From the World Cup to Wimbledon and exciting new stars to evergreen veterans, these are the moments that made our sporting year in 2018.
France were the eventual and deserving champions at the FIFA World Cup, an event which saw upsets galore and made a global star of the electric Kylian Mbappe. Croatia’s Luka Modric was named the player of the tournament after a series of industrious displays.
France are the 2018 @FIFAWorldCup champs after defeating Croatia 4-2. We look back at the goals, protests, upsets and stars of a tournament that gripped more than three billion viewers worldwide. #France #WorldCup #WorldCupFinal2018 #sportshttps://t.co/EwV2ptxEbx
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) July 16, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal made an early exit from the tournament but the flamboyant star consoled himself with a holiday in the Greek Islands and a US$123 million move to Italian giants Juventus. In the English Premier League, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool jostled for top position, with the latter heading into Christmas at the top of the ladder and still yet to lose a match. Usain Bolt also tried his hand at professional football, briefly appearing for the Central Coast Mariners in Australia’s A League.
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) September 5, 2018
Another iconic name, Serena Williams, returned to competition in 2018 after taking time off to have a child. Despite being controversially given the seeding of 25 at Wimbledon, she almost instantly returned to being one of the sport’s elite players.
Four different women won the tennis grand slams (Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka) with the latter final also being notable for Serena Williams’ tirade at match officials. Halep’s breakthrough at this level helped her end the year at number one. On the men’s side, the old firm of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic continued to dominate. Federer and Nadal claimed the Australian Open and the French Open respectively, while Djokovic won the two other slams.
Tennis champions @DjokerNole, @RafaelNadal and @rogerfederer are the top three men in the world for a record seventh time, though #AlexanderZverev is hot in pursuit. #tennis #sports #ATPrankings #newshttps://t.co/uT5zaYC13q
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) November 28, 2018
In golf, all eyes were on the Phil Mickelson v Tiger Woods pay-per-view match. Eventually won by Mickelson, the event also attracted immense interest as a possible preview of the future of professional sports as a spectacle largely beholden to gambling after sports betting was finally legalised in the US.
.@TigerWoods and @PhilMickelson will play for US$9 million in an unprecedented pay-per-view event. Is this the future of how we watch #golf or just a one-off novelty? #entertainment #sportshttps://t.co/UgoRSK84h4
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) November 23, 2018
The biggest story in cricket was the Australian team being caught tampering with the ball during a Test match in South Africa. The incident generated endless headlines and saw the team’s coach bid a tearful departure. Captain Steve Smith, Vice-Captain Dave Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft were all slapped with lengthy bans. The episode led to significant soul-searching, multiple book-length reviews and ongoing debate as to the severity of their punishments. Without their two best batsmen, the Australian team struggled on the field but managed to level the Test series with India in a memorable Perth Test.
One of sport's biggest names has made the move to Hollywood, with @KingJames joining the @Lakers in a free agency decision that shifts the balance of power within the @NBA. #NBA #NBAFreeAgency #sport #business #Lakers https://t.co/6mwQak3mkR
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) July 2, 2018
In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors cruised to another championship amid rumblings their ridiculously talent-laden roster was harming the competitive balance of the league. Tellingly, the most memorable point of a lopsided finals victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers was a moment of pure idiocy from Cavaliers guard J.R Smith. Believing his team was ahead in the dying seconds of game one, Smith dribbled out the clock instead of looking to score, cementing his place in meme infamy. Not long after, LeBron James called time on his stint at the Cavaliers and moved to the bright lights of Los Angeles to begin a new chapter with the storied Lakers franchise.
.@JimmyButler, an #NBA superstar with a history of clashing with teammates, has become part of an intriguing, potentially volatile #superteam at the Philadelphia @sixers. #basketball #JimmyButler #sport #NBAtradeshttps://t.co/vurSeaAK4A
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) November 14, 2018
The sport also saw the retirement of Manu Ginobili, Jimmy Butler’s move to Philadelphia and the rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo to MVP favouritism. In women’s basketball, the US claimed yet another victory at the World Cup in Spain, with Australia taking the silver medal.
In a feat likened to @usainbolt's 9.58 100m run and Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game, Kenyan @EliudKipchoge has slashed a minute off the #marathon record. #sports #recordbreaker #newshttps://t.co/GM2Cme7emx
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) September 17, 2018
Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge also claimed a piece of sporting history in 2018, smashing the previous world record for the fastest marathon. In September, he completed the Berlin race in just 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds, an average pace of 20.7 km/hour.
This year’s Youth Olympics, held in Brazil, also offered a fascinating glimpse into the possible future of sports as they showcased the likes of breakdancing, BMX racing, skateboarding and wall-climbing.