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Sporting Highlights for 2021

The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar, but the show still went on. The major events for this year were the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, postponed from 2020, and many other major events were held, such as the ICC Cricket World T20, Euro 2021, Ryder Cup and the America's Cup regatta.

There were dramatic scenes in the last Formula One raceThere were dramatic scenes in the last Formula One race of 2021

The Olympic Games were held in Tokyo, about one year later than originally planned. Despite some negative predictions, the Games went ahead with minimal disruptions, albeit with minimal crowds. The new sports of surfing, climbing and skating stole the show. The USA and China battled it out for the top of the medal table.

The first major tennis event of the year, the Australian Open, was delayed a couple of weeks to allow for players to sit out the required two weeks of quarantine. Novak Djokovic won the men's singles title a record ninth time. This was the start of a dominant year by Djokovic - he also won the French Open and Wimbledon. At the US Open, Russian Daniil Medvedev won, denying Novak Djokovic the calendar grand slam, as well as the Serb's 21st major title. Now he remains at 20 grand slam titles alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

In women's tennis, Serena Williams was aiming for her 24th grand slam win, which would have tied with Margaret Court. At the US Open, Britain's Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in the Open era to win a tennis Grand Slam, and she did so without losing a single set throughout the tournament.

In February, USA golfing legend Tiger Woods was involved in a car accident, with injuries to his legs requiring major surgery. By the end of the year, he announced that his full-time career as a professional golfer was over. Hideki Matsuyama became the first male Japanese player to win a major, winning the 2021 Masters.

The final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship was played in June between India and New Zealand, with New Zealand winning by eight wickets. Later in the year, Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets to win their first T20 World Cup. Another cricket highlight of the year was Indian born New Zealander Ajaz Patel claiming all 10 Indian wickets in the second Test between NZ and India played in Mumbai, the third player to achieve such a feat.

The 2021 Grand National was held with no spectators, like many horse racing events this year. In the Kentucky Derby, the first past the post was Medina Spirit, which later tested positive for a banned steroid. The horse died in December, while the investigation into the doping has yet to be concluded.

There was a short-lived breakaway football (soccer) super league. It took only a few days of outrage and protests around Europe to bring the proposed league to a rapid and dramatic halt. In club news, Leicester City won their first FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Wembley, in front of the biggest football crowd in England since March 2020. Also, Bayern Munich won their second FIFA Club World Cup title, and became only the second club in European football history (after Barcelona in 2009) to win all six titles on offer in a single calendar year.

There were dramatic scenes in the last Formula One race this season. Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the last lap to win the F1 drivers' championship, becoming the first Dutch driver to win it. Hamilton was denied a record eighth World Drivers' Championship title, though he holds the record for the most wins (103).

Awards: The 2021 Laureus World Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards went to tennis players Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka. Bayern Munich was the Laureus World Team of the Year. The highest paid sportsperson in 2021 according to Forbes Magazine was MMA fighter Conor McGregor.

Significant sports-related deaths: Boxing greats Leon Spinks and Marvelous Marvin Hagler died. Former racing driver Sabine Schmitz, the "Queen of the Nürburgring" who was also a presenter on popular BBC program Top Gear, died at the age of 51 of cancer. Legendary baseball player Hank Aaron. Jacques Rogge, the eighth President of the IOC, from 2001 to 2013. There was a tragedy in a Chinese ultra-marathon race, where 21 competitors died in the freezing mountains when unexpected below-zero temperatures, hail and high winds hit the course.

What was your highlight? Take the poll of the Greatest Sporting Highlight of 2021.

Below is a timeline of some significant results in the world of sport for the year 2021.

