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Monday, February 6, 2023

18 sports highlights from 2021 worth revisiting

The sporting world is entering another period of uncertainty, with a surge in coronavirus cases, more sporting postponements and questions about the Beijing Olympics.

But 2021 was a great year at the Games as well. There were challenges and disruptions, but also lots of memorable moments. Take a minute or two and scroll through this highlight reel of some of our favorite plays from last year.

Most of the time, a ground ball ends an innings with two outs to the third baseman. Return to the dugout. On May 27, Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs hit a ball in exactly the same way—but somehow, thanks to his daring baserunning and several mistakes from the Pittsburgh Pirates, he instead ended up at second base and struck a teammate. allowed to score. It was the funniest game in Major League Baseball in 2021, if not one of the wildest in baseball history.

— James Wagner

During the Nets’ 2020-21 regular-season finale against Cleveland on May 16, the play was a beautifully executed fast break. It started with Blake Griffin fixing a batted ball and passing a one-arm, back-and-forth pass to Kyrie Irving in midcourt. Irving touch-passed the ball to Mike James, who had an open alley for the hoop. But instead of taking the layoff, he threw a pass off the backboard to sink Kevin Durant home. It was a mix of excellent passing and showmanship when basketball is at its best.

— Evan Easterling

Eugne Le Sommer is France’s career scoring leader and showed off her skills in a National Women’s Soccer League game on 31 July. With precise footwork, he made his way into the penalty area, knocking racing Louisville FC defender Emily Simon onto the grass. Made the cut and swung a shot into the far corner for his team, OL Reigns.

— Evan Easterling

One of the rarities of hockey is the lacrosse goal, when a player standing behind the opponent’s net leans under the ice and uses the blade of the stick to scoop the puck, cradle it and pass it to the unsuspecting goalkeeper. collides with. It is also known as the University of Michigan, as Mike Legg performed the maneuver in a 1996 NCAA Tournament game against Minnesota during the Wolverines’ championship run.

A rookie for the Anaheim Ducks, Trevor Zegrass put his own twist against the Buffalo Sabers this month. Instead of going for the goal, he passed a pass to Sonny Milano, who passed goalkeeper Ukko-Pekka Luukonen in his alley-oop’s version of hockey.

— Evan Easterling

One of the most anticipated events of the Tokyo Olympics was the women’s 400 meters hurdles. Often, when Sidney McLaughlin and Delilah Muhammad, both from the United States, meet on the track, the victory time sets a world record. The trend continued this summer, when both McLaughlin and Muhammad broke world records—which belonged to McLaughlin—in the finals of the event. McLaughlin won the race in 51.46 seconds, beating Muhammad by 12-hundredths of a second.

— Talia Minsberg

“I always say the perfect race doesn’t exist, but it’s the closest to a perfect race,” Norway’s Karsten Warholm said after the final of the men’s 400m hurdles in Tokyo. Warholm broke his own world record by winning in 45.94 seconds to defeat Rai Benjamin of the United States, who also broke the world record but was left with a silver medal. Five runners behind him set a national record.

— Talia Minsberg

Diego Schwartzman, one of the fastest men in tennis, made the tweener look passable in Paris last month with this fabulously disguised, no-look lob winner from Marcos Giron, USA.

— Christopher Cleary

Tampa Bay defenders swung him, and Patrick Mahomes fled. This happened throughout the Super Bowl, and at the beginning of the fourth quarter in the fourth and ninth, it was happening again. But still, he persisted, confused, concocted. It was the best throw of the game, near the last calendar year, in the NFL playoffs—and it went unfinished. But it certainly wasn’t Mahomes’ fault.

— Ben Schpigel

This moment of brilliance started inauspiciously on 27th October. Portland’s Santiago Moreno sent a leading pass ahead of his teammate Daron Esprila but Esprila could not drive the ball down. It swung seemingly harmlessly off the field at the Timbers’ Providence Park, and went into the hands of San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. But Marcinkowski mishandled the ball instead of collecting it. This allowed Esparilla to regain control, toss the ball into the air with a goal from his back and score an acrobatic shot from outside the penalty area.

