Sport has a way of bringing people together in incredible ways. We all stay glued to the screens, in anticipation of what’s to come. We gather with friends and family to enjoy the entertainment that can only be generated by watching a live event, with no definitive outcome in sight.
These are the moments we all cherish. And while for the most part, we have a sense of what we could see on take place, every so often we all get a chance to witness history unfold in front of our eyes. These are the types of moments we all wait for. The unpredictability of the game, and the rise and fall of some of the best athletes the world has ever seen.
From seemingly impossible victories to displays of unmatched excellence, there have been hundreds of memorable sporting moments throughout the years.
The past 10 years have been a brilliant stretch for the sports world, with underdogs, ever-lasting champions, and drama in title fights. As we are only in the beginning of the 2020s, it only feels right to reflect back on some of the major sporting moments of the past decade:
1. 2012 Australian Open Men’s Final: 29 January 2012
Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal, Melbourne, Australia
This was not only the best match of the decade but also a huge sign that the big guns in men’s tennis were going to be around for years to come. This match lasted 5 hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest match ever. Djokovic took this match, however Nadal put up a fight. This game made history and the two champions alongside Roger Federer continued to dominate tennis with more Grand Slam titles.
2. 2016 Rio Olympics: 5-21 August 2016
Wayde Van Niekerk and Caster Semenya Bring back Olympic Gold, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Cape Town-born Wayde van Niekerk annihilated the 400m world record to become a South African hero. In the women’s 800m final, Caster Semenya flew to victory, bringing home the country’s second gold medal.
3. 2018 U.S Open Women’s Final: 8 September 2018
Naomi Osaka vs. Serena Williams, New York
20 year old Naomi Osaka beating champion Serena Wiliams to win her first major at the 2018 U.S. Open was impressive. Osaka also had to overcome thousands of Williams’s fans as her opponent spiralled into a series of arguments with the umpire—which made for chaos throughout the match. There were tears for Osaka afterward and questions about whether she could repeat her success. Then she backed it up by winning the Australian Open.
4. 2019 Masters: 14 April 2019
Tiger Woods Masters, Augusta
Tiger Woods had one of the wildest decades of any star athlete in American history. When the 2010s began, he was embroiled in a sex scandal that would end his marriage and dent his image. By the middle of the decade, injuries had him barely being able to play. But just when Woods thought he was done as a competitive golfer, he made an all-time great come back. The pinnacle moment of his career came on the 14th of April, 2019, when Woods rallied from behind to win the Masters at the Augusta National. At age 43, Woods not only won his 15th major championship and his first in 11 years. He also demonstrated what a captivating figure he remains both inside and outside the world of golf.
5. 2019 Rugby World Cup Final: 2 November 2019
South Africa’s Triumph vs England, Yokohama Japan
While winning the Rugby world cup in 1995 was memorable for South Africa, winning it again in 2019 came with another form of uniqueness. Led by the dynamic Siyamthanda Kolisi, who became the third South African captain to lift rugby union’s ultimate prize, helping his team to a 32-12 victory over a much-fancied England side in Yokohama, Japan.
In 2018, Kolisi was appointed captain of the Springboks, becoming the first black man to hold the position and he led to the re-building of the side contributing greatly. 25 years after the end of apartheid in South Africa, Siya Kolisi is seen as a symbol of change and hope in an often white-dominated sport. South African Rugby has seen its fair share of xenophobia and racism since the integration of non-white rugby players in 1995. However, now with a diverse team and a third championship in the bag, the future of Rugby is bright in South Africa.
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