2020 year in sport: Champions who stayed champions in a difficult year

2020 was a difficult year for sports around the world. Several tournaments halted midway, thousands lost employment and a cloud of uncertainty fell over the fraternity while the pandemic ravaged the world.

In time, sport found a way to return and champions – individuals and teams – got back to business as usual in no time. Here’s a look at some of these personalities and sides that did not let COVID-19 hamper their dominance.

Cricket

Australian Women’s T20 Team

Meg Lanning’s Australia beat India by 85 runs in the T20 World Cup to lift its fifth world title. The summit clash in Melbourne saw 86,174 people in attendance, the highest attendance for a women’s cricket event worldwide.

Mumbai Indians

Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians won a record-extending fifth IPL title making it the most successful franchise in the history of the league.

Football

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich enjoyed a dominant 2020, sweeping the domestic treble (Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Super Cup) and the UEFA Champions League title. The side also dominated the UEFA awards and FIFA Annual honours.

Liverpool

After winning the Champions League in 2019, the Premier League was priority for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Poised to win the League, the side had to wait to finally lay its hands on the trophy due to the COVID-19-induced shutdown, ending a 30-year wait for the first-division honour.

Olympique Lyonnais

Olympique Lyonnais has turned into a win-machine of sorts, dominating the French first division and the UEFA Women’s Champions League with ease. Lyon romped to its 14th consecutive domestic victory and fifth UWCL triumph on the trot in 2020, unparalleled success for a women’s football side.

Basketball

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers overcame a season that saw the United States embroiled in the consequences of police brutality and a raging coronavirus pandemic to win its 17th NBA Championship. The Lakers’ victory tied them with the Boston Celtics for most championship wins.

Seattle Storm

Sue Bird’s Seattle Storm won the 2020 WNBA Finals, beating Las Vegas Aces in the best of five series. It’s the Storm’s fourth championship overall and second in the last three years, winning the title before in 2004, 2010 and 2018.

Tennis

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal equaled Roger Federer’s haul of 20 Grand Slam singles titles by winning his 13th French Open title, the first player (male or female) to win 13 titles at any one tour-level event since the start of the Open Era

Novak Djokovic

It was a year of mixed fortunes for Novak Djokovic but that did not stop the Serbian from winning a record-extending eighth Australian Open title and ending the year ranked #1 in the ATP standings. Djokovic has also just entered his 300th week ranked first among men, closing in on Federer’s tally of 310 weeks.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka won her second US Open title, becoming the first player since 1994 to come from a set down to win the women’s final at the Flushing Meadows. She also lent her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement by donning masks with the names of victims of police brutality in the US.

F1

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is officially the best F1 driver in the world, having won his seventh driver’s championship title in 2020. His dominance helped Mercedes cruise to its seventh consecutive constructor’s title, becoming the first team to do so in F1 history.

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