Not everyone understands sports. For it is so much more than just about games, winning and losing. For the ones who work day in and day out, those few seconds of glory, the goosebumps that the crowd’s roars give them, the happiness that they give their fans, and the pride that it fills them with – these are the people who really know what it means.
Ask a player whose catch won the team a trophy, a goal that won the final, a sprint that broke records, a jump that defied gravity, and you’ll know what we mean.
We bring to you some of the most beautiful moments from the world of sports that happened during 2016. So, sit back, relax and marvel at them:
1. Neymar breaks down after he helps Brazil win their maiden Olympic gold in football.
2. Miami Marlins pay tribute to their teammate Jose Fernandez who passed away in a boating accident.
Jose was only 24 years old.
3. The West Indian team, without any support from their board, celebrate winning a well-deserved World T20 trophy.
They championed their “Champion! Champion!” dance.
4. And they had followed suit from the women who had lifted the World T20 trophy earlier that day.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo is overcome with emotion as Portugal wins the Euro 2016 trophy even though he was sidelined after getting injured mid-match.
6. Usain Bolt celebrates his 3rd 100m Olympic Medal, establishing himself as the greatest to ever grace the track!
He later completed the ‘triple triple’ at the Olympics (3 medals in all 3 Olympics)
7. Leicester City celebrates winning the EPL trophy with their fans on the street.
It was a dream run.
8. Kobe Bryant bids farewell to NBA after 20 years.
9. LeBron James breaks down after the Cavaliers win the NBA Championship
10. Michael Phelps celebrates his 28th & final Olympic Medal, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time.
The final medal came in the 4 x 100 m relay.
11. North Korean Hong Un-Jong takes a selfie with South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-ju during Rio 2016.
12. Chinese diver Qin Kai gets on his knees to propose to fellow diver He Zi who had just collected her silver medal in the 3m women’s springboard final.
She said yes.
13. Kiwi runner Nikki Hambin helps American runner Abbey D’Agostino who injured herself during the 5,000 meters heat during the Rio Olympics.
Both finished last but were given spots in the final race. Nikki came 17th while Abbey’s injury ruled her out of that race.
14. Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul Jabbar being presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
15. Serena Williams celebrates winning the 22nd Grand Slam of her career, a record equalling that of the great Steffi Graf.
This was her 7th Wimbledon title.
16. Leo Messi celebrates his winning goal against Uruguay after he came out of retirement, which he had announced a few months prior.
Messi announced his retirement after losing the final of Copa America. But then he decided to return to the white & blue.
17. The three best footballers in the world pose for a selfie during the Ballon d’Or presentation, for the 2014/15 season, that took place earlier this year.
Messi won the award and Ronaldo went on to win the next one.
18. The Iceland football team perform the iconic clap celebration with their fans at Euro 2016, after the underdog team defeated England 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.
They lost to France in the quarters, but were still proud of their campaign.
19. Virat Kohli celebrates his maiden double century in Tests, against West Indies.
It was the first of the three that came during the year.
20. Karun Nair celebrates his maiden triple century in Tests, against England in the 5th Test of the latest series.
He’s the second Indian in history to reach the landmark after Virender Sehwag.
21. Supporters of the Colombian football club Atletico Nacional pay tribute to the players of Chapecoense FC who tragically died in an air crash in November.
The two clubs were due to play the final of the Suda Americana Cup.
22. 42-year-old Misbah Ul-Haq does push-ups after scoring a century at Lord’s against England.
His spot was in question but the veteran proved the haters wrong.
23. Rhonda Rousey stops her pre-match workout to hug a young fan.
She also signed her an autograph.
24. Blind photographer Jaoa Maia using sound to sense the right moment to click a picture at the Rio Paralympics 2016.
25. Ibrahim Hamadtou defies insurmountable odds as he takes part in Table Tennis at the Rio Paralympics.
26. The 5-year-old Afghan boy, Murtaza Ahmadi, who wore a plastic bag with Messi written on it, finally gets to meet his hero and can’t get enough of him.
27. The Refugee Olympic Team poses in front of Christ the Redeemer, during Rio 2016.
The team consisted of only refugees, a great gesture by the organising committee of the Rio Olympics.
28. The entire Manchester City team walks out wearing jersey’s with Ilkay Gundogan’s name, for their match against Arsenal, showing support for their injured teammate.
29. Rafael Nadal stops his exhibition match against John McEnroe so a toddler lost in the crowd could reunite with her mother.
30. Tiger Woods celebrates a par at Hero World Challenge after he returned to action 16 months later.
He underwent multiple back surgeries.
31. PV Sindhu lets out a reverberating roar as she reaches the final of Rio Olympics.
She won a silver for India.