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Australian Sporting Highlights in 2021

Major events in Australian sport for 2021 included the Olympics, and the men's Cricket T20 World Cup, though 2021 was another crazy year for sports due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the effect on the sporting calendar was significant.

Some of Australia's major sporting events were canceled in 2021 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic, such as the men's and women's Australian Golf Open, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and the cycling Tour Down Under in South Australia.

Novak Djokovic successfully defended the Men's Singles title at the Australian OpenNovak Djokovic successfully defended his Men's Singles title at the Australian Open

The Olympic Games were held in Tokyo, one year later than originally planned. Despite some rumblings of a boycott, most of Australia's top athletes competed, with Australia finishing 6th on the Olympic medal tally, with 17 gold medals, equaling the best total from Athens 2004.  Australia had good success in the pool, thanks to Emma McKeon, who was the  most successful swimmer at the Rio 2016 Games. A gold in skateboarding. Brisbane was announced as host of 2032 Olympic Games. High profile Basketballer Liz Cambage was a big loss to the women's team. World number one Ash Barty was a favorite to win the tennis tournament, but could not repeat win from Wimbledon.

The Australian Open tennis tournament was delayed by a few weeks, and many players had to go into quarantine in the lead up to the tournament. Ash Barty was the best performing Australian, making the quarter finals. At Wimbledon, Barty defeated Karolína Plíšková in the final, becoming the first Australian women's champion since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. She finished at number one in the year-end rankings for the third season in a row. Barty was awarded the 2021 WTA Player of the Year, an award she also won in 2019.

Australian wheelchair athlete Dylan Alcott is the only man to complete the Golden Slam in quad singles tennis, winning all four majors and the Paralympics in 2021 (a Dutch woman did it this year too).

Sam Kerr led Chelsea to women's FA Cup glory, scoring a brace in a 3-0 rout of Arsenal in the tournament final at Wembley in front of 40,942 fans to claim a domestic 2020-21 treble. Kerr was also awarded the golden boot for the most goals in the season, having won the same award while playing in the USA and Australia. She finished 2nd in the FIFA Player of the Year.

Socceroos became the first team to win 11 consecutive matches in a single World Cup qualification campaign, putting them on top of their group, which bodes well for next year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Then they lost their next game against Japan, expending a period of losses to them.

Australian men's cricket team narrowly missed the world test championships final, but in the shorter game were successful, beating New Zealand by eight wickets to win their first T20 World Cup. The Australian women's cricket team set an all-time record with their 22nd consecutive win in an ODI, which took the team past Ricky Ponting's Australian men's side that won 21 straight matches. Later, Australia's record 26-match ODI winning streak was over after suffering a loss to India in a final-over thriller.

Australian Liam Hendriks won the American League's (AL) relief pitcher award for the second year in a row, reaffirming his status as one of the USA Major League Baseball's top closers.

The AFL grand final was played at Optus Stadium in Perth because a COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne meant no crowds could attend the match if it was played at the MCG. It was the first grand final played in Perth and the second consecutive grand final to be played outside Victoria. Melbourne beat the Western Bulldogs by 74-points.

The Arafura Games, a multi-sport international event in Darwin was due to be held in May, however it had to be canceled, and is expected to be held in 2023.

The 2021 Don Award, which recognizes the sporting achievement of the year which has inspired the people of Australia, was awarded to Basketballer Patty Mills, the first basketball player to win the award, for his efforts in helping the Australian men's national team secure their first Olympic basketball medal, bronze in Tokyo 2020.

Notable deaths in Australian sport for 2021: Rugby league legend Tommy Raudonikis died at the age of 70 following a long illness with cancer. John Konrads Australian swimmer died aged 78. One of the Rugby league's greatest ever players, Bob Fulton, died, aged 73. Fulton coached Australia to victory in the 1992 and 1995 World Cup. St George legend and fellow rugby league Immortal Norm Provan died aged 89. Cricketer Ashley Mallett died. AFL great Russell Ebert, who died in Novemeber, is considered one of the greatest players in the history of Australian rules football in South Australia (he was elevated to Legend status in the Australian Football Hall Of Fame in 2022).

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

Date(s) Sport Event Location Results
Feb 8-21 Tennis Australia Open Melbourne, Australia Ash Barty was the best performing Australian, making the quarter finals. In the men's draw, Minaur and Kyrgios made the 3rd round
Apr 8-11 Golf Masters Augusta, Georgia, USA Marc Leishman was Australia's highest finisher on -6 after a disappointing +1 final round leaving him tied for fifth
May 20-23 Golf US PGA Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, SC Jason Scrivener was the best Aussie, at tied for 23rd.
May 30 - Jun 13 Tennis French Open Paris, France No Australian players made the 3rd round. Ash Barty retired in her 2nd round match.
Jun 17-20 Golf US Open Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, California Adam Scott tied for 35th place
Jun 26 - Jul 18 Cycling Tour de France France Australian Ben O'Connor finished fourth overall in his Tour de France debut.
Jun 27 Football (Soccer) A-League Final AAMI Park, Melbourne Melbourne City claimed its first A-League premiership title. City reached the grand final last season, losing to Sydney FC.
Jun 28 - July 11 Tennis Wimbledon London, England Ash Barty defeated Karolína Plíšková in the final, 6–3, 6–7(4–7), 6–3 to win the Ladies' Singles tennis title
Jul 15–18 Golf The Open Championship Royal St George's Golf Club Sandwich Kent England Cameron Smith ties in 33rd place
Jul 23 - Aug 8 Multi-sports Summer Olympics Tokyo, Japan Australians won 46 medals, including 17 golds, equaling their best total from Athens 2004 
Aug 24 - Sep 5 Multi-sports Paralympic Games Tokyo, Japan Australia's biggest team ever of 179 athletes Australia finished eighth on the medal tally with 21 golds.
Aug 30 - Sep 12 Tennis US Open New York, USA Ash Barty and Alexi Popyrin made the 3rd round
Sep 19-26 Cycling UCI Road World Championships Bruges and Leuven, Belgium Luke Plapp won a silver in teh men's u23 time trial.
Sept 25 AFL Grand Final Perth, WA In the final played in Perth, Melbourne beat the Western Bulldogs by 74-points.
Oct 3 Rugby League NRL Grand Final Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia Penrith Panthers beat the South Sydney Rabbitohs 14–12 to claim their third premiership title.
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. Mitchell Marsh was Player of the Match, David Warner Player of the Tournament.
Nov 2 Horse Racing Melbourne Cup Victoria, Australia The race was won by Verry Elleegant, the first horse to win from barrier 18.

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

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