Looking back at this year, 2016 has been very productive in the sports world. It was unlike any other year as sports fanatics got to experience two major events: the France Euro Cup and the Rio Summer Olympic Games. Both of them brought many people around the world together for the love of sports. Those two moments were amongst others that contributed to a spectacular sports year.
In February, Toronto was the host city for the 2016 NBA All-Star Games. It was a memorable sports event as many celebrities and NBA players travelled here to Toronto for the love of basketball.
In May, the Toronto Raptors made history when they advanced to their first NBA Conference Finals. Unfortunately they were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ended up winning the NBA Finals. The pressure is on for the Raptors as they continue to strive for a spot in the 2017 playoffs. It was a huge accomplishment for the team as they advanced the furthest they have ever done in their franchise’s history.
In June, LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship in their franchise history. This was a huge moment for James and Cavaliers fans as a new team was crowned champions in the NBA.
The biggest moment for the Toronto Maple Leafs team occurred in June during NHL Draft Day. Auston Matthews was drafted first overall by the Maple Leafs. After ending in last spot in the NHL standings for the 2015-2016 season, this was a moment that many fans were longing for and it actually happened. Matthews proved why he was a force to be reckoned with when he scored four goals in his NHL debut, getting many hockey fans excited about the Maple Leafs.
The UEFA Euro Cup was held in France during the summer months of June and July. It was phenomenal for soccer fans to come together and witness great games as they all cheered for different teams. One of the highlights of the tournament was the success of the underdog teams such as Iceland. Even though they did not win, Iceland’s international team attracted many fans around the world, especially with the way they interacted with the spectators. They made it far in the competition to the quarter-finals which is notable considering it was their first national tournament.
In August, Michael Phelps most likely swam in his last Olympic races at the Rio Summer Olympic Games held in Brazil. He ended what could be his Olympic career with 28 medals including 6 that he won in Brazil. He is considered to be one of the best athletes of all time and probably the best athlete of our generation who has motivated many people over the last few years with his commitment and dedication to swimming. Of course, for many of his fans it was emotional to watch him swim in his last few races especially after he mentioned that he would retire after the Rio Summer Olympic Games. There is a slight hope that he may come out of retirement in time for the 2012 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games considering he initially announced that the 2012 London Summer Olympics were his last but came back and competed in 2016 this past summer.
Additionally, another spectacular moment was when the host country won the gold medal in men’s football. This was a memorable moment for Brazilian soccer fans especially after the Brazil national soccer team got defeated and finished fourth during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Winning the gold medal was their redeeming moment.
The World Cup of Hockey was held in Toronto in September. This was the third time the tournament was held, with the last year it occurred being 2004. A phenomenal tournament that afforded our Canadian team to capture the gold, which made for a wonderful moment for Canadian hockey fans.
In October, for the second year in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers and were American League Division Series (ALDS) champs. Even though it did not have José Bautista’s famous bat flip, it was still an amazing tournament. Unfortunately, just like last year, the Blue Jays once again got eliminated in the champion series. However, this could be the last game for Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion as Blue Jays players. The Blue Jays playoff games in 2016 will not be forgotten easily. They say third time’s the charm and there’s always next season.