2016, sport’s most surprising year

Liam Rickard Roar Rookie

By Liam Rickard, Liam Rickard is a Roar Rookie

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    Leicester City's win was one for the underdogs. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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    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.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Roar Guru

      January 1st 2017 @ 9:25am
      mds1970 said | January 1st 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      It was a year for the underdog; one that sends hope to those who follow struggling teams that their time will come.

      Happy new year to everyone on The Roar!!

    • Columnist

      January 1st 2017 @ 12:10pm
      AJ Mithen said | January 1st 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

      I can’t help myself, I have to say this… the Chicago Cubs were NOT an underdog story. They were one of three teams expected to win it all and were already under pressure to perform because they’d been upset in the playoffs previously.

      Drought breakers yes, but not underdogs by any means!!

      • Roar Guru

        January 4th 2017 @ 2:48am
        BigJ said | January 4th 2017 @ 2:48am | ! Report

        Doesn’t matter they still won

    • Roar Guru

      January 1st 2017 @ 4:27pm
      Brian Orange said | January 1st 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

      In many ways 2016 was the most interesting and noteworthy year ever on this planet, in various aspects of life, not just sport as you point out.

      The real analysis now begins of what we have learnt from it and what actions we can take from so much that has happened before our eyes.

      I am quietly optimistic in 2017, but if the trends continue without correction, this could only help to galvanise some of the less desirable sections of our society and lead to more local and global conflicts.

      Peace, love and true happiness to all in 2017.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 1st 2017 @ 9:38pm
        Liam Rickard said | January 1st 2017 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

        Yes Brian, I completely agree with you.
        I don’t agree with all this talk that it was a terrible, disastrous year.
        The events of 2016 only shaped future years and generations and if anything made the world a more exciting and interesting place to be.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 8th 2017 @ 7:02pm
          Ants32 said | January 8th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

          “May you live in interesting times”, Liam?
          That’s a Chinese insult, you know. :/

    • Roar Guru

      January 3rd 2017 @ 11:13am
      Paul D said | January 3rd 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      I can’t get onboard this underdog talk until the Brisbane Lions make the finals again. That will be a year to savior, even if we get turfed out in the first week. Just making it back again would be a great story.

      • January 3rd 2017 @ 2:12pm
        Wabi said | January 3rd 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        Leave Jesus out of this.

        • Roar Guru

          January 3rd 2017 @ 2:20pm
          Paul D said | January 3rd 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

          Not even Jesus could have coached the Lions into the 8 the last few years

        • Roar Guru

          January 3rd 2017 @ 5:06pm
          Cat said | January 3rd 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

          One fairy tale to help another … makes sense to me.

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