Every New Years Day, there's only one match that sporting fans should look forward to, and it's not on the football pitch. The PDC World Championship final is always a spectacle and last night was no exception. 2012 was a monumental year of sport, but if there was ever a game to throw us into 2013 this was it.
Phil 'The Power' Taylor, was poised and ready to take on his greatest challenge yet, the 23-year-old Dutch magician Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen almost completed the impossible when he missed out on two consecutive nine-dart finishes in his semi-final victory over James Wade. Fresh from this immense display of accuracy, he began the final as deserved favourite.
Phil Taylor on the other hand, had just beaten one of his biggest rivals in recent years as Raymond van Barneveld crumbled under the pressure. 'The Power' certainly felt under threat as his emotions boiled over when his opponent tried to congratulate him in the match celebrations. ...
Last night's Sports Personality of the Year awards showed why 2012 has been a year that will long live in the memory. The huge success of Team GB at the Olympics and Paralympics rightly took centre stage as it was a summer that the British public will never forget.
It was a remarkable show, in stark contrast to the controversial ceremony that took place last year. The whole event was completely inspirational, especially as Martine Wright, who survived the London 7/7 bombings to play sitting volleyball at the Paralympics, told of her struggle to compete as she won the Helen Rollason award.
With a matter of minutes until the first foursome match kicks off in Chicago, I wanted to explain why I'm more excited than usual to watch the battle between USA and Europe rekindled once again (and yes it may have something to do with the rather long spell since my last post). The truth is that since the high emotions and superhuman efforts of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, it has been difficult to find that same level of sporting drama and entertainment.
Of course, when I say this to other sports fans they stare in some disbelief, as if I'm not aware that the new football season is well under way. This is true and, so far, both the English Premier League and Champions League have started from where they left off, with plenty of goals and unexpected comebacks already. Real Madrid's dramatic 3-2 victory in the Bernabeu has been one of the highlights. ...
Last night, I attended the evening Athletics session at the Olympic Stadium to see the climax of what was aptly named 'Thriller Thursday'. Before I had even arrived at the Olympic Park there was already an incredible buzz surrounding the events that would take place that night and especially the T44 100m final.
A few weeks ago, when I purchased my ticket for this session, I'll admit that I was excited to see Oscar Pistorius win a gold medal at London 2012. It wasn't to be. Instead, Thursday evening gave the British public a night to remember. Our three protagonists, Hannah Cockroft, David Weir and Jonnie Peacock all took gold and sent the 80 000 strong crowd into a frenzy.
First, it was the turn of Hannah Cockroft, the 20-year old from Halifax. As she was poised at the start for the T34 200m final, the crowd were expectant. She had dominated in the heats, was the outright favourite and the race did not disappoint.
Cockroft lead from the start and as the crowd stood in admiration, she stretched out way ahead of her competitors before crossing the finishing line. Her performance was both spectacular and imperious and stands on its own as one of the sporting moments of these games. Yet, this special night had only just begun.
There is not much more that David Weir can do to become a national hero after these Paralympics. He secured his third Paralympic gold of London 2012 in style. Staying close behind Zhang Lixin for much of the race, the 'Weir Wolf' was spurred on by the wall of noise from eager spectators as he came into the home straight. At this point, the crowd had reached full voice and the British star managed to take the lead and grit his teeth up to the finish line. His image in victory will surely be one of the most iconic of London 2012.
So, two GB athletes had already thrilled the British fans but there was still one race to come, the T44 men's 100m final. With Bolt, Blake and Gay out of sight it was time for Jonnie Peacock to battle against the dominant Oscar Pistorius and the American Richard Browne.
After a false start from the 200m champion Alan Oliveira, whose win caused the now infamous outburst from Pistorius a few days ago, the whole stadium was heard chanting Peacock's name. The starting gun fired and he burst through the field in 10.9 seconds, a new Paralympic record. Pistorius missed out on a medal as he finished in fourth and it seemed that Britain had found a worthy successor.
For those who were in the stadium, it was unforgettable. I think that last night typified the Paralympic spirit that we have seen from spectators at London 2012. The positive atmosphere was what I had expected, as the audience clearly respected the achievement of each and every athlete that competed in that stadium. ...
It is hard to believe that London 2012 has already had two full days of Olympic competition and the special memories are already being made. Here are my personal favourites so far:
The Italian men's team recorded a dramatic victory against the United States in the final of the Archery on Saturday afternoon. Their first day triumph ended in dramatic fashion as the result came down to the final shot.
Having lead by four points for most of the final, the Italians' advantage was narrowed by a determined American team who finished on 219 points.
With a four second countdown until the end of the match Michele Frangilli knew that ten points were needed from their last arrow. Looking calm and composed in his unconventional pose he released the final arrow.
It landed on the line, but that did not matter as Italy had won the Olympic gold medal. The match winner Frangilli showed nerves of steel throughout but the emotions of the whole team bubbled over once victory was decided. It was a bitterly disappointing result for the USA team, who had great hopes coming into these games. Yet, a silver medal can not be seen as a major failure.
Friday 27th July 2012. A date to remember. It has been a fifty-four year wait for London and now the Olympic opening ceremony is only hours away; the world waits in anticipation for the greatest sporting spectacle of all. If you are one of the many fans hoping for time to pass quickly so that the ceremony can begin, here's a story to inspire you all.When I sat down to watch The Athlete (2009), a film that depicts the life of the Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila, I knew that the two-time Olympic gold medalist would have an incredible sporting story to tell but his remarkable personal tale should inspire us all....