Sports Review / Sporting Hero of 2014

by Charlie_East_West on December 31, 2014

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Farewell to 2014. After two of the most glorious years of sport, 2014 was a rather subdued affair. This year could hardly compete with 2012 (London Olympics, Wiggins et al) and 2013 (Froome and Murray et al).

My predictions at the start of 2014 have proved to be a mixed bag. I have been proven correct on a stellar year for Rory McIlroy, Aberdeen FC, Germany at the World Cup, Manchester City and Novak Djokovic. But equally, I have been wide of the mark in predicting success for the Welsh Rugby Team, Laura Robson and Sebastian Vettel.

The dominant sporting success story probably lies within golf and the resurgence of Rory McIlroy who, after winning the The Open and the USPGA titles, now has four majors at the young age of 25. McIlroy was also a key part of the successful European Ryder Cup team. Providing he stays fit and focused, there is every chance that he will become the most successful European golfer of all time. McIlroy has the potential to win at least 10 Majors. It is likely the McIlroy will still be challenging for majors when I am in my 60’s. Now there’s a depressing thought about the passage of time.

The 2014 sporting year has seen a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. On the negative side – footballers get ever richer; rugby has got to the point that it is so fucking dangerous I now question whether it is wise for my own son to take up the sport; drugs scandals still circulate many sports, in particular cycling and athletics; cricket has had to come to terms with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes; Formula 1 continues to bore the arse of many people and corporate sponsorship continues to seep into every oraface of professional sport. Sport is no longer just about the game. Sport is all about the money.

Sport however, continues to amaze, provoke and inspire. We can only look back in sheer amazement at a McIlroy 400 yard drive off the 1st tee; Federer’s ballerina movement on a tennis court; 40 year old mother, Jo Pavey, winning the Commonwealth Games and in the process giving inspiration for all of us 40-somethings to get off our collective arses, put on the Nike trainers and go for a run; Messi & Ronaldo continuing to dazzle by averaging a goal a game in La Liga; glorious global sporting events in the shape and form of The Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games (magnificently hosted by Glasgow) and the World Cup displaying a refreshing onus on attack rather than cynical defending and providing the best World Cup Finals since 1982; and finally, and probably most poinantly, sport showcasing supreme courage and human decency when things go wrong – as shown by Australian captain, Michael Clarke’s moving tribute and heroic century in response to the tragic death of Australian cricketing teammate Phillip Hughes.

We can also look forward to 2015 with a sense of hope. There is a real chance that all of the British international football teams will qualify for the 2016 Euros. Yes, that even includes Scotland. There is also a real chance of the Home Unions reaching the business end of the Rugby World Cup. Ireland, in particular, have an outside chance of actually winning the World Cup.

The usual suspects will probably continue to shine – Lewis Hamilton, Usain Bolt, Rory McIlroy, The Big Four in tennis, Spanish and German football teams and the All Blacks. But, as always with sport, surprises will continue to happen, and we will all be watching and waiting for the unexpected to happen – because that is what makes sport so great. The tales of the unexpected.

And finally…we are pleased to announce the nominated shortlist for our inaugural All That’s Left Sporting Hero of the Year Award:-

The 2014 shortlist is as follows:-

– Jo Pavey
– Michael Clarke
– Rory McIlroy
– Novak Djokovic
– James Rodriquez
– Sam Burgess
– Manuel Neuer
– Lizzy Yarnold

In third place is:- Manuel Neuer – for redefining the art of goalkeeping into a new model of goalkeeper/sweeper. He won the World Cup with Germany, and in the process became the best goalkeeper in the world.

In second place is:- Rory McIlroy – for winning two majors and becoming the most talented British player ever to swing a club.

Drum roll…

And the winner of the 2014 All That’s Left Sporting Hero of the Year is…

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Michael Clarke – for carrying the weight of the Australian nation on his back in the aftermath of the death of his teammate and friend, Phillip Hughes; for providing a fitting tribute to Hughes; for scoring a century straight after the death of Hughes. He went beyond the role of Australian cricket captain and become the spiritual leader of a nation. He is a worthy winner of our award.

A Happy Sporting New Year to you and yours.

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