2016 is the year of the underdog.
This is a term that has been flung around a lot this year and for good measure, for 2016 truly was the year of the underdog, and not just within the sporting world. So why not look back on the year that has been?
2016 was a truly special year for sport fans in Australia and the rest of the world. 2016 could also be labelled as the year of drought-breakers, as never before have so many teams broken such long title droughts.
Starting off here in Oz we of course have both the Western Bulldogs in the AFL who won their first premiership in 62 years and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the NRL who won their first premiership in their 49 year history. These two incredible triumphs were only strengthened and further immortalised through the journeys of individual players. The stories of Bob Murphy and Paul Gallen will go down in club history.
22-year-old Aussie Tyler Wright took out the World Surf League title and Mick Fanning won on his return to Jeffrey’s bay, the scene of a previous incident with a shark.
Outside of Australia, even more remarkable success was achieved. The biggest shock to come out of Britain this year was Brexi… (cough), Leicester City winning the Premier League at 500 million trillion to 1 odds (5000-1 to be exact).
Next we cross the Atlantic swamp into the U, S of A. While a loud tomato was in Washington trying to ‘drain a swamp’, the mighty Bill Murray – I mean Chicago Cubs – won their first world series in 108 years and LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA championship for the first time in the club’s history.
Elsewhere, Ireland ended the All-Blacks 18-match winning streak and recorded their first ever victory over them. Portugal came out off nowhere to win their Euros and claim their country’s first ever major silverware.
However the story of the of the Euros undoubtedly goes to Iceland who made it all the way to the quarter-finals after beating Austria and England – who were too busy rioting to even care.
Over at Rio, there were more unexpected and joyous moments. Kyle Chalmers physically and figuratively came out of nowhere to win the 100M gold. An unknown girl from Camden called Chloe Esposito surprised the whole nation when she took gold in an unknown sport called the modern pentathlon.
Also at Rio: Fiji, Singapore, Puerto Rico, Vietnam and Kosovo each won their first ever gold medal. Joseph Schooling beat his childhood idol Michael Phelps, an English bloke by the name of Danny Willet won the men’s golf and hometown hero Rafaela Silva won Judo gold.
So yes, many believe 2016 to have been a disastrous year but I think otherwise. 2016 has been a year of surprise and inevitability, a year in which no one could have predicted. In our increasingly globalised and structured world, maybe we need a few more shocks to both alert us and confuse us.