Sport often provides us with lingering memories that seem to stick with us for life. Be it for an act of courage, a display of emotion, or a moment of controversy, one can never do away with the memory of sport.
The year 2022 has given us far more than we could have imagined in a sporting context. There exists nil possibility of ranking these events as many of these moments had us jerking tears or exploding in happiness for what we had just witnessed.
That said, here are my top ten moments of sport in 2022, trying to bring together some of the best on the global stage and from an Indian perspective.
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Roger Federer’s retirement
Many who would never tune in to watch the Laver Cup in any other year sat eagerly this time round, admiring Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal put on a show for the crowd in what was Federer’s final game of his professional career. The Swiss ended up losing, but many seem to forget the game’s result due to what came after.
Federer’s emotional speech, accompanied by the presence of his loved ones and best mates in the game, made the moment special. To see even the greatest athletes of all time allow his emotions get the better of him was pretty incredible.
Also read: Growing up watching Federer
Leo Messi winning the World Cup with Argentina
Looking past Messi’s monumental achievement of finally lifting the coveted World Cup trophy is impossible. In his fifth attempt at winning the most important trophy of his career, Messi succeeded not only in the sense that he won the tournament but also played a crucial role for his side en route to the destination. It was beautiful to watch a man who had previously lost by a slender margin in the final of the 2014 World Cup overcome his demons and play the way he did in what could be his final significant international contribution.
Messi scored seven goals in the tournament, falling one short of Kylian Mbappé’s tally, which won the Frenchman the tournament’s Golden Boot. However, it was Messi who came away with the Player of the Tournament award and the winners’ medal.
England Women winning the Euros
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson led the English women’s football team as they went on to win the European Championship this year. The moment not only marked the emergence of women’s football out of the shadows of the men’s game, but it also gave England their first major international tournament victory in football since the 1966 men’s World Cup.
The game was thrilling and only gave us the winner in extra time. For England to beat Germany in a close game at their home ground, the Wembley Stadium, made the moment even more surreal.
Virat Kohli’s stunning innings against Pakistan in WT20
Not many moments in cricketing history beat Virat Kohli toying with the Pakistani bowling attack in India’s first game of the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Although India suffered a devastating defeat to England in the semi-final of the tournament, Kohli’s revival as a player took everyone’s notice.
Kohli’s renaissance began with his demolition of the Pakistani attack. The emotions that came forth towards the end of the game were not only for India’s ability to win a seemingly un-winnable game but also for a man who believed and made it happen.
Indian women’s hockey team winning first medal in 16 years
The Indian men’s hockey team often make the headlines, hockey being India’s national sport. However, it was heartwarming to see the Indian women’s hockey team claim a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It marked the Indian women’s team’s first medal at the games in sixteen years. India won the game after a penalty shootout.
The excitement, drama, and emotions at the end of the game are what made this moment incredibly special.
Nadal coming from behind to win the Australian Open
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer will go down as tennis greats for a reason. The ability to do things others simply cannot sets them apart from the rest. This moment came during the Australian Open in January 2022, as Rafa Nadal came back from two sets down to beat his Russian opponent Daniil Medvedev in the tournament’s final.
In a game that looked done and dusted after the first couple of sets, Nadal pulled out his magic wand and turned the game on its head. He eventually put away Medvedev in the fifth set to win the Open.
Ronaldo’s Manchester United exit
While most events on this list exhibit joy, this one falls on the polar opposite side. Cristiano Ronaldo decided to speak with infamous media personality Piers Morgan following a fallout with his Man United manager Erik ten Hag. His actions were not taken well by the United fans, pundits and the footballing community in general.
A contract termination by mutual consent between Manchester United and Ronaldo followed. Ronaldo’s exit was always on the cards after his disciplinary issues during games and his ability to contribute (or lack thereof) to the team.
Max Verstappen lapping Hamilton in Imola
Max Verstappen has gone back-to-back seasons claiming the top spot in the Formula 1 Driver’s Championship. Whilst it was close in the 2021 season between Verstappen and the old fox Lewis Hamilton, it was anything but this time around. Verstappen lapping the great Hamilton in Imola during the course of the season was a sign of the Dutchman’s current dominance.
Not only did the moment highlight Verstappen’s rise to glory, it also signalled the decline of a man who was once at the top of his game.
India’s first Thomas Cup win
The Indian badminton contingent made history by winning their first-ever Thomas Cup in Bangkok. The moment was made special by beating fourteen-time champions Indonesia in the final. The best-ever finish recorded by India at the Thomas Cup before this came way back in 1979, when the contingent at the time made it to the semi-final.
Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and the doubles pairing of Sawtiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty brought home the Cup.
Christian Eriksen’s return to football
Christian Eriksen was on the receiving end of an unfortunate incident at Euro 2020 when Denmark took on Finland. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was out of action since June 2021 due to his heart condition and finally made his first competitive appearance in a Premier League match for Brentford in February 2022.
To see the Dane run about and play after such a long absence was heartwarming. Since moving to Manchester United post his comeback, Eriksen seems to be having a good time with his new club.
Also read: A word on Christian Eriksen…