Gatlin’s win vs Bolt
One of the most captivating and emotionally charged sporting moments of the year was not a moment many wanted to see. When Justin Gatlin stormed past Usain Bolt to claim the 2017 World Athletics Championships 100m gold, quite a few in London’s Olympic stadium were not on their feet cheering.
It was supposed to be Usain Bolt’s farewell party, a day where the Jamaican would yet again take centre stage and win his final 100m race to cap off an incredible and illustrious career. Bolt only finished 3rd with not just Gatlin coming ahead of him but also the twenty-one year old Christian Coleman.
It was a poignant moment; Gatlin had not just beaten Bolt, his longstanding rival, but also his critics
Gatlin, twice suspended for doping, has played the role of the villain in the sport for quite some time now. When the boos unsurprisingly rang out the controversial athlete defiantly shushed the crowd in response. It was a poignant moment; Gatlin had not just beaten Bolt, his longstanding rival, but also his critics.
As for the wider athletics world it signalled the end of an era, the end of Usain Bolt’s decade-long spell at the very top. At the medals ceremony it was just strange to see Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, the ultimate showman, with the bronze around his neck when so many wanted to see him with yet another first-place trophy.
Mayweather vs McGregor
In my life, I’ve never known a sporting event being talked about more, by sports fans and non-sports fans alike, than the clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor. Boxing champion Mayweather, with a record of 49 wins to zero defeats, was challenged to a fight by UFC and MMA champion McGregor, in what would be his boxing debut. A lot of back-and-forth between the two sides took place, until it was eventually agreed that the fight (dubbed ‘The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History’, no less) would take place on August 26.
The build-up to the fight was dominated by two schools of thought. Firstly, the technical side – Mayweather was undefeated, and about to take on a novice to the sport. Surely there was no way that McGregor could possibly hope to beat this boxer extraordinaire? But then, doubts crept in. Given McGregor’s unabashed confidence as he approached the clash, the British spirit of rooting for the underdog started to manifest. We all knew it couldn’t happen, but could it? Would Conor McGregor be the one to finally defeat Mayweather?
This fight was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle events – a combination of personality and unpredictability made it a must-watch event
As it happened, no. McGregor started strong, but he couldn’t keep the pace up as the fight progresses. In Round 10, after an onslaught of punches to McGregor’s face, the match was called and Mayweather won by TKO. Even so, the battle was competitive, with many former boxers and pundits surprised. Mayweather then finally retired, passing Manny Pacquiao’s record with his fiftieth win.
This fight was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle events – a combination of personality and unpredictability made it a must-watch event, and there was an excitement surrounding it that few sports events ever capture. Everybody was gripped in the run-up to the battle, and it proved a gripping clash – one of the sporting highlights of the year.