2020 promises to be a seismic sporting year with the Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020 and a Ryder Cup on the menu. How will it all unfold? Who will be the winners and the losers? The Crystal Ball is a little hazy after the Christmas excesses but here goes with the predictions for an unforgettable 12 months to come.
At Euro 2020 England, with Gareth Southgate triggering a surprise new national trend by wearing a top hat in the technical area, reach the semi-finals stage. Again.
Belgium win the tournament at Wembley with Kevin De Bruyne player of the tournament. Wales don’t make it out of their group.
Liverpool wrap up the Premier League at Brighton in April – but do not manage to eclipse Manchester United’s record winning margin of 18 points.
Leeds United finally make it back to the top flight. Marcelo Bielsa’s blue bucket is awarded freedom of the city.
Eleven-year-old British skateboarder Sky Brown becomes the youngest Olympic medallist for 124 years but the glory days of Rio, when Britain won a record 67 medals to finish second in the overall table, are not repeated in Tokyo.
Cycling, gymnastics and rowing all take a hit for the GB medal factory and in athletics, those flag-free and anthem-less ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ win more medals than Britain but Katarina Johnson-Thompson does take a priceless golden one in the heptathlon. Swimming, with Adam Peaty spearheading the GB challenge, records an overdue success spike.
New Zealand trouser the T20 World Cup in Australia, beating England in the final. In a Super Over.
Domestically, against all logic, The Hundred flies with big crowds and strong viewing figures on the BBC. Welsh Fire, inspired by Jonny Bairstow and Mitchell Starc, defeat London Spirit