Great Britain’s greatest year ever for sport

As seasons end and we approach BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Claire Nicholson looks back on what is arguably, Great Britain’s greatest year ever for sport. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some more in depth articles about some of the sporting heroes and heroines from 2016, but for now, here is a breakdown on how 2016 has become known for being Great Britain’s greatest year yet for sport.

Football

Leicester City winning the 2015-2016 Premier League started the year off as one of Britain’s most astonishing sporting stories. A small, and at the time, unfashionable team stormed to the Premier League title. Incredibly, 2008 saw them relegated to what was essentially the third division – something of an amazing turnaround. In the summer of 2015, they had odds of 5,000 to 1 to win.

Olympics 2016

At the Rio Olympics, we made history by becoming the first host nation to increase their medal tally at the Olympics after the one they’ve hosted. From the rowing delights to the cycling velodrome – we came home with a staggering 27 golds and 67 medals in total.

This Olympics also marked the first time that everyone in the track cycling team came home with a medal. We became strangely angered by the little pizza delivery guy in the cycling Kerin event – particularly when Jason Kenny nearly got disqualified in the very same event, all before storming to Olympic Gold.

Other highlights included gymnasts Max Whitlock and Louis Smith conquering the Pommel Horse and 16-year-old Amy Tinkler claiming an unexpected bronze.

Over at the equestrian centre, we saw Charlotte Dujardin claim another gold on her horse Valegro, and 58 year old Nick Skelton claim gold on his horse too. In their last Olympics as a pair, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning extended their unbeaten which stretches back to well before London 2012 to claim gold over at the lake Lagoa.

Paralympics

We also had an incredible Paralympics – reappearances from London 2012 and Paralympians taking to the world stage for the very first time. Ellie Simmonds winning gold in the pool once more to Sarah Storey adding to her astonishing medal tally from numerous games and two sports.

We were also amazed by 15-year-old Ellie Robinson storming the S6 50m butterfly. Kadeena Cox also made her mark on Paralympic Sport by winning Golds in both athletics and cycling despite a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Tennis

Tennis on the GB front has been close to incredible. Over the past year we’ve enjoyed watching Jo Konta climb from about 135 in the world in June 2015 to ending 2016 world number 10.

On the other side of the tennis circuit, British youngster Kyle Edmund again halved his ranking, climbing from around 100 in the world at the start of the year to a year end, career high of 45.

We can’t forget Dan Evans climbing to around 50 in the world, and of course the hero of Wimbledon 2016, Marcus Willis.  Floating at around 780 in the world he came through Wimbledon’s pre-qualifying, qualifying and his first-round match – all beating opponents ranked much higher than him. This set him up for a dream encounter with childhood hero, Roger Federer on the centre court at Wimbledon. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Of course, Andy Murray has had a stunning year too. He reached the final of the Australian Open in January, had his daughter Sophia in February, won numerous titles including Wimbledon, Queens and of course his Rio Olympic Gold medal. Additionally, on the 7th November, he completed the final ascent in the rankings – in May he was around 8 thousand points of World Number One – early November he leads the rankings by 405 points. What. A. Year.

We can’t also forget the achievements of Jamie Murray, the elder brother of Andy Murray. In April he also became the best doubles player in the world, with partner Bruno Soares, he won the Australian Open. He’s had a consistent and amazing year too.

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A photo posted by Andy Murray (@andymurray) on

2016 has been one hell of a year for Great Britain’s sports men and women, let’s hope next year can be even better – why not get inspired and take up a new sport in time for the new year?

Featured photo credit: www.bbc.co.uk

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