As we draw our year review to a close, we saw the end of the sporting calendar reach its exciting finale. With heartbreak and triumph galore, we began October with the culmination of the Ryder Cup, as Team Europe battled Team USA.
And it was Team USA who was victorious over Team Europe, their first win since 2008. The tournament featured the most lopsided American victory since a 9-point win in 1981 at Walton Heath. As in 2008, the US never trailed during the tournament. Ryan Moore defeated Lee Westwood by 1 hole to reclaim the Cup with three matches still in progress.
As the year began to draw to a close, Michael van Gerwen once again won the World Darts Grand Prix, and Andy Murray’s end of the year got even better as he won the China Open and Shanghai Masters, closing in on world number 1 ranking.
Maria Sharapova’s total tennis ban was reduced from 24 months to 15 months upon a review, and British jockey Ryan Moore riding ‘Found’ won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
And Peter Sagan regained his World Cycling Road Race title in Qatar, winning back the coveted rainbow jersey.
Andy Murray won his third and fourth crown in a month, the ATP World Tour Finals, and the Paris Masters. With Milos Raonic pulling out of the semi’s in the latter tournament, the Scot became Britain’s first tennis number one since computerised records began in 1973. As well as winning Wimbledon and Olympic gold in 2016, Murray reached 11 finals in 12 events and won a personal record 73 matches in an extraordinary year for him and British tennis.
Michael van Gerwen again continued his amazing form this year with a win in the Grand Slam of Darts, and Conor McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez to become first man to hold two UFC titles at same time, at UFC 205 in New York.
And the exhilarating title tussle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton reached its conclusion in Abu Dhabi. German Rosberg edged out Hamilton by five points to win his first and only F1 title. It would be his only title, as immediately afterwards he announced his retirement from F1.
However, the footballing world and beyond finished the month with heart-breaking news. All but three of the Brazilian team Chapecoense FC, who were due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana against Atletico Nacional just days later, were tragically killed in a plane crash in Columbia. Defenders Alan Ruschel and Helio Zemper Neto survived but were in a critical condition, as well as reserve goalkeeper Jakson Follmann. It was an event that really put football into perspective, and in tribute, the club were awarded the Copa Sudamericana.
While the world continued to mourn the sad events in Columbia, there were still reasons to celebrate and reflect on a wonderful year in sport.
Anthony Joshua’s meteoric rise was capped off in December with arguably his most impressive performance to date, a 3rd round stoppage of Eric Molina, which set up a mouth-watering 2017 clash with Wladimir Klitschko.
The 2016 William Hill Darts Championship got underway, with Gary Anderson hoping to retain his crown for a record 3rd time in a row, but with the unstoppable Michael van Gerwen in search of his 26th title of the year.
Real Madrid won the FIFA Club World Cup, also setting a new club record in the process of 35 games unbeaten.
And Andy Murray capped off his record breaking year in style by winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the third time. Triathlete Alistair Brownlee was second and show jumper Nick Skelton third.