2016 was an eventful year for sports, with multiple fairytale ends and immense individual achievements along with some heartbreaks and embarrassments.
From Leicester’s title win to Ronda Rousey’s lightening quick knockout, here’s a list of the top moments in sports for 2016:
Passion above money, Leicester’s fairytale
After a fairytale season, Leicester City won the Premier League title completing one of the most remarkable scripts in the history of the competition.
The bookmakers gave Leicester a 5,000-1 chance at winning the league, but they proved everyone wrong and secured the first top-flight title in the club’s history. Their amazing season was an inspiration to all, proving that passion is always going to be greater than money.
Cleveland defy the odds, win NBA title after 51 years
LeBron James’ reason for returning to Ohio finally arrived when Cleveland Cavaliers ended their 51-year drought by winning the NBA title.
No team has ever come back from 3-1 down to win the NBA finals, until now. “I’m thrilled to be a part of history,” James said. “I’m home. I’m home ... I’m lost for words. This is unbelievable.”
‘Underdogs’ Portugal make history
Fairytale ending to the Euro 2016 for Portugal as the Cristiano Ronaldo-led side won the cup for the first time in history.
Even the die-hard Portugal supporters were not expecting their team to achieve this, after coming through the group stage without a win.
But the proved everyone wrong by upsetting France in the final, with an extra-time winner by Eder, who was on Swansea City’s bench for almost the entire 2015-16 season.
Bolt’s ‘triple triple’
Jamaican ‘sprinting sensation’ Usain Bolt repeated his 2008-2012 Olympics’ achievements by winning gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay making his the most decorated Olympian on track. He was also named 2016 World Athlete of the Year
Ronaldo wins 4th Ballon d’Or
‘A dream come true again’ for Cristiano Ronaldo as he won his fourth Ballon d'Or.
Ronaldo’s 2016 was filled with success, winning most of the trophies, his team or he himself, contested for. He led Portugal to their first major title at Euro 2016.
‘Sir’ Murray wins Wimbledon
Sobbing in his chair, Andy Murray could not hold back his sentiments as he won the Wimbledon for a second time in his career.
The tennis champion was also knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours list, making him ‘Sir’ Andy Murray. What a year this lad had!
Manning wins second Super Bowl title
Broncos’ defence wrote a mythical script for Peyton Manning as he won his second Super Bowl title.
71,088 at the Levi’s Stadium witnessed C.J. Anderson’s ‘rushing’ touchdown that gave the Denver Broncos a 24-10 win over Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl 50.
Real triumph in ‘Madrid derby’ UCL final
Real Madrid defeated ‘city rivals’ Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final for the second time in three seasons.
Substitute Yannick Carrasco’s equalised in the 79th-minute, cancelling out a Sergio Ramos’ first half strike. The highly contested match was decided on penalties. Juanfran hit the post with the eighth attempt of the shootout, leaving the stage set for Cristiano Ronaldo to score the decisive penalty and he keenly did so.
108 years later, Cubs win WS
After waiting for 108 years, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series championship.
The Cubs had to wait for a little while longer though as rain poured down the diamond. Ben Zobrist smacked the tiebreaker, winning the cup for the Cubs against home-side Indians. This remarkable series had twists and turns as it was only the sixth time in the history of the World Series that a team came back from a three-games to one deficit and won the championship.
Bryant retires with ‘elite’ company
Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant retired from professional Basketball this year, marking an end to his sensational career of 18 All-Star titles and five NBA Championships and five NBA Championships.
With 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists in his career, Bryant was among elite company when he retired, being one of just four players in NBA history to achieve this.
‘Greatest Olympian ever’, Phelps wins 28th medal
After winning his 23rd Olympic gold medal, Michael Phelps ended his exceptional Olympics career.
He led the US to victory in the 400-meter medley relay at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, which was his final race. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history. His career was five Olympics long, with 23 gold medals and a total of 28 medals. No athlete from any sport has more than nine gold medals.
The ‘Notorious’ champion
Conor McGregor ended 2016 being the first person to hold two division championships simultaneously in UFC history.
The Notorious defeated Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 205 by second-round knockout. The Irishman, with a huge advantage over his opponent, began showboating in the second round, holding his hands behind his back. Alvarez had no answer to McGregor as he eventually fell to the Notorious’ hard hits.
Knocked out ‘Rowdy’
Ronda Rousey’s amazing return to the UFC was somewhat short lived as the ‘Rowdy’ was knocked out in 48 seconds at UFC 207.
Rousey rose to fame by delivering one-sided beatings. Her fall occurred in the exact same manner. Marking her first appearance since a stunning loss to Holly Holm last year, Rousey suffered another lopsided defeat to defending bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
The referee stopped the fight in just 48 seconds, as Nunes stunned Rousey with lightening quick punches. It is the fastest knockout finish of Nunes’ career as Rousey suffered another embarrassment.
Football gold for Brazil
Hosts Brazil finally won the Olympic gold in football after losing the 1984, 1988 and 2012 finals.
Brazil got some revenge of the World Cup as they beat Germany 5-4 on penalties to win their first men’s Olympic football gold medal. Neymar scored the winning penalty in front of the 78,000 after the game finished 1-1 even after extra time.
‘Retired champion’ Rosberg
World champion Nico Rosberg won nine of the 21 races in 2016, beating Lewis Hamilton by five points to be crowned champion.
But he also announced retirement from Formula 1. The 31-year-old German won his first world title and felt that he had done enough. “I climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right,” Rosberg said.