Sport in 2013 was characterised by the demolition of long standing losing streaks, unlikely victories coming in the wake of miraculous comebacks and some grand steps – some forwards, some backwards – being made in the politics surrounding what happens on the field, on the court or in the water. As the year draws to a close and we look forward to settling in for days and days of uninterrupted cricket telecasts over summer, we looked back at our Six Most Memorable Sporting Moments of 2013:
Adam Scott Wins The US Masters For Australia
In April, Adam Scott broke a decades-long curse, becoming the first Australian to win the US Masters golf championship at Augusta National in Georgia. Scott out-shot 2009 champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina in a sudden-death playoff to secure the coveted Green jacket for Australia. Even Julia Gillard had words of congratulations for the instant Australian hero, telling the golfer “Adam, Australia is incredibly proud of you.’’
Photo by Jim Watson for AFP/Getty Images
Team Oracle USA Wins The America’s Cup
A remarkable comeback is one thing, but Team Oracle USA‘s resurgence from 8 – 1 down against Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup series to win 9 – 8 was downright miraculous. Spectators around the world were on the edge of their seats watching the Americans claw back their victory, but the win was extra sweet for us, as the winning boat was skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, who was said to have taken inspiration from Australia II‘s historic win in 1983.
Photo by Ezra Shaw for Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar Retires After 24 Years Of International Cricket
Earlier this month, Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketer widely regarded as the best batsman of his generation and a man revered as something of a god amongst his 1.2 billion Indian countrymen, bid an emotional farewell to cricket, officially retiring after a victorious 200th Test Match against the West Indies. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rightly described Tendulkar as “undoubtedly an outstanding cricketer – a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe.”
Photo by Prakash Singh for Getty Images
Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon
It was a 77 year break between victories, but in June, Britain were finally able to keep their most prized tennis trophy on their own soil, with Andy Murray taking out the 2013 Wimbledon’s Mens Final. The 26-year-old Scotsman beat Serbia’s Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4 in a tense and gruelling match three-hour match, ending the nearly eight-decade long slog that had yielded not a single men’s singles Wimbledon finals champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
Photo by Julian Finney for Getty Images Sport
Jason Collins Comes Out
In April, NBA player Jason Collins contributed a cover story to that month’s issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, proudly announcing his homosexuality, and defiantly stating: “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.” Support for Collins (who was at the time playing centre for the Washington Wizards) flooded in from all corners: sportsmen and women from all disciplines, NBA management and sponsors, even the President and First Lady. In a year where the achievements of competitors at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow were obscured by controversy over Russia’s attitudes towards (and laws against) same-sex relationships, Collins’ brave public display gave hope to many who saw the professional sporting arena as “the final frontier” in widespread acceptance of gay rights.
Image via Sports Illustrated
AFL’s Year Of Controversies
The otherwise unremarkable 2013 AFL season was sullied by two major controversies. First, Adam Goodes had a thirteen-year-old girl ejected from the MCG for hurling racial abuse at the veteran Sydney midfielder during the opening match of the AFL’s “Indigenous Round” match against Collingwood. Goodes said that of the incident that he was “gutted” and that he had “never been more hurt”, while Collingwood president Eddie McGuire actively sought to undo some of the damage done, apologising to Goodes “on behalf of the Collingwood Football Club and on behalf of football”. He went on to colossally fuck it all up five days later when he suggested in jest that Goodes could be involved in the promotion of the musical King Kong. The incident sparked discussion about racist attitudes in Australian sport, and indeed wider Australian culture in general.
Photo by Michael Dodge for Getty Images
Later in the year, the Essendon Bombers’ ongoing doping saga came to an end with the club being fined $2 million (the highest ever penalty imposed by the AFL), forfeiting their place in the finals series, their coach James Hird being suspended for 12 months, fines and suspensions issued to other staff members and coaching assistants, and restrictions placed on Essendon’s draft picks for the next two years. The ASADA investigation into Essendon’s 2011/2012 supplements program found that the club had been “engaging in conduct that is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the Australian Football League or to bring the game of football into disrepute, contrary to rule 1.6.”