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Looking Back at Some of the World’s Top Athletes of 2021

Ashleigh Barty Photo by Getti Images

2021 was thrilling year of sporting events all over the world. The rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics dominated the summer months, but the tennis season was once again uncertain in terms of Grand Slams. Barriers were broken in the horse racing world, while familiar faces ruled the squared circle of the boxing ring.

However, while some champions were able to retain their championships, Formula One witnessed one of the most disputed Grand Prix finishes in history as one of the sport’s all-time greats handed over his title to an up-and-coming talent.

This article will examine at some of the athletes who excelled in 2021 and what we may expect from them this year.

Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty is a top Australian athlete and the second Australian player to be ranked first among female players by the WTA. The 25-year-old from Queensland had a very successful 2021, adding a second Grand Slam championship to her collection. Barty was a deserving victory of the Wimbledon in 2021, defeating Karolina Pliskova in a grass-court title final. The Australian later revealed that it was the Slam that she had always wanted to win, and that she now had realized one of her dreams. Let’s hope Barty has more goals so that we can see her success in 2022 as well.

Rachel Blackmore

Across the world, horse racing had a contentious year in 2021, with bad stories centered on Bob Baffert and Gordon Elliott threatening to eclipse the stars on the track. However, after the National Hunt season ended, there was only one woman that every racing fan wanted to talk about- Rachel Blackmore.

The Irish superstar made history by becoming the first female to win the top jockey title at the Cheltenham Festival.

Her three biggest wins of the four-day meet came on Allaho in the Ryanair, Bob Olinger in the Ballymore, and Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle. Her biggest triumph of the season, however, was yet to come, when she became the first female jockey to win the renowned Grand National at Aintree.

Her triumph on Minella Times was the most significant occasion in modern racing history, shattering any notion that female riders were inferior to their male colleagues.

Lamont Marcell Jacobs

Lamont Marcell Jacobs made history last year by becoming the first Italian athlete to win a gold medal in the 100 meters. The 27-year-old was born in America but chose to represent Italy.

He also holds the European record over 100 meters as well as the Italian record over 60 meters.

No Italian sprinter had ever qualified for the final of the 100-meter sprint before Jacobs, but he went one better and won gold. His Olympics finished on a high note, as he won gold in the 4x100m relay team. Jacob earned the honor of becoming the flag bearer at the games’ closing ceremony in Tokyo.

Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez was widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time even before the start of the 2021 season. However, the Mexican has demonstrated over the last 12 months that it is difficult to look past him today, as he became boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion.

In November 2021, Alvarez won the IBF super middleweight title by defeating Caleb Plant at the MGM Grand in the eleventh round. This was his best performance of the year, having already defeated Billy Joe Saunders and Avni Yildirim earlier in the year.

Alvarez is now said to be aiming for a fifth world title in a new weight class in 2022.

Max Verstappen

In Formula One, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton competed in a race for the ages. However, after a difficult race of the season in Abu Dhabi, it was the Dutchman who came out on top. It was one of the most fractious seasons in recent memory, with FIA race director rulings effectively costing Lewis Hamilton his record breaking eight world championship. However, this in now ay diminishes Verstappen’s achievement as the rightful champion. Throughout the season, the Dutchman led for more laps and placed on the podium a record-breaking 18 times. It was a notable accomplishment in a season that drew worldwide attention to Formula One.

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