2016 is almost over, and it’s impossible to say that it didn’t have its fair share of exciting stories. From the Olympics, to some team’s ending extremely long championship droughts, we saw just about everything in sports, so let’s look at the top 10 stories from this year.
Penny Oleksiak and Andre de Grasse dominate the Olympics for Canada: Oleksiak became the first Canadian to win four medals in the same Summer Olympics, while de Grasse brought home three of his own competing against Bolt.
Denver wins the Super Bowl in Peyton Manning’s final season: After many seasons in which Manning’s defense’s let him down, the defense stepped up on route to a win over the nearly unbeatable Carolina Panthers.
Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps retire on top: Bolt swept all three running events for the third consecutive Olympics, while Phelps came out of retirement to win six medals in swimming, five of them gold.
Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup champion: After lots of criticism from the Toronto media as a Maple Leaf, Kessel was traded to the Penguins, proceeded to win the Stanley Cup in his first season there, putting up 22 points along the way.
John Scott and the All-Star Game: After the fans elected Scott into the NHL All-Star game, the league tried to outcast him, and he was traded out of the division, and sent to the minors. Scott responded with two goals, winning the game’s MVP award.
Kevin Durant signs with the Warriors: One of the biggest stories of the 2015-16 NBA season was the looming free agent status of Durant, and where he may go. While there was speculation that he’d return to the Thunder, or go to the Raptors or the Celtics, Durant elected to go to the Warriors, who were fresh off a Finals appearance and a 73-9 record, causing controversy similar too Lebron James move to Miami.
The 23 minutes that changed hockey: On June 29, with free agency looming, hockey saw a few changes that shook the entire league. First, Taylor Hall was traded to the Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson straight up. Then, Montreal traded defenseman PK Subban to the Predators for captain Shea Weber. Following closely behind, Steven Stamkos, a pending free agent, re-signed with Tampa Bay for eight more years.
Lebron James gives Cleveland their first championship in 52 years: After getting drafted by his local team, the Cavaliers, Lebron left the team to go to Miami to win a championship, a move that saw fans in outrage. After winning a couple of titles, he returned to Cleveland, promising a championship there. In his second season in Cleveland, he delivered on that promise, giving the Cavs their first ever championship, beating the 73-9 Warriors after being down 3-1 (the first time a team has ever done that in the NBA Finals).
Leicester City wins Premier League in the ultimate underdog story: In the team’s second season back in the Premier League, Leicester City was considered a long shot to win the title, with the odds at 5,000-1 for some bookmakers. However, they proved just about everybody wrong, winning their first championship in a fairy tale story. Leister completed the fastest rise to the title, except for Ipswich Town in 1962, advancing from the third tier of the English Football Association (League One) to Premier League Champions in seven years.
Cubs end their 108-year World Series drought: The butt end of jokes for literally centuries, the Cubs could never find success, no matter how close they got. Whether you believe in the Billy goat curse, or have a dire hatred for Steve Bartman, the Cubs always found a way to screw up. After going 103-58 during the season, and making it to the World Series, it seemed like the curses would continue when the Cubs were down 3-1 to Cleveland. But, in storybook fashion, they made a miraculous comeback, and won their first World Series in 108 years.
2016 was a year of underdog stories, amazing comebacks, and star athletes ending their careers on a high note. As we change the calendar to another year, we have a whole new year of exciting stories to look forward to.