With the Qatar World Cup having just delivered its fair share of drama on and off the pitch, it’s time for us to look back at some of the other memorable moments of 2022.
From Kamila Valieva’s tears to Chloe Kelly’s iconic celebration, sports fans experienced an emotionally charged year.
Our journey begins in Beijing, where world records and controversy intertwined to provide us with Winter Games we won’t be forgetting soon.
Olympic Games Beijing 2022
Facing intense criticism for its human rights record, its artificial snow, and stringent COVID-19 restrictions, the Beijing Olympics divided public opinion but still kept fans on the edge of their seats thanks to athletes at the very top of their game.
Led by Johannes Boe, Norway set a new Winter Olympic record with 16 gold medals whilst the Dutch speed skating legend, Ireen Wüst, became one of the few athletes to have taken top honours in five Games.
In a tale of highs and lows, fans will recall Nathan Chen’s redemption and Eileen Gu’s meteoric rise, but also Mikaela Shiffrin’s early exit and Kamila Valieva’s collapse.
Hailed as one of the most talented skaters in history, the 16-year-old Russian tested positive for a banned substance but the Court of Arbitration for Sport allowed her to continue competing, citing her young age.
Amid the pressures of media scrutiny, Valieva eventually missed out on a podium finish in the individual final and would later sit in tears as the winner, Anna Shcherbakova, received her medal.
2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar
From world records in Beijing to attendance records in England, let’s rewind to the Women’s European Championship.
More than 87,000 fans packed Wembley to watch England take on Germany in the final, a UEFA tournament record and a game that lived up to its billing.
Just when it seemed England might once again falter under the intense pressure of expectations, substitute Chloe Kelly came to the rescue.
Eight-time winners Germany had just handed France another disappointing tournament exit and would prove to be the lionesses’ toughest test.
Ella Toone’s stunning second-half finish looked to have been enough but Lina Magull’s 79th‑minute equaliser forced extra time.
Sarina Wiegman’s players seemed to be tiring but a solid defence kept Germany’s strikers at bay until Kelly provided the dream ending to a stunning tournament run.
The 24-year-old took her shirt off to celebrate, earning a yellow card but also a Twitter shout-out from Brandi Chastain, whose World Cup-winning celebration back in 1999 became one of the most iconic sports photos of all time and dramatically boosted the sport.
With Max Verstappen’s second F1 title, Tiger Woods’ comeback, or Annemiek van Vleuten’s dominance at the women’s Tour de France, 2022 produced moments of brilliance but it also marked the end of an era for tennis fans.
After illustrious careers that spanned about a quarter-century, it was time for two of the greatest players in the history of the game to bid farewell.
Before Roger Federer began winning Grand Slam titles in 2003, the men’s record for the most majors was 14 and held by Pete Sampras. Federer flew past that, setting a new standard that only Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could match.
On top of the 20 Grand Slams, fans will remember the one-handed backhand, the elegance, and the persona, which made Federer an ambassador for the sport.
His goodbye followed that of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and leaves questions about the future of a game the pair transcended for decades.
Serena also owns 14 Grand Slam doubles championships, all won with her older sister Venus, part of a remarkable tale of two siblings from Compton, California, both of whom grew up to be ranked No. 1.