— Evan Easterling

No doubt her stream of tears and shared joy after the win helped make it an Olympic moment. But let’s stop and applaud Tamyra Mensa-Stock’s athleticism in becoming the first black woman to win gold in wrestling. The top seed in the 68kg freestyle final, she defeated second seed Blessing Oboruddu of Nigeria 4-1 after two takedowns in the first period. (Oborududu became the first Nigerian to win a medal in wrestling.) Mensa-Stock’s performance, strength and strategy, in all-powerful harmony, were in line with her dominance in the sport, which is only likely to continue.

— Randall C. Archibold

The most spectacular goal scored during the 2021–22 NHL season has already been scored. On November 5, at the end of the third period of a tie game against the Rangers, center and human highlight reel for the Edmonton Oilers, Conor McDavid, collected a rebound off the board, Dipsy-doodles at the top of the zone. Slightly, then stick-handled their way down the middle through four Rangers players as if they weren’t even on the ice before slipping goalie Alexander Georgiev off the puck. It unfolded in slow motion, and demanded repeated viewing, each one revealing a tiny bit of innate hockey talent. Coming out of a season for the ages, McDavid gets ahead of himself. Oilers forward Zach Hyman called it his best goal of all time. We also.

— Shawna Richter

Robert Finke’s uncanny ability to find second gear in the pool resulted in two astonishing gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics. Finke, a first-time Olympian, won the men’s 800m freestyle with a spectacular comeback in the last 50m. (Watch him in lane 3 at the four-minute mark in the video.) Then he won 1,500 frees with another pounce on his final turn. The demonstrations left everyone – his opponents, his coach, even Fink himself – stunned. “I didn’t know I had these swimmers in me,” he said.

— Andrew Kehoe

I love speed and power like the next sports reporter, but I really like smarts, style, poise and any evidence that a player is operating on a higher cognitive plane. In April, Bruno Fernandes showed all that without touching the ball, instead allowing it to pass through his feet – a wrong direction called a dummy in soccer context – and thus a relatively simple goal to score. Frees the offending teammate. I especially liked that, as Manchester United were celebrating, Mason Greenwood looked at Fernandes and tapped his head three times in praise.

— Andrew Kehoe

Novak Djokovic won this epic US Open semifinal, but Alexander Zverev won the rally of the year: going for it and converting in the 53rd shot.

— Christopher Cleary

Notable moments in distance running exist only in retrospect. Success is measured several minutes and miles later, when the decision is made to set at a world-record pace, or to alternate with jogging to break away from the pack, or break an opponent.

Eugene, Ore., was so hot in late June that organizers of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials moved the women’s 10,000-meter race to the morning when it would be “only” 85 degrees and humid. It didn’t matter for Emily Sisson, who decided to accelerate her pace slowly and nearly six minutes into the race to break ground. He did so with ease, winning by an unheard of 1 minute 13 seconds. Sisson set an American record in a race that was so brutal that four competitors didn’t even finish and the third-place finisher had to be hospitalized and missed the final few laps.

— Kevin Draper

This video, which was accompanied by my article in January about a 14-year-old daredevil pro adventure skier, Kai Jones, is easily the most jaw-dropping sports performance I’ve seen this year (or last). Jones’ action, athleticism, and perseverance amount to visible evidence of a youth movement rewriting what used to be called out-of-bounds skiing. Don’t be surprised if you sometimes have the urge to cover your eyes while watching.

— Bill Pennington

Trick plays are wonderful when they work. When they don’t they are destructive. it did not work.

Virginia, trailing by 5 points within the final two minutes of the game, needed a touchdown to take the lead in her performance against her state rival Virginia Tech last month. On third and -7, the Cavaliers went for a deep cut in the playbook, a backward pass to a linesman who apparently should have jolted the defence. The Hokies lost, received a fourth-down stop, defeated Virginia for the 17th time in their last 18 matchups, and earned Bowl eligibility.

— Evan Easterling

The most memorable highlight isn’t always the best. Russia’s Anastasia Galashina was one of the last two competitors in the air rifle at the Tokyo Olympics. After scoring 10.8 and 10.7 at long time – 10.9 is the maximum – he took the lead with one shot remaining. That shot (at 1 minute 45 seconds in the video) was nowhere near the center of the goal: a terrible 8.9, his worst shot of the competition. She fell from first to second in an instant, with China’s Yang Qian winning the gold medal.

— Victor Mather

World Nation News Desk
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