The Year In Sport: A Fond Farewell For Some, A Glimpse Of The Future For Others

The Year In Sport: A Fond Farewell For Some, A Glimpse Of The Future For Others

The athlete, a former jockey for AP McCoy, said earlier this year that he was the only person to have died twice, it hurt so much to be cut off from the dizzying and all-encompassing nature of professional sports.

McCoy ended his long and illustrious athletic career in 2015 and has since had to learn, in his own words, "how to start over and live differently."

Based on the past 12 months, a few prominent sports stars could take a closer look at McCoy's retirement experience, and indeed anyone who has spoken openly about the difficulties of ending a successful sports career. .

Among them is Roger Federer, who ended his successful tennis career at the Laver Cup in September after years of trying to recover from two knee surgeries.

In his resignation letter, Federer, like McCoy, mentioned the strong feelings of a professional athlete and how hard it is to say goodbye.

“I laughed and cried, I felt joy and pain, and above all, I felt incredibly alive,” Federer wrote. “At a tennis match,” he signed the letter, “I love you and will never leave you.”

© Courtesy of CNN And we're saying goodbye to Roger Federer… – Julian Finney/Getty Images for the Lever Cup

These last words reassured the fans who have admired Federer's career for so many years, but also touched upon another topic. How difficult is it to completely retire from professional sports after retirement?

It remains to be seen exactly how Federer will play tennis in the future, and the same goes for Serena Williams, who announced she was "retiring" ahead of this year's US Open but backed out. They say he's retiring. .

Over the past three months, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has even teased fans several times about a possible return to tennis.

© Contributed by CNN Serena Williams lost to Australian Ayla Tomljanovic in the third round of the 2022 US Open. — Al Bello/Getty Images

expand your career

While Federer and Williams have retired as two of the greatest athletes of all time, other sports stars can't seem to decide when or how to retire.

World heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury retired this year and said in October that he was "very hard to let go."

And earlier this year, Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL, leaving the sport with a seven-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. The 45-year-old later reversed that decision and is still breaking records with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his 23rd NFL season.

However, in September, Brady and Gisele Bundchen announced their divorce after 13 years of marriage.

“I think there are a lot of professionals in life who live by the things they deal with at work and at home,” the Bucks quarterback said on his weekly podcast, just days after the couple announced their divorce.

“The good news, of course, is that this is a very friendly situation and I am really focused on two things: taking care of my family and of course my children, and secondly, on doing my best to win football matches. These are pluses. make."

© Courtesy of CNN Tom Brady has drastically changed his face since his retirement. — Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Brady has changed what many consider the average life expectancy of an athlete, and he's not the only person who refuses to let his career shine.

LeBron James is about to turn 38, but he still holds the NBA record.

Meanwhile, Federer's rivals Rafael Nadal (36) and Novak Djokovic (35) have contributed to his Grand Slams this year; a Spaniard at the Australian Open and the French Open, where he became the oldest male singles champion, and a Serb at Wimbledon. Djokovic's Wimbledon victory put him one Grand Slam title behind Nadal's men's record of 22.

After being banned from entering Australia earlier this year due to his vaccination status, Djokovic is set to play in the Australian Open in early 2023, a tournament he has won nine times and is once again a favorite next year. after the last victory at the ATP Finals.

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For Nadal, his future in the sport depends on how much pressure his injured body can handle.

In golf, Tiger Woods faces similar questions. The 15-time Grand Slam champion made a stunning comeback from serious leg injuries sustained in a car accident at this year's Masters, with a remarkable 71 finishes at the Augusta National before dropping out of the tournament the next day.

Then there's sprinter Shelley-Anne Fraser-Pryce, who turns 36 this month but doesn't seem to slow down. The Jamaican has shown a string of fast and consistent performances this year, running the 100m under 10.7s seven times and winning his fifth world title over the course in July.

© Contributed by CNN Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce celebrates winning the women's 100m final at the IAAF World Championships in July in Eugene, Oregon. — Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

And it's not just athletes who have defied calls to retire this year. In November, Dusty Baker, 73, became the oldest coach to win a World Series when he led the Houston Astros to a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Familiar faces and future stars

Many athletes making headlines in 2022 have been doing so for years.