Date(s) Sport Event Location Results
Feb 4-11 Football (Soccer) 2020 FIFA Club World Cup Doha, Qatar Bayern Munich won the final 1-0 against UANL, their second FIFA Club World Cup title.
Feb 6 - Mar 20 Rugby Six Nations UK, Ireland, France & Italy Wales won their 28th title
Feb 7 Gridiron/Football Super Bowl Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, 31–9.
Feb 8-21 Tennis Australian Open Melbourne, Australia Novak Djokovic successfully defended the Men's Singles title as he claimed his 18th Grand Slam, while Naomi Osaka claimed her fourth Grand Slam singles title.
Feb 8-21 Skiing World Alpine Ski Championships Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Austrian athletes won 5 of the 13 medals on offer.
Feb 23-Mar 7 Skiing (Nordic) Nordic World Ski Championships Oberstdorf, Germany Norway dominated the event in Oberstdorf, winning 13 of the 24 titles on offer.
Mar 6-21 Sailing America's Cup Waitemata Harbour, New Zealand Team New Zealand retained the America's Cup, beating Italian challenger Luna Rossa 7-3 in the 36th match for sailing's oldest trophy.
Apr 8-11 Golf Masters Augusta, Georgia, USA Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese male golfer to win a major championship, and the first Asian-born golfer to win the Masters.
Apr 10 Horse Racing Grand National Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool The race, held with no crowds, was won by Minella Times, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, the first female jockey to win the Grand National
Apr 17 - May 3 Snooker World Snooker Championship Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England Mark Selby won his fourth title with an 18–15 victory over Shaun Murphy in the final.
May 1 Horse Racing Kentucky Derby Louisville, Kentucky, US First across the line, Medina Spirit, later tested positive for a steroid after the race and may be disqualified. The horse died in December.
May 15 Football (Soccer) FA Cup final Wembley Stadium, London Leicester City won their first FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea
May 20-23 Golf US PGA Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, SC 50 year old Phil Mickelson won his second PGA Championship, and sixth major, becoming the oldest player to win a major in the history of golf.
May 21 - June 6 Ice Hockey IIHF World Championship Riga, Latvia Canada won their 27th title, after defeating Finland in the final in overtime
May 29 Football (Soccer) UEFA Champions League Final Estádio do Dragão, Porto Chelsea won the final 1–0 for their second UEFA Champions League title
May 30 Auto Racing Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis, USA Hélio Castroneves won his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500
May 30 - Jun 13 Tennis French Open Paris, France Novak Djokovic won the men's singles, his 19th Grand Slam singles title and the first male player to win the double career Grand Slam in the Open Era. Barbora Krejčíková won the women's singles, her first Grand Slam singles title
Jun 11 - Jul 11 Football (Soccer) Euro 2020 tournament played across Europe, the final in London UK. Italy won their 2nd title, beating England on penalties in the final following a 1–1 draw after extra time.
Jun 13 - Jul 10 Football (Soccer) 47th Copa América Argentina, Colombia Brazil Argentina won their 15th title, defeating the hosts Brazil 1–0 in the final.
Jun 17-20 Golf US Open Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, California Jon Rahm won his first major championship, becoming the first U.S. Open champion from Spain.
Jun 26 - Jul 18 Cycling Tour de France France The race was won for the second consecutive year by Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates, becoming the youngest rider to win the Tour twice.
Jun 28 - July 7 Ice Hockey Stanley Cup finals Montreal & Tampa Tampa Bay Lightning won their 3rd Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.
Jun 28 - July 11 Tennis Wimbledon London, England Novak Djokovic defended his title, claiming a record-equaling 20th major title. The Ladies' Singles was won by Ash Barty.
July 6–20 Basketball NBA Finals Milwaukee & Phoenix The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 4–2, their 1st NBA championship in 50 years and their second overall.
Jul 15–18 Golf The Open Championship Royal St George's Golf Club Sandwich Kent England Won by American Collin Morikawa, two strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth.
Jul 23 - Aug 8 Multi-sports Summer Olympics Tokyo, Japan The USA and China battled it out for the top of the medal table. The new sports of surfing, climbing and skating stole the show.
Aug 21-22 Auto Racing 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France The race was won by a Toyota GR010 Hybrid, raced by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López
Aug 24 - Sep 5 Multi-sports Paralympic Games Tokyo, Japan China topped the medal table for the fifth consecutive Paralympics, with Great Britain and the USA following.
Aug 30 - Sep 12 Tennis US Open New York, USA Daniil Medvedev won the men's singles title. Emma Raducanu won the women's singles title, becoming the first qualifier, male or female, to reach a major final and win a major title.
Sep 4-6 Golf Solheim Cup Toledo, Ohio, USA Team Europe secured a second victory on US soil as they clinched a 15-13 win over Team USA
Sep 19-26 Cycling UCI Road World Championships Bruges and Leuven, Belgium The men's road race was won by defending champion Julian Alaphilippe of France in a solo victory, while the women's event was won by Italian Elisa Balsamo in a bunch sprint.
Sep 24-26 (postponed from 2020) Golf Ryder Cup Whistling Straits (Haven, Wisconsin) The United States, fielding its youngest ever team, regained the Ryder Cup with a record 19–9 victory.
Oct 17 - Nov 14 Cricket ICC World T20 (men) UAE and Oman Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets to win their first T20 World Cup
Oct 20-24 Cycling World Track Championships Achgabat, Turkmenistan Roubaix, France Germany was the most successful in the 22 events, including the elimination race for the first time.
Oct 26 - Nov 2 Baseball World Series Truist Park (Atlanta), Minute Maid Park (Houston) The Atlanta Braves won their 4th series, beating the Houston Astros. 4-2
Oct 25 - Nov 6 Boxing AIBA World Championships (men) Belgrade, Serbia Cuban boxers won the most golds. For the first time, medal winners were awarded prize money.
Nov 2 Horse Racing Melbourne Cup Victoria, Australia The race was won by Verry Elleegant, the first horse to win from barrier 18.
Nov 23-29 Table Tennis World Championship Houston, United States Chinese players won 4 out of the 5 gold medals on offer.
Dec 7-17 Weightlifting World Championships Tashkent, Uzbekistan Many of the world's best lifters did not compete.

If you have a correction or know of events that should be included here, please let me know.

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