominant figure in the women’s game, there is still likely to be much more to come from Williams. 1. Athlete, not female athlete
Williams is bidding for a 23rd Grand Slam
Few athletes in any field have matched Williams for longevity and success.
She made her debut aged just 16 in the 1998 Australian Open. She is currently ranked number one in the WTA women’s rankings – at 34 the oldest woman to be so.
In between her numbers are dizzying: 22 Grand Slam singles titles, four Olympic gold medals, $80m (£60m) in prize money, a 770-128 win record on the tour.
Asked if she considers herself one of the greatest female athletes of all time, Williams responded: “I prefer the word ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.’
5. Portugal Football Team – HIGH When the final whistle sounded in the moth-ridden Stade de France, memories returned to another night in another silent and rapidly emptying stadium: the Stadium of Light in Lisbon in 2004. Then, too, the home team had lost the European Championship in the final. Portugal were the losers in 2004. The team’s young winger Cristiano Ronaldo wept on the field. On both occasions, the only goal in a tedious match was scored by a journeyman striker: Angelos Charisteas for Greece in 2004; Eder for Portugal on Sunday(Final).The Portuguese players and fans in Paris carried the memory of 2004 in their heads. The country’s first major trophy is revenge not only for that defeat, but for all Portugal’s defeats over the years. It’s also the reward the country’s unique football culture deserves.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers- HIGH Lebron James lead the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that won an NBA-record 73 regular-season games, on the road for the NBA championship.James scored 27 points, collected 11 rebounds, delivered 11 assists, blocked three shots and had two steals – his seventh Finals triple-double – as the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 in the NBA decider
7. Mamelodi Sundowns and Pitso Mosimane – HIGH – Mosimane was voted as the CAF African Coach of the Year after he guided the reigning Absa Premiership champions to their first CAF Champions League triumph and also an impressive spell in the domestic league.Mosimane becomes the first South African to win this award.Onyango, the Sundowns goalkeeper, was voted as the CAF African Player of the Year – Based in Africa edging teammate Khama Billiat and Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba.Sundowns, who were voted as the CAF African Club of the Year, beat the likes of TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambian side Zesco United to win the top prize.
8. Springboks loss to Italy – LOW – Italy earned their first victory over South Africa in their 13th meeting with a tense win in Florence. Italians ran in two tries after being 12 – 10 down at Half Time. Italy Victory came as a shock to World Rugby
9. Ireland beating AllBlacks – HIGH – Ireland’s class of 2016 stamped their names into the history books as Joe Schmidt’s side dispatched New Zealand 40-29 in Chicago for their first victory over the All Blacks in 111 years of trying. Three days after the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year drought to land baseball’s World Series, Ireland lit up the city’s Soldier Field stadium with their maiden win over the All Blacks at the 29th attempt.
10. Nico Rosberg – HIGH and LOW (all in one) Nico Rosberg won his only World Drivers’ Championship title in the final race of the season. With nine wins and seven podiums, Rosberg beat team-mate and defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton by five points. In doing so, Rosberg followed the success of his father in 1982 and became the second son of a champion to become champion himself, a feat previously achieved by Graham and Damon Hill. This would later prove to be Rosberg’s last season, as he announced his retirement from the sport shortly after winning the title.
11. Luvo Manyonga – HIGH – SA long jump star Manyonga defeats ‘demons’ for fairytale comeback. Luvo Manyonga, whose personal story includes overcoming a drug addiction, jumped 8.37 metres. Luvo Manyonga, draped in the South African flag, after winning silver in the long jump final in.
12. Chapecoense FC – LOW – Brazilian club Chapecoense have been awarded the Copa Sudamericana by South American football confederation Conmebol after most of their team died in a plane crash en route to the final.Seventy-one people, including 19 players and staff, were killed in last Monday’s crash on the way to Colombia for the first leg.Colombian opponents Atletico Nacional, who asked for Chapecoense to be awarded the trophy, have been given a Fair Play award to acknowledge their “spirit of peace, understanding and fair play”.
13. Kagiso Rabada – HIGH – Kagiso Rabada hit the record books for a six when he was named South African Cricketer of the Year and in all received a total of six awards at a glittering Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards banquet in Sandton. He is the first player to win six individual awards – both AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla had previously won five – and at the age of 21 years 62 days is by far the youngest to have won South African cricket’s premier accolade.
14. Michael Phelps – HIGH – Michael Phelps has won more than twice as many gold medals as any other Olympian—and more than many entire nations. Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, 66 countries have taken home fewer gold medals in all than the 23 golds accrued by Phelps in his past four appearances at the Summer Olympics. And that doesn’t include the 42 countries that have participated without winning any gold medals.Phelps won six gold medals in Athens in 2004, eight in Beijing in 2008, four in London in 2012, and Countries With Fewer Gold Medals Than Michael Phelps, 1896-2016
Michael Phelps 23
North Korea 16
Czech Republic 15
Dominican Republic 3
Chinese Taipei 3
Trinidad & Tobago 2
Hong Kong 1
Costa Rica 1
Independent Olympic Athletes 1
Puerto Rico 1
15. Banyana Banyana – HIGH – Controlled by the South African Football Association (SAFA), the BanyanaBanyana played their first official match on 30th May 1993 in Johannesburg against Swaziland where they won 14 – 0, a similar record they kept on 19th April, 2002 against Zimbabwe in Harare.The team however suffered its greatest defeat on 7th September 2003 when they bowed down to China in Dalian on a score of 14 – 0.The South African National Women’s Football team has answered present at the Summer Olympics twice; the first time in 2012 in Great Britain and the second time in 2016 in Brazil where they came out overall tenth.The team has never been part of the Female World Cup competition but they are ranked 48th position by FIFA with 1478 points, just after Cameroon.As concerns the Africa Women Cup of Nations, the BanyanaBanyana made their first appearance in 1995 and have been present at the competition a total of ten times. The 2016 AFCON marks their 11th appearance at the competition.One of the icons of the team is retired Portia Modise who quit international football in May 2015 after playing 124 matches and scoring 101 goals for South Africa. She was the first African player to score 100 international goals.Vera Pauw former coach Desiree Ellis is head coach of the Banyana Banyana meanwhile Janine Van Wyk holds the position of team captain. We are really proud of our Ladies achievements in 2016, they really made the country proud
16. Hurricanes Rugby – HIGH – After the heartbreak of losing last year’s final 21-14 at home to the Highlanders, here was a night when the Hurricanes put an end to 21 years of taunts about running out of puff when it matters. Congratulations to Hurricanes for winning their maiden Super Rugby title
17. SA Netball – HIGH – We hosted Wales, in June, and we cliched the Series 2-0. At the NZ/Aus leg of the Quad Series, we were able to reduce score lines, significantly. The Fast5 team (equivalent of Sevens) drew with Jamaica, who are currently ranked 4th in the normal format. We have maintained our ranking at 5th in the world. The INF (international netball federation) is bidding for our reinstatement into the Olympics. Praise must go to SASCOC and Proteas Netball team on their hard work in 2016, goodluck for 2017 season.
20. Henri Schoeman – HIGH – South African Henri Schoeman suprised himself by securing a podium finish in an international race for the first time in his career, winning bronze in the Mens Triathlon.Henri Schoeman’s bronze was South Africa’s first medal in the sport since it was introduced in 2000.