Another year in sports is just about to close and we’re sitting on the hinge into 2023. Before we take the plunge into the New Year, we’re going to look back at some of the key sporting moments which define 2022.
From Tennis to Football (Soccer), 2022 has been massive… we mean it’s been MASSIVE!
Not only have we seen history made on the pitches of Qatar or the rinks of North America, we’ve also bid a hearty and tearful farewell to some of the sports-people who’ve defined their sport and will inspire future generations to do the same.
So the question is… where do we begin?
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar
It was indeed a World Cup of Firsts… the first female refereeing staff leading a men’s game, the first time that over 10 minutes of extra time was added to some games, the first time the World Cup was held in a Middle Eastern country and the first time it was held in the Winter.
It was also the first time an African nation has made it to the Semi-Finals of this tournament. Morocco surprised the World but not only reaching so far in the contest, but by also beating some of the World’s highly ranked teams including Croatia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
They would eventually be knocked out at the Semi-Finals by the defending champions France. Croatia would beat them to claim Third place.
What of the final?
It would be Argentina and Lionel Messi that would go on to raise the World Cup trophy for the third time in the nation’s history.
It was a tense game which saw them go 2 – 0 against France only to lose the lead in the final minutes of extra time. It would be a penalty shootout that sent the French home and Argentina into the history books again.
Canada in the World Cup
Canada made it to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years. They were ultimately knocked out in the Group Stages but put up an incredible performance against a lack-lustre Belgium, a troublesome Morocco and a dominant Croatia.
With the 2026 World Cup featuring Canada as a co-host, Canada will have another chance in four years to impress the World.
Aaron Judge 62nd homer
The odyssey of this historic MLB feat will continue into the new year as the owner of the record recently signed a $360M 9-year contract with the New York Yankees.
The American League MVP Aaron Judge will be remembered this year for his staggering 62 home-runs this season. That broke former Yankees player Roger Maris’ record of 61 during the 1961 season.
It’s also something of a Yankees tradition. The initial single-season home-run record was laid down by the great Babe Ruth, a player who would continue to break his own homer record from 1921 to 1927. His personal best would be 60.
Judge would score the 62nd home-run off of a pitch from Texas Rangers’ Jesus Tinoco.
What’s more astounding is that the ball has gone under the hammer for $1.5M.
Vikings NFL comeback
The largest comeback in NFL history was witnessed earlier in December as the Minnesota Vikings came back from a 33-point deficit against the Indianapolis Colts, to win 39 – 36.
While the Colts had dominated the first half, it would be the Vikings who would ultimately take control of the second. Five touchdowns and a seconds-to-go 40-yard Field Goal from Greg Joseph, Vikings would make history coming back from the largest deficit in NFL history.
This was the second time this kind of Hollywood style comeback had appeared in the sport. The first time was the 32-point deficit the Buffalo Bills made up for against the Houston Oilers in 1992. The Bills won the Wild Card Round 41 – 38.
Ovechkin 800 Club
Alex Ovechkin made NHL history twice this year and both feats were within quick succession.
The Russian Washington Capitals Captain joined the ‘800 Club’ becoming the third player in NHL history to score 800 goals in his career and in the second fewest number of games. He was just behind Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky.
Then, just before Christmas, Ovechkin would go on to score two more to make it 801 and 802, surpassing Howe’s record and putting him in second.
He now has 93 goals remaining if he’s to beat ‘Mr Hockey’ (Wayne Gretzky) who had 894 goals in his career.
Now this is a Kessel run that had NHL fans going into hyperdrive.
It seems that sickness, injury, births, deaths, marriages and christenings would not stop the Vegas Golden Knights winger, Phil Kessel, from the ice or from securing a career milestone of 1000 consecutive games without interruption.
This impressive and obscure feat started for Kessel back in November 2009 when he was a Toronto Maple Leaf and his 1000th was also November 2022, this time with Golden Knights against the Arizona Coyotes.
Canada’s very own Marie-Philip Poulin was awarded the Northern Star Award, making her the first female Ice Hockey player to be awarded the prestigious prize.
She was recognised for her work captaining the national women’s team to the gold medal during the 2022 Winter Olympics and in World Championships the previous year.
Poulin would also be awarded the Canadian Press Female Athlete of 2022 by the Canadian Press.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the O2 Arena as Swiss Tennis legend Roger Federer was given a standing ovation as he officially retired from professional Tennis.
The former World No.1 played his final match as a doubles team with friend and rival Rafael Nadal during the Laver Cup in September.
It was a fitting end to an exceptional 24 year career in which he won 103 ATP singles titles and stood as 3rd all-time Major singles title winner with 20 titles. Only Novak Djokovic (21) and Rafael Nadal (22) have surpassed him as 1st and 2nd respectively.
She said she’s terrible at goodbyes but this was indeed a difficult one for both her and Women’s tennis to digest.
Just a couple of weeks before Roger Federer made his announcement to retire, Serena Williams told the world that she would be retiring from the sport in an article written for VOGUE magazine.
She held the title of Women’s World No.1 for 319 weeks and had won 23 Grand Slam singles titles. That made her the most accomplished female Tennis Majors winner of her generation and second all-time, just behind the Australian Margaret Court (24 Majors).
The four-time Formula 1 World Champion would wave the chequered flag on his career, announcing in July that his last race would be in Abu Dhabi, his 299th and final race.
Vettel had won his four consecutive championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 and is 3rd all-time greatest Grand Prix winner (53 wins) to grace the tarmac of the world’s GP tracks.
Arguably the greatest player to ever play soccer, Pele passed away just after Christmas.
He led Brazil to three World Cup victories in 1958, 1962 and 1970, scoring 77 goals and being crowned by popular opinion as the King of the ‘Beautiful Game’.
Pele would pass away while receiving treatment for cancer and other health related problems to do with his heart and kidneys.
The worldwide community of football has been shaken by the news but his legacy and inspiration to 100s of 1000s of fans and footballers old and new, lives on.
Are there any sporting moments of 2022 that we missed out?