Team of the Year
Such is the volume of football available to the subscription holding viewer that it is easy to become sated with the game, but Euro 2008 lit up a dank English summer with free-flowing, imaginative and skillful play. In Spain, the tournament found worthy winners, the best national team since France's 2000 squad and amongst the top half dozen I've seen. England were not missed - naturally.
Man of the Year
Before the Beijing Bolt, the leading man in sports was Rafael Nadal. His extraordinary success on the clay continued at Roland Garros where he is unbeaten since 2004. But he stamped his mark on the season with his epic victory at Wimbledon over grass courts' acknowledged master, Roger Federer. It was a reward for his bold expansion of his game and a refusal to rest on his laurels. This bull of a man retains his boyish charm and is unfailing polite in the media, which allows us to forgive his on-court ticks.
Woman of the Year
Sport celebrates its winners, but should acknowledge its losers too. Lolo Jones went to Beijing as favourite to win the 100 metres hurdles and was about to deliver the gold when she hit the penultimate obstacle and, at 26, her dream disappeared forever. Once the initial shock wore off, her reaction showed a depth of understanding of the nature of sport that reveals a more rounded personality than most sports stars, as this interview shows. Lolo comes from a less than privileged background, but she knows that her obligations run beyond winning races and making money. Her er.. natural advantages will guarantee a post-athletics career in the media, should she want one, but few would begrudge her.
Event of the Year
After seven races in just a few days, then adrenelin was ebbing, but the expectation was mounting. Merely Gold in the Olympic 200 metres suddenly wasn't enough: Michael Johnson's "untouchable" world record was required now. It hurt, it really hurt, but Usain Bolt rounded the bend and stoppd the clock at 19.30: a new mark that nobody but he is likely to threaten for a generation. Orson Wells was cursed by his achievement of writing, directing and producing Citizen Kane at the age of 25. Bolt completed his masterpiece at just 21.
Thanks to all pseuds who have written above and below the line and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.