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2021 marked the return of the public to the stadiums after a 2020 end with closed doors and exploitation of television broadcasts. Major sporting events were replayed with caution and with biosafety standards for attendees.
The pandemic did not stop the making of the JOlympic games, Eurocup, America’s Cup, Gold Cup, Playoffs and other events. Of those, some stood out for their impacts on society, not only the fact of winning but also what each moment entails.
These are the five highlights in sport:
5. Overtake of Verstappen to Hamilton in F1
The most exciting finish in the history of Formula and of any sport in 2021 was in Abu Dhabi. Max Verstappen overtook multi-champion Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to become the new F1 champion. They were even on points, but this time the Dutchman and his Red Bull team edged out the seven-time world champion and also left Mercedes’ dominance behind. The way everything was defined will be saved forever.
4. Christian Eriksen’s scare at Euro 2020
On June 12, at Denmark vs. Finland, the world experienced one of the most uncertain moments in sports. Christian Eriksen fell collapsed on the pitch after suffering a sudden death, he came back to life after the quick action of the doctors present in the stadium. They resuscitated him and gave him a new chance to live with the subsequent placement of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
3. Lionel Messi, champion of the Copa América
If something was missing from Lionel Messi’s career, it was to win a title with Argentina’s senior team. He did so in the Copa América 2021 and in Brazil, after beating the hosts with a goal from Ángel Di María. Leo was the MVP of the tournament by scoring four goals and distributing five assists, was in front of his teammates and led the Albiceleste to win an official trophy for the first time since 1993.
2. Saúl Canelo Álvarez, undisputed super middleweight champion
2021 was the most complete year for Canelo Álvarez’s sports career. Capable of winning three fights and becoming the first undisputed champion at 168 pounds. He defeated Avni Yildrim on February 27, then Billy Joe Saunders in May to win the WBO belt and closed out against Caleb Plant in November to win the IBF belt and complete all four titles (WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF). Now in 2022 he will seek to be a cruiserweight champion and win titles in five divisions.
1. Withdrawal of Simone Biles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
See the attraction of the Olympic Games. withdrawing from competition to prioritize his mental health over medals marked a before and after in sports. This topic was treated low-key, the athlete spoke little in public about the fears and pressures to which they are constantly subjected.
Biles, the most award-winning gymnast of all time, was an empowering and powerful voice to get the message across, and her words were well received. Far from judging her, she became a symbol of sincerity.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.