No one knows where the aging Cristiano Ronaldo will play in his club football in January after failing to end his second spell at Manchester United, but the 37-year-old appears to be extending his playing career after being knocked out in the quarter-finals. End of Portugal. . World Cup.

Meanwhile, rival Lionel Messi ended the year with a sensational record, leading Argentina to its third world title. Messi, 35, won the French final against France and led the Coupe du monde à la cinquième fois où il a dadiled in the final, confirming his de plus grand joueur de tous position.

This is not the only recent example of an established superstar winning trophies. In last year's NBA Finals, Steph Curry led the Golden State Warriors to their fourth championship in eight seasons and won their first Finals MVP award when the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics.

Meanwhile, Aaron Judge is finishing his breakout season in baseball. The 30-year-old, who just signed a nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees, hit 62 homers last season, breaking Roger Maris' record in 1961.

The Yankees on Wednesday named Judge, AL MVP, the 16th captain in franchise history.

© Provided by CNN . Richter (left) scored a career-high 62 points last season. – New York Yankees/Getty Images

But while some familiar faces continued to shine, the past year has also seen the emergence of some upcoming stars.

19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz ends the year as the youngest No. 1 in men's history after winning the US Open, and in women's Iga Swiatek has risen to number one following Ashley's decision to retire following Barty's World No. 1 win. at the Australian Open would dominate for years to come.

That same year, 21-year-old Swiatek won his second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros after a 37-game winning streak and his third at the US Open.

In Formula One, Max Verstappen cemented his position as the best driver in his category and effortlessly defended the world title with four races to go, while Erling Haaland, regarded as one of the best strikers in European football, scored a record number of goals for his side. first season at Manchester City.

© Courtesy of CNN Nothing stopped Max Verstappen this year. — Dan Eastien/Formula 1 via Getty Images

At the Beijing Winter Olympics, 18-year-old cross-country skier Eileen Gu made headlines by winning two gold and one silver medals for the host country. She was also the first skier to win three medals in one Olympics.

Another teenager, figure skater Kamila Valieva, held memorable matches for various reasons. In December 2021, a 16-year-old boy tested positive for the drug trimetazidine, but the result was not announced until Valieva was already in Beijing, having won gold in the team figure skating competition.

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In this competition, she became the first woman to land a quadruple jump with four aerial pirouettes at the Winter Olympics.

The positive test remains unresolved, and in November the World Anti-Doping Agency referred Valieva's case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, finding that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency had made no progress.

© Contributed by CNN Eileen Gu performs a stunt during the women's semi-skiing finals at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. -Lars Baron/Getty Images

defend Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has overshadowed much of this year's sports calendar.

Athletes and teams from Russia and Belarus have been banned from participating in several sports, including this year's World Cup qualifiers and Wimbledon.

Wimbledon's decision was perhaps the strongest position of any sports organization, prompting the ATP and WTA tours to withdraw ranking points from that year's tournament.

When the war began, many Ukrainian athletes such as skeleton runner Vladislav Geraskevich and MMA fighter Yaroslav Amosov decided to retire and support the country's war effort.

Boxer Oleksandr Usyk was also passionate about serving his country, and in the ring he added to his undefeated record by defeating Anthony Joshua in August to retain the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.

© Oleksandr Usyk of CNN Anthony Joshua strikes during a Rage in the Red Sea heavyweight bout at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. — François Nel/Getty Images

In 2022, sports and geopolitics were closely linked. WNBA star Brittney Greener returned to the United States this month after spending nearly 10 months in jail in Russia on drug charges.

Despite his testimony that he accidentally packed hemp oil found in his luggage, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in early August and transferred to a penal colony in the Republic of Mordovia in mid-November after missing his call.

The arrest of a 32-year-old man in Russia has sparked a diplomatic drama between the US and the Kremlin that is playing out in parallel to Russia's war in Ukraine.

He was released as a result of a prisoner exchange with Russian arms dealer Viktor Butt. However, the exchange does not include another American the State Department has identified as wrongfully detained, Paul Whelan.

