A few highlights of the last year
By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter
As always, it’s been quite the year in sports. So, as we start into 2016, here’s my list of the top 10 sports related events of 2015.
- SKT1 Reclaim League of Legends’ World Title: Although the e-sports scene is still growing, this year’s world championship showed everyone who still owns the crown for best e-sports teams. For the third straight year in a row, a Korean team demolished the rest of the international competition in front of a viewing world of 8.5 million fans. This year, it was the Korean powerhouse, SKT1 that claimed a title. They became the first team to win the championship for the second time, although not in a row. The total view count for the event topped off at 32 million making it one of the bigger sporting events of the year.
- Evil Genius’ win DOTA 2 International: It was one of the biggest ventures in the history of prize pool sports; a crowdfunding sourced prize pool resulted in over $18 million being poured in by fans and supporters worldwide. And to top it all off, a North American team took home the trophy for the first time in the competitive e-sports scene. Although viewership numbers were not as high as the League of Legends scene, the prize pool alone was enough to make this event much bigger with much higher stakes.
- The Kansas City Royals win the World Series: Truly this is a story for the legends. A franchise that rebuilt itself from nothing has hit its peak. The Kansas City Royals spent years at the bottom of the league, drafting and rebuilding from the ground up. All while fans waited patiently for this exact moment. Now with all the right pieces in place, they showed the world that it takes more than a few nifty trades to be the best.
- The New England Patriots win the Super Bowl: Going into a season where many people doubted the longevity of Tom Brady’s career, he showed everyone why he is one of the best at the game. Taking the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl appearance with him under centre. Years from now, when Tom Brady is long retired and fresh faces play in the NFL, people will still say that the Seahawks should have ran the ball.
- Year of the Golden State: What a year it has been for the Golden State Warriors. A 67-15 regular season record with their first NBA title in 40 years should normally be enough to cap off a great year, but they came back the next season and showed why they deserved it and so much more. Their 23 games undefeated to start the season shattered the previous record set in 1884 and set the second longest winning streak in the NBA at 28. They are without a doubt, the most dominant team in any sport right now.
- Ronda Rousey: No one has had a more complete story this year than Ronda Rousey. Rising to fame in the early parts of this year for her quick and efficient fighting style in the UFC ring, Rousey was quick to milk every dollar and second of it. Fans loved her and none could doubt her skill. But like all things in the UFC, nothing ever lasts. Her defeat at the hands of Holly Holm marked her fall from grace. It is unlikely that she will ever reach the heights she did this year, but a comeback is not impossible.
- Kobe Bryant announces retirement: It has been feared and predicted by many for a number of years. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant announced that this would be his last year in the NBA. Bryant has achieved almost everything there is to achieve. His trophy case includes 5 NBA Championship titles, 2 gold medals, and 17 All-Star nominations, amongst other awards. He is undeniably one of the best to have played the game, and his retirement will mark the end of an era.
- FIFA scandal: No year is complete without its scandals. This year, the entirety of FIFA was under heavy fire. After allegations arose accusing key members of the organizations including former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, of bribery and fraud, separate investigations were conducted. One by one, key members of the racketeering ring plead guilty to the charges, the corruption of the organization came to light. To say that the people’s faith in FIFA has been shaken would be a massive understatement. It has gone down as one of the largest and most complex scandals in the history of sports.
- The Toronto Blue Jays make the playoffs: No team in 2015 has had a seasonal Cinderella story like the Toronto Blue Jays. After a shaky start to the season where they barely played .500 ball, the team came back from the All-Star break looking okay. It was the couple days leading to the trade deadline that defined the team however. Making huge trades to acquire shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitching ace David Price, as well as outfielder Ben Revere, the Jays put themselves in an all-in position. With their new line-up, the revamped Jays went on a tear, accumulating a record of 48-23 after the break and making the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. Although they ultimately fell to the soon-to-be champions Kansas City Royals in the AL Championship series, this season has been one of the Jays best. Led by MVP Josh Donaldson, the Blue Jay were truly one of the most exciting teams to watch this year.
- Deflategate: Oh Deflategate. If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve heard someone accuse an excellent player of cheating, I’d be rolling in dirty money. Most allegations against players prove to be false, but if the allegation comes from someone with a lot of credit, say another team, an investigation is started. And boy did this one turn nasty real quick. Accusations of the Patriots using tampered footballs arose during the American Football Conference Championship game, in which the Patriots handed a heavy loss to a bitter Indianapolis Colts team. Long story short, the balls were below the regulated inflation rating, which supposedly gave an advantage to the Patriots, as it was easier to throw. Months of arguing ensued resulting in the fining of the organization and the suspension of superstar quarterback Tom Brady. This matter went as far as a federal court before the punishment to Brady was overturned. Even now, Deflategate remains a relevant matter to those who truly believed that the Patriots intentionally cheated by deflating footballs. Whether or not it is true, this scandal has been the biggest event in 2015.