The major sport story of the year was, of course, the 2012 London Olympics (see the top ten Olympic stories below) but outside the Games, stories on Lance Armstrong’s downfall, incredible goals and the Melbourne Cup were among the most clicked-on.
10. Allegations against Bulldogs serious: ARL head
The Australian Rugby League Commission took seriously the alleged verbal abuse of television reporter Jayne Azzopardi during the Canterbury Bulldogs’ Mad Monday celebrations in October.
9. India stunned as people caught drinking on WACA pitch
In January, Indian team management and players were reportedly left stunned after viewing extraordinary footage of people apparently drinking, lying and walking on the WACA pitch only hours before the third Test was due to begin in Perth.
8. ‘Not just harmless fun’: Wozniacki accused of racism after Williams impression
Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki was accused of racism in December after stuffing her top and skirt with towels to impersonate fellow tennis player Serena Williams during a match in Brazil.
7. Sorry, but you owe us an apology
In a remarkable turn of events following from story #10, Jaycar Electronics boss Gary Johnston claimed the Bullldogs (of which Jaycar is a major sponsor) had uncovered no evidence that any players abused reporter Jayne Azzopardi with obscene comments captured by a Channel Nine camera and microphone while she was stationed outside Belmore Sports Ground following their grand final defeat to Melbourne, claiming Canterbury would seek an apology from Nine.
6. The goal that defied physics: Cisse wonder strike sinks Chelsea
Papiss Cisse scored an unbelievable goal for Newcastle in May.
5. Armstrong drops drugs fight: cycling legend to lose Tour de France titles
The world was shocked when US Anti-Doping Agency announced it would strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he declared he was finished fighting the drug charges.
4. Best goal ever? Ibrahimovic overhead kick stuns England
The stunning goal from Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
3. Sudden death shock: Robbie, 19, collapses watching television
Robert, grandson of Illawarra rugby league stalwart Bob Millward, died suddenly while watching television at his home in Leigh, Lancashire, in February.
2. Snaps of sozzled and sorry go global as Aussies drink the Cup dry
Images of Melbourne Cup racegoers falling onto the ground, planking among beer cans and swigging straight from champagne bottles were held up as an example of Australia’s ugly, booze-soaked culture by London tabloid The Daily Mail.
1. Live coverage: Melbourne Cup Day
Our comprehensive live coverage of horseracing’s day of days was the most popular sport story of 2012.
As for the Olympic Games, the following 10 stories were the most popular:
10. Revealed: the secret plan that dethroned Britain’s queen
Anna Meares’s triumphant win over Victoria Pendleton was no fluke – rather, it was a clinical execution of a fastidiously rehearsed ploy to exploit the weakness of her fiercest rival.
9. No sex sells for Lolo, the virgin queen of the hurdles
US hurdler Lolo Jones has been called the Anna Kournikova of athletics, for her profile until now had outstripped her achievements compared to her teammates.
8. ‘I just crashed, I did it on purpose to get a restart’: controversy mars GB sprint gold
When British track cyclist Philip Hindes seemed to suggest he had deliberately crashed in the qualifying round of the men’s team sprint to ensure a restart after a poor start, very serious questions were raised over the legitimacy of the British victory which had delivered Chris Hoy’s fifth Olympic gold medal.
7. Pearson completes her Olympic dream with hurdles gold
Sally Pearson normally knows that she has won. Normally, she is metres in front when she crosses the line. This time, in the biggest race of her life, she didn’t know. She crossed the line with blank disbelief; she could not be sure if she had carried the weight of expectation over it to win a gold medal.
6. ‘The Aussies just raced negatively’: Cavendish takes aim after disappointing road race
British rider Mark Cavendish took aim at his Australian opponents after a disappointing performance in the Olympic men’s road race, accusing the Australian team of racing “negatively” and conspiring with the rest of the field to make sure Team GB didn’t win.
5. Jones not in London for a holiday, coach insists
Leisel Jones’ coach, Michael Bohl, vehemently rejected suggestions she was treating the Olympics as anything other than serious competition, and said she had been performing well in training and was in good condition to compete, after criticism she was not in the best shape and was treating London as a farewell tour.
4. Oh, Feck: German diver bombs – and gets nothing but a slap on the back for his efforts
It was one of those moments that made thousands of spectators wince. A reminder that diving is not just a graceful, majestic sport, but a dangerous one.
3. Thorpedo misses the medals as his TV look baffles the Brits
Ian Thorpe’s linguistic tics and choice of clothing left British viewers baffled after his surprise appearance on TV screens as a BBC commentator on the Olympics.
2. Not a fair crop: Olympic discard who outrode tycoon’s granddaughter
The selection of the two Oatleys for the Australian Olympic equestrian team – granddaughters of the billionaire Bob Oatley, a sponsor of grand prix events in dressage in Australia – exposed bitter tensions at the perceived influence of wealth and patronage in the sport.
1. Cyclists face off in battle of the thunder thighs
Forget about comparing height and weight, the only thing Olympic cyclists are interested in is how their tree-trunk thighs stack up against their competitors. New Zealand cyclist Greg Henderson posted a photo on Twitter at the start of the London Games, showing Germans Andre Greipel and Forstemann who dropped their pants to show their cycling weapons.
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