LANCE ARMSTRONG COMES CLEAN OVER DOPING
“Yes.” With one word, Lance Armstrong finally confessed to a cycling career built on performing-enhancing drugs, putting himself on a par with Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as the world’s most notorious drugs cheat. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, Armstrong ended his years of denials about systematic doping and said it would have been impossible to win one of his seven Tour de France titles without the drugs. “I am flawed,” the American said. “Deeply flawed.”
Stunned disbelief greeted the news that Oscar Pistorius, who triumphed over disability to compete with able-bodied athletes at the Olympics, had shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day. South Africa’s “Blade Runner”, a double amputee who uses carbon-fiber prosthetic blades to compete, will be tried for murder next year. Pistorius told a Pretoria bail hearing: “I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva.”
Andy Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s champion by vanquishing Novak Djokovic in an electric final at the All England Club in July. Willed on by thousands of Union Jack-waving fans on Centre Court and millions across Britain, the Scot won tennis’ most prestigious title in straight sets. Murray said: “I know what it feels like to lose in finals, in a Wimbledon final, but now I know what it feels like to win and that’s certainly a lot better.”
Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA capped an incredible comeback to retain the America’s Cup in San Francisco after a winnertakes-all showdown with Emirates Team New Zealand. Hit with a prematch penalty that required Oracle to win 11 races on the water, the American boat appeared to be down and out at 8-1 behind. But helped by speed improvements and installing Tottenham Hotspur forward Gareth Bale finally put pen to paper and joined Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee of 100 million euros ($132 million). The fee eclipsed the previous record of 94 million euros that Real paid for Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009. The Welshman said Spurs would “always be in my heart” before jetting off to Madrid to take his place among the Galacticos.
Boston closer Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out as the Red Sox clinched their first World Series at Fenway Park since the 1918 championship. The win came six months after the city was shocked by the deadly marathon bombings, and the Red Sox had emerged as a beacon of hope for Boston. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who won the World Series Most Valuable Player award, said of Boston: “We stick together. It’s a family, and we fight against the world.”
Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar struggled to hold back the tears after calling time on a 24-year cricket career in Mumbai, his birthplace. The ‘Little Master’ finished his career as the sport’s most prolific international runscorer but was unable to sign off with a century against the West Indies in his 200th and final Test. “My life’s been 22 yards for 24 years,” said Tendulkar, who scored 15,921 Test and 18,426 oneday international runs.