Exeposé Sport have surveyed an array of their finest pundits for their abiding sporting memories of 2013 – including some that may have been overlooked. Read on to see their thoughts.
Jamie Klein, Online Editor
Marc Marquez winning this year’s MotoGP crown at his first attempt has to rank among the most outstanding sporting achievements of the year. He took remarkably little time getting up to speed, winning just his second race at the highest level in domineering fashion at Austin, and built up a cushion in the middle of the year his competitors were unable to surmount. The pressure on the young Spaniard’s shoulders to seal the deal at the season finale at Valencia was enormous, but he rode with incredible maturity to secure the points he needed despite his arch-rival Jorge Lorenzo’s best efforts to force Marquez into an error.
The fact Marquez has already reached the summit of his chosen sport at the age of just 20 years old begs the question of just how long he can go on to dominate the championship in years to come. His fellow riders will certainly hoping he reaches the peak of his powers sooner rather than later.
Matt Bugler, Online Editor
Nigel Adkins being sacked by Southampton in January caused universal outrage, not least among Saints fans who felt betrayed by the chairman Nicola Cortese. In a complete disregard for loyalty and value of the fans, Cortese saw the man who had oversaw promotion in the last two seasons and stabilised the team in the Premiership as not good enough in his ambitious plans. The overwhelming success of Mauricio Pochettino in transforming Southampton into a predominantly English-academy based side playing a Spanish style of passing, pressing football has shown that, sometimes, the sacrifice of one is necessary for the benefit of many.
Dougie Wilson, Xpression FM Head of Sport
Among the successes of Andy Murray, the Lions, Justin Rose and the England cricket team in 2013, one particular man in yellow stands out – Chris Froome of Team Sky. After riding for nearly 250 kilometres in Stage 15 of the Tour de France, Froome found it within himself to steam up the infamous 8% inclined Mount Ventoux to single-handedly win a stage he didn’t need to, blitzing his main rival Nairo Quintana in the process. This was the defining moment of his Tour victory and will live long in the memory of British cycling fans, further consigning Froome’s predecessor Bradley Wiggins to the shadows.
Ben Pullan, Sports Team
It was the second day of the 2013 Ashes. Though England had underperformed with the bat in their first innings – scoring only 215 – Australia’s weak batting line-up had fulfilled expectations by collapsing to 117-9 against Swann and Anderson. What is more, their no. 11 was a debutant, whom even the Sky Sports commentators had struggled to recognise when he was awarded his ‘baggy green’. Apparently Ashton Agar was a nineteen- year-old left arm spinner, who had been playing club cricket in Henley prior to the series. He was expected to become just another piece of roadkill under the English juggernaut.
What happened next was one of the most extraordinary passages of play in recent Test history. With brilliant innocence, the teenager proceeded to flay England’s veterans to all parts of Trent Bridge. No-one could quite believe what was happening; the rookie sailed along, becoming in the process the first no. 11 to score a fifty on debut. As he approached the nineties, the crazy scenario of a no. 11 scoring a century on debut was becoming a very realistic possibilty. Agar came so close, passing Tino Best’s no. 11 record of 95, but tragically fell just three short of his century. Not that it mattered – the boy had become a household name in cricketing circles overnight. Agar was dropped a couple of Tests later for poor bowling – he may never play Test cricket again – but his crazy debut will ensure that he is forever remembered.
Alex Bonner, Sports Team
Bayern Munich’s win in this year’s Champions league symbolised a shift in the footballing world, as Germany replaced Spain as the dominant footballing power of Europe. The nature of Bayern’s run to the final was also significant, with the German outfit dispatching Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate over the two legs. The final itself was also particularly memorable – a drama-laden clash between the two top German sides, Bayern clinching the trophy thanks to Arjen Robben’s late winner. The significance of the all-German final, as well as the dominant manner in which Munich progressed to the final, makes this event the moment of my sporting year.
Lara Hopkins, Sports Team
The Great Britain Show Jumping team brilliantly won the European Championships in August after a 24-year wait for team gold, following up from their first Olympic win in 2012 after 60 years. This recent dominance shows the reprisal of a traditionally British sport in which the Dutch and Germans have been the leading contenders of late. Furthermore, the individual silver and bronze medals for younger riders Ben Maher and Scott Brash, now 2nd and 1st in the world respectively, display the very bright future of the country, which no longer has to rely upon the ageing talents of the legendary Whitaker brothers. It’s time to look forward to the 2014 World Championships – can the team become treble champions?