©Courtesy of CNN Brittney Griner steps off a plane in an undated photo she posted to Instagram. – Miguel Negron / US Army South

New competitions in new regions

Perhaps no sport has been more affected by domestic politics this year than golf, which was rocked by the launch of the Saudi-backed LIV golf series in June.

LIV Golf has been criticized by some top players, including Woods and Rory McIlroy, while others, including great champions Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, have left the PGA Tour in favor of a lucrative singles series.

It split the sport. Earlier this year, LIV Golf joined some of its players in an antitrust lawsuit alleging that the PGA Tour threatened to ban players from the LIV Golf Series for life.

The lawsuit also alleges that the PGA Tour threatened sponsors, suppliers and agents to force players to forfeit their ability to attend LIV golf events.

In late September, the PGA Tour filed a counterclaim alleging "treacherous interference in the Tour's contracts with its members."

The LIV Golf series is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the man responsible for approving the operation that led to 2013, according to a US intelligence report. Assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Ben Salman denied any involvement in Khashoggi's murder.

The launch of LIV Golf is part of Saudi Arabia's broader ambition to host and invest in global sporting events. This year it hosted a rematch between Usyk and Joshua and even won the 2029 Asian Winter Games bid.

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But perhaps the biggest sporting event in the Gulf region this year was the World Cup in Qatar.

The four-week tour ended on Tuesday and continued until Argentina lifted the trophy that FIFA President Gianni Infantino lifted for the biggest World Cup of all time.

There were shocks, high-scoring games and brilliant goals ahead of Sunday's masterpiece as Messi took the win and Kylian Mbappe scored an impressive hat-trick in defeat.

© Contributed by CNN The 2022 Qatar match between Argentina and France is considered the best final ever. -Buddha Mendes/false images

It was the first time a Middle Eastern country has hosted a World Cup, and Qatar, with a population of just three million, has invested billions of dollars to build seven new stadiums, as well as new hotels and expanding the country. Airport, rail networks and highways.

The tournament also ran into difficulties, especially over allegations of the country's poor record on human rights and the treatment of migrant workers.

They found that since 2010, many migrant workers in Qatar have faced delayed or non-payment of wages, forced labor, long hours of work in hot weather, intimidation by employers, and an inability to retire due to the country's patronage system.

In the face of such criticism, Qatar insists that it is an open and tolerant country and sees the World Cup as a way to speed up labor reforms.

Tragedy at the stadium

In international football, England won the Women's European Championship for the first time in front of a record crowd and Senegal also won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title for the first time in February.

Outside of international competition, Real Madrid won their 14th European crown by beating Liverpool in the Champions League final, a game marred by security concerns.

© CNN Real Madrid beat Liverpool in this year's Champions League final in Paris. — David Ramos/Getty Images

The game itself was delayed more than 35 minutes after Liverpool fans forced their way into the Stade de France and French police fired tear gas at fans who were being held in an enclosed space.

Paris police chief Didier Lallemand admitted in June that the chaos was a "clear setback" and said he took "full police leadership responsibility" for the incident.

Unfortunately, there have been several major stadium disasters in football this year. In October, more than 130 people died in a stampede in the Indonesian city of Malang in what was one of the deadliest stadium disasters of all time.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo later said the country would demolish and rebuild the stadium and vowed to "transform" sport in the football-obsessed country.

© CNN Arema Football Club players and officials gather on the field to pray for the victims of the stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang. — Jun Crisvanto/AFP via Getty Images

During this year's AFCON, at least eight people were killed and 38 injured in a stadium accident in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé during a Cameroon-Comoros match.

Next…

Ahead of 2023, Australia and New Zealand will host the Women's World Cup in July and August.

The US Women's Team (USWNT) could become the first team to win the tournament three times in a row.

This year, the United States Football Federation (USSF), the USWNT Players Association (USWNTPA) and the US National Soccer Players Association (USNSTPA) signed a historic equal pay agreement. Շխ ֆեդեր, որը մրց մրց մրց: շխ մ

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