international sports news stories of the year:
Lionel Messi won the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or, the prestigious
award for the world's outstanding footballer, for the third
straight time on Jan. 9. He also made history on Dec. 9 when he
scored his 85th and 86th goals of 2012 to set a new record for the
number of goals scored in a calendar year. The Argentine striker's
total scores of this year have piled to 91 goals after last week's
Defending champion and World No.1 Novak Djokovic won his third
Australian Open title after beating 10-time Grand Slam winner
Rafael Nadal of Spain 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in a marathon
final which lasted five hours and 53 minutes on Jan. 29.
Seventy-four people were killed and hundreds were injured in a
riot breaking out following a soccer match in northern Egypt on
In February, the American-born-Chinese Jeremy Lin burst into the
spotlight of NBA as an unlikely benchwarmer turned hero for New
York Knicks. Lin was drafted out of Harvard and was waived by two
clubs late last year before he caught on with the Knicks.
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba tied the score with a thunder-like
header in the last minutes of regular time against Bayern Munich
and scored the decider in the penalty shootout, leading Chelsea to
their first-ever Champions League title on May 19.
LeBron James finally added an elusive NBA title to his already
impressive resume, guiding the Heat to a five-game triumph over
Oklahoma Thunder for their second NBA championship On June 21.
Following up on his regular-season Most Valuable Player nod, James
averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in the finals
and was named finals MVP.
Spain stepped on top of Europe on July 1 by beating the 10-man
Italy 4-0 in the final. Italy, who were in the final for the first
time in 12 years, again failed to claim a second European crown
after their triumph in 1968.
David Silva's header, Jordi Alba's cool finish, as well as
Fernando Torres and Juan Mata's goal relay in the last 10 minutes
ensured the reigning world and European champions of becoming the
first team in football history to clinch three major titles in a
On July 28, the British capital launched its third modern
Olympic Games - London 2012, described by the organizer as "an
athletes' Games". It attracted 10,490 athletes from 204 countries
and regions. A total of 44 world records and 117 Olympic records
have been set at the grand event. Olympic chief Jacques Rogge
hailed the London Olympics as "happy and glorious" games as he
closed the 30th Summer Games.
London Paralympic Games opened 17 days later, teams from 164
countries and regions, the largest ever number in the history of
the Paralympic Games, brought together about 4,200 athletes to
compete in 503 medal events of 20 sports.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt kept his name at London 2012 as the
fastest man on earth by repeating the 100 meters and 200 meters
Whilst, American swimmer Michael Phelps concluded his long
career in London. Though he didn't repeat the eight golds peak at
the Beijing Games, he still won four golds and two silvers in
seven events. As the most decorated Olympian in history, Phelps
surpassed gymnast Larissa Latynia with 22 Olympic medals.
Lance Armstrong, one of cycling's greatest heroes, fell from his
throne, being labeled as a dope cheat for the past decade or so.
His fall from grace, surely the biggest anti-doping news of the
year, put cycling in crisis. A 1,000-page report released by the
US Anti-Doping Agency in October, not only justified the stripping
of Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles and a lifetime ban on
August 25, but also exposed many doping secrets in professional