What a year 2011 has been from a sporting perspective. With so many amazing triumphs this year, both individual and team based, here at Sports Banter we thought it was necessary to go through our top 10 sporting moments.
On the flip side, 2011 was also a year of sporting scandals, infamous matches and failed attempts at tv careers. We’ll get to that one tomorrow though. For now, here are our top 10 sporting moments of 2011, let us know if you agree or disagree with any of these in the comments section.
10. Manchester Clubs Knocked out of the UEFA Champions League
I had to include this one as this was one of my highlights of the year. Both clubs were earmarked to progress quite far in the competition and I don’t think I was the only one who enjoyed seeing both teams crash out early.
As an Arsenal fan, it was made even more special by the fact that supporters of both clubs had been giving it to me over the 8-2 hammering (Man Utd) and the defection of two of our best players to Manchester City.
It really couldn’t have happened to two classier clubs or supporters!
9. Queensland Reds Win the Super Rugby competition for 2011.
2011 was a great year for Australia in the Super Rugby tournament with the Queensland Reds taking out the title defeating the always strong Crusaders in the final 18-13.
Both areas, Queensland and Christchurch, had been devastated by floods and earthquakes respectively and you could tell it meant a lot to the players in what was an emotional send off to season 2011.
8. Kelly Slater’s 11th World Surfing Title
What more is there to say about this bloke, a true champion and despite being 39 he is still going strong, he did leave it until the last two minutes of his heat to take out the title but this just shows his character.
There was controversy too as Slater was handed the title prematurely and had to wait another few days for the boffins to sort out the numbers before being officially crowned for his 11th Title.
7. Barcelona Win the 2011 UEFA Champions League Against Manchester United
It seems like I’m picking on Manchester United but I truly believe that Barcelona winning the Champions League, and in the fashion that they did, is a vindication for the beauttiful game and the way it should be played. As an Arsenal fan I’m no fan of either side, in fact I probably hate Barcelona more than United due to the amount of tapping up they did to lure Cesc Fabregas back to Barcelona.
However, the way that Barcelona plays the game on the pitch is something to behold and it would have been a travesty had United got the better of them with their boring style of football.
6. Six Series Wins in a Row for the Queensland State of Origin Team
This would have been higher up my list if I was not a proud New South Welshman, and the fact that Queensland probably had 4 future immortals making up the spine of the side in Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer, Jonathan Thurston and Cameron Smith. Still a mean feat to go 6 series wins in a row in this day and age so it definitely warranted a spot in my top 10.
You may see this pop up again in the worst sporting moments of 2011 though, it may even rate higher in that list!
5. Black Caviar – 16 Straight Wins
Wow, what more can I say about this magnificent creature, many already consider Black Caviar to be the best sprinter in the world and I would not disagree with that. Pharlap had 14 straight wins, so I think you can see why there is so much hype about this horse!
We now have to wait until the end of January to see her in action again when she takes part in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley. There are also plans to test her out on the International stage, with a run at Royal Ascot planned for mid 2012.
4. Brisbane Roar – 36 Match Unbeaten Streak in the Hyundai A-League
The Brisbane Roar made Australian sporting history just a few weeks ago when they passed the total of 35 matches unbeaten set by the Eastern Suburbs Rugby League club, now known as the Roosters, on their way to 36 matches unbeaten in the A-League. The Roar’s run was ended in early December by Sydney FC at Kogarah in atrocious conditions.
As is usually the case with these sorts of records, once they end the team tends to go on a bit of a downward spiral and it seems that the Brisbane Roar have been affected, with 4 losses in a row now since they broke that long standing record.
3. New Zealand All Blacks Winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup on Home Soil
Favourites right from the start of the competition, the New Zealand All Blacks got the job done albeit in a tight finish against Les Blues at Eden Park. Like the Crusaders before them, the All Blacks were doing it for a Country in mourning after the devastating earthquakes in February of this year.
The All Blacks had not won the Rugby World Cup since it’s inception in 1987, a 24 year gap between wins, and did it with Captain Richie McCaw playing on a bung foot for much of the tournament.
2. Novak Djokovic Going 43 Matches Unbeaten in the ATP
What a year for the Joker as he swept all before him, including Federer and Nadal. on his way to an unbelievable 43 match winning streak which only ended in June at the hands of Roger Federer in the French Open. Clay obviously isn’t his forte so it was no surprise that he was eventually undone on that surface.
I think it will be a while before we see that sort of winning streak again, an amazing achievement by the Joker and at his age he will be around for many years to come!
1. Cadel Evans – 2011 Tour de France Winner!
I think this easily rates as the best sporting moment of 2011. Cadel Evans finished runner-up in the Tour de France on two previous occasions, that alone would be enough to hang up the bike and call it a day. Not for Cadel though, at 34 years old, the fifth oldest winner in the Tours history, Cadel became the first Australian to win the event in it’s 108 year history.
I personally can’t think of a better achievement in the sporting landscape that was 2011. To come back and win the Tour de France after numerous setbacks is an outstanding achievement. To think of all the setbacks that he has endured, being born with a broken nose, kicked in the head by a horse as an eight year old that put him in a coma for weeks, then to finish second in 2007 and 2008 by less than a minute…. Anyone else would have given up!
Let us know your thoughts on our 10 Best Sporting Moments of 2011 in the comments section, and be sure to check back tomorrow for our 10 Worst Sporting Moments of 2011.