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In Pictures: Sporting Highlights of 2012
Al Jazeera remembers the biggest sporting events of 2012. And there were a few!
What a sensational sizzling sporting year we have just had! The highlight was the greatest sporting event of them all - the Olympics - landing in London. However, while the Games provided the perfect main course we must not forget all the treats sandwiched either side. Here we look back at just some of the highlights of 2012
19 Dec 2012
JANUARY: Tennis player Novak Djokovic (L and R) started and ended the year in tip-top form. The season began with a battle of epic proportions between the Serbian and Rafael Nadal at the Australia Open. The longest grand slam final in history ended in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5/7), 7-5 victory for Djokovic which took five hours and 53 minutes. It was the first of many long battles for Djokovic
FEBRUARY: There was a fairytale ending to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Zambia defied the odds against favourites Ivory Coast to win their first title. It was a poignant win with Zambia coach Herve Renard dedicating title to victims of a plane crash that killed 18 members of their team in 1993. Their triumph was in Libreville, Gabon - near to where the fatal crash happened
MARCH: Wales ended the year slumping down the world rankings but in March they were Champions. With victory over France, Wales won their third Six Nations Grand Slam in eight years. Fittingly the win came at Cardiff(***)s Millennium Stadium and afterwards 250,000 fans descending on the city to celebrate
APRIL: The Grand National was not so grand in 2012. Just like in 2011, the death of two horses - Synchronised and According to Pete - overshadowed Neptune Collonges (pictured) exciting victory. Changes will be made to the Aintree course for 2013 so hopefully it will not be remembered for more fatalities
MAY: Does anyone remember the end of the 2011/2012 Premier League season? Well despite all this year(***)s sporting action, you should! The battle of Manchester came to a remarkable crescendo when City fought back with two goals in injury time to win their first title since 1968 on goal difference. You just could not make it up, and if you did, no one would have believed you...
JUNE: The domestic seasons were over but fear not oh ye football fans because Euro 2012 was here! Hoorah. June was full of high quality football as the tournament in Poland and Ukraine lived up to hype. But in the end no team came close to defeating reigning champions Spain who thrashed Italy 4-0 in the final on July 1st. Viva la Espana!
JULY: Now where do we start with you July?! At Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Serena Williams proved they were not past it with nostalgic wins. The Olympics arrived in London but before that we had the Tour de France. One of the toughest competitions on earth was won by Britain(***)s Bradley Wiggins, the first Brit to win the race and a man who captured Europe(***)s affections with his mod style, dry wit and supreme athleticism
AUGUST: There were many glorious moments at London 2012, yet one man still stole the show (no, not the guy on the right). Jamaican Usain Bolt sprinted into the record books by successfully defending his 100 and 200m titles. He was the first man to do so and did it with a wide smile and lovable bravado. An icon was born
SEPTEMBER: Golf fans, welcome to the ride of your lives. Few events legitimately carry the term miracle, but who would argue against the Miracle of Medinah? Europe pulled back a comeback that defied superlatives against America who were 10-6 up. (***)To the 12 men of Europe, what you did out there was outstanding. All men die but not all men live and you made me feel alive again this week,(***) said Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal
OCTOBER: One thing that defined 2012 was the growing momentum of Twenty20 cricket. Sri Lanka hosted the Twenty20 World Cup but were beaten in the final by a jubilant West Indies team. They danced, they laughed, they partied and they brought the fun back to cricket. But we must not forget the poor Sri Lankans whose defeat was the fourth in as many finals
NOVEMBER: Rule him out at your peril... Even as Fernando Alonso closed the gap on Sebastian Vettel, the German never looked like a man about to let his third world championship slip through his fingers. The season got the finale it deserved, with the last Grand Prix in Brazil deciding the result. But many of us saw this one coming. As Michael Schumacher retires, a younger German is threatening to dominate for years to come
DECEMBER: And it would not be right to end this Sporting Photo Review without paying tribute to the South African cricket team and one man in particular. At 37, there(***)s no sign of all-rounder Jacques Kallis calling time on his career. He was central to Proteas maintaining their top ranking as they ended year with Test victory over Australia. So as 2012 disappears slowly from view, who(***)s up for 2013?
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