Ah, 2016. What a wild and unpredictable year it was. Captivated by political meltdowns, racial hostility and other crazy events that resulted in a simple sigh and a proclamation usually along the lines of acknowledging the “suckiness” of 2016.

Of course, historical moments were acknowledged by every media outlet across the United States and captivated the world. Many people will write off 2016 as a bad year, but 2016 was a big year for the sports world.

The Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series. Yeah, you read that right. The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians overcoming a 3-1 deficit and taking the 7-game series 4-3. Young talents like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo propelled the Cubs to their first World Series win since 1908, and now 108 years later, the Cubs are World Series champions once again.

The Cleveland Cavaliers also overcame a 3-1 deficit to the Warriors. The Cavs, led by NBA superstar Lebron James , stunned the world as they defeated the Golden State Warriors in a 7-game series. 2016 unanimous NBA MVP Steph Curry guided the Warriors to their best regular season record of 73-9, yet together, the Warriors could not hold off Lebron James and the Cavs from taking home the 2016 NBA championship.     The Cavs and the Cubs eclipsed massive amounts of joy throughout the cities fanbases desperately longing for postseason bliss for years. Not just these teams, there were other teams and athletes who represented their cities and countries with tremendous pride.

Rio Olympics

2016 meant the Olympics were back. The games in Rio De Janerio certainly delivered plenty of excitement to sports fans across the world, and Americans had tons to cheer about. Texas-native Simone Biles found herself at the center of USA gymnastics after she earned 5 medals for America. Michael Phelps came back for one more Olympics and proved that he is still the greatest olympian to ever live. He took home 4 gold medals, and 2 silver.

Soccer

British Soccer club Leicester City were huge 5000-1 underdogs to win the English Premier League. However, they ended up shocking the world by winning their first ever Premier League title even though they had been relegated two divisions in 2008.

In other news from the soccer world, Chile defeated Argentina in PK’s  to win the Copa America and deny Lionel Messi his first international title. Messi’s superstar counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo, captured his first international title as his Portugal squad defeated the host country France. Iceland also captivated the country of France and others around the world. Iceland, an underdog in the European Championships, tied Portugal and Hungary, they even beat England and Austria before falling to France. The charismatic fanbase with their daunting chants and energetic players that truly played together as a team made Iceland soccer a fun story to follow in 2016.

After winning six straight elimination games, Coastal Carolina, another underdog, ended up winning the College World Series in 2016 as they defeated the Arizona Wildcats 5-4 in game three of the College World Series.

Fighting became a common theme in 2016.

Baseball players Rougned Odor of the Texas Rangers  and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays had a squabble in Arlington remembered for Odor landing a suckerpunch to Bautista’s jawline.

UFC

UFC champs Conor Mcgregor and Nate Diaz smashed UFC PPV records with their fiery bouts. Diaz won by submission in the first bout while Mcgregor won by judges decision in the second bout later in August.  McGregor publically said he was going to “retire” in 2016, but he came back and knocked out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November. The world of UFC also saw the rise and fall of renowned Women’s UFC fighter Rhonda Rousey. Rousey put herself on the world’s radar by knocking out some of her opponents, like Bethe Correia in less than a minute. She was deemed as the “queen of UFC” and was consequently compared to male fighters. However, her reign at the top quickly plummeted as she was knocked out by her last two opponents Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.

Throughout the year, moments have been forgotten even by the most avid sports fan. Some were thrilling games like the 3-OT thriller college basketball game between Kansas and Oklahoma that happened in early 2016, or the 4-OT Cincinnati vs Uconn game that featured a Jalen Adams half-court buzzer beater to tie the game in the third overtime to set the stage for a UConn victory. The TCU vs Oregon Valero Alamo Bowl game in which TCU railed from a 31-0 halftime point difference to topple the ducks 47-41 in triple overtime even without their Heisman candidate QB Trevone Boykin.

As usual, the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament provides drama filled and down to the wire finishes! (Last year’s tournament was jaw-dropping, including the final game).

In the National Championship Game, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige sank an off-balanced three-pointer with 4.7 seconds on the clock to tie up the game at 74, but Villanova countered with a three-point buzzer beater by Kris Jenkins to win the National Championship.

Other notable games in the tournament: Northern Iowa drained a half court shot to upset the University of Texas in the first round of the tournament, but then blew a 12 point lead in the last 44 seconds in the second round.

Wisconsin drained a buzzer beater three pointer against Xavier to send themselves to the sweet 16 for the third straight year. Finally, Stephen F. Austin University, led by fan favorite Thomas Walkup, almost upset sixth-seeded Notre Dame, but lost on a last second tip-in.

Of course, 2016 brought tremendous amounts of sorrow and it trickled down to sports too. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. Golf legend Arnold Palmer died due to cardiovascular problems at the age of 87. NBA broadcaster and fashion icon Craig Seager passed away at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

With all the craziness in 2016,  I don’t think we will see a year quite like it again.

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