Rachel Roberts and Maya Israel
In this article, Head of Sport, Maya Israel, and Sports Editor, Rachel Roberts, discuss the year in sport and their personal highlights.
When sporting events began to be cancelled back in the Spring, the significance of COVID-19 really hit me, it was a sign that this was really something bad. Not that living through the awfulness of a pandemic hadn’t already seemed significant, but because personally, the sporting calendar is one that so much of my life follows – knowing when the next game, next tournament, next race is. Following build-up and analysis. Sport tells me that it’s the weekend, or is the outlet to just put everything aside for those few hours and be entertained by the thrilling unpredictability of it all. When the certainty of sport was gone, so was my sense of normalcy about the world, instead watching government announcement after announcement, and hearing the tallies increasing with each passing day.
As a Liverpool supporter, the resumption of the Premier League was a particular high
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp often speaks of football as the most important of the least important things in life. For all sport this year, this sentiment rings true. Having sporting fixtures resume was the least of any priorities, and all of our gratitude and respect are deserved by healthcare professionals ten times over. For me, the return of sport was highly welcome, and as a Liverpool supporter, the resumption of the Premier League was a particular high. With only 2 wins needed to secure a first league title in 30 years, the suspension of the league left many fellow Reds afeared it would be declared null-and-void, as happened in several other European leagues, and the procession to what became increasingly an inevitable coronation would be foiled. But those fears never materialised and for me, Liverpool being crowned champions of England was one of the brightest moments in an otherwise dark year.
In many ways I can echo Rachel’s sentiments. When the Olympics was officially cancelled and when my own sporting tournaments began to fall off the horizon, I was greatly disappointed. I grudgingly got involved with the various sporting challenges that took social media by storm and joined the Stravalites down in solo running hell. In the midst of the reopening and reclosing of gyms I have felt as if I have had to ‘start again’ physically speaking on about three occasions now.
The first African Women’s Champions League was announced to begin in 2021
As with any struggle, however, there have been some silver linings. 2020 has proved a momentous year for the Black Lives Matter movement whose objectives have been supported by major sporting governing bodies such as FIFA and ECB and continues to make great strides towards achieving equality. Making sporting history, the first African Women’s Champions League was announced to begin in 2021. And to top the year off, England Rugby won the 2020 Women’s Six Nations.
Looking forwards, we can thank tier 4 for saving gym-goers from gyms teeming with new year’s resolution-ers and for saving school children nationwide from cross-country.
This year has been a challenge for everyone, but as always sport has provided much needed escapism, has brought people together and has seen the emergence of athletes asserting their power, fighting for what they believe in beyond the sporting world. Long may this continue into 2021.
Rachel Roberts and Maya Israel
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