The streets of Chicago are flooded with white and blue, It’s November 4, 2016, two days after the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in a wild game seven of the World Series. Generations of families gather along the parade route to celebrate the Cubs’ first World Series championship since 1908.
The year 2016 has been under fire lately, given the amount of celebrity and musician deaths, but in the world of sports, it’s been one of the most fascinating and fun years. Let’s take a look at some of the best sports stories:
Cubs Fly the W
It’s hard to believe when you see it in print or hear it in audio, but here it goes — the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. This hasn’t been a fact for 108 years.
Cub fans have been long held to the Curse of the Billy Goat, when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was told to leave Game Four of the World Series at Wrigley Field because of his stinky pet goat. He allegedly placed a hex on the team, which happened to stick…until now.
After the Indians tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, the game went into extra innings, which was delayed by a heavy rain. Ben Zobrist knocked in two runs in the top of the 10th, which became the winning runs as the Indians fell short 8-7 in the bottom of the 10th. Now, fans continue to fly their W banners after arguably the most exciting final game of any World Series.
The 2016 Olympics certainly did not lack excitement for Team USA, who brought home 121 medals. Simone Biles became the first American gymnast to win four golds at a single Olympic Games and one of only four women to accomplish the feat in Olympic history. The 19 year old lead the U.S. Olympic Team as the flag bearer during the Closing Ceremony.
The biggest story for Team USA is Michael Phelps’ final performance. He announced his retirement after another historic run, where he added five gold medals to increase his world record to 23 total golds. He certainly ended his career on a high note.
Conor McGregor Wins Title
“The Notorious” Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) came after Eddie Alvarez fast in the first round of UFC 205, knocking him down three times, each with his left hand. In the second round, McGregor finished him off with a four-punch combination.
This marks the first time in UFC history that a fighter became a simultaneous two-weight world champion. McGregor had a remarkable 2016. After losing to Nate Diaz in March, he came back and defeated him in August at UFC 202. Following that fight, he found momentum and capped off his year with his historic win over Alvarez, forever establishing himself as one of the best MMA fighters.
Peyton Leaves With a Ring
As the oldest quarterback to start in the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning carried the Broncos to their first ring since 1998. He ended his 18 year career in with an exclamation point.
During his career, he played for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2011, where he won his first Super Bowl in 2007 against the Bears. He went on to enjoy many milestones during his time with the Broncos — his fifth MVP for the 2013 season, his 14th Pro Bowl appearance in 2014, becoming the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns, and of course winning Super Bowl 50.
The Greatest Is Laid to Rest
This past year brought a lot of notable deaths in the entertainment world. The sports world also lost a lot of talent, both young and old – from Jose Fernandez to Arnold Palmer and many more.
One of the biggest losses to not just sports, but the entire world was Muhammad Ali, who passed away on June 3rd. He leaves behind more than an incredible boxing career, where he built an amazing record of 56 wins, 37 of which were knockouts, and five losses. He was also a pivotal figure in political activism.
In March 1966, he refused to join the armed forces and spent several years in exile, as each state denied him a boxing license. He spent some of his exile publicly criticizing the Vietnam War and advocating for racial justice. He changed America in several ways that were crucial to the Civil Rights Movement — an impact that is far larger than boxing.
What other top sports stories in 2016 made an impact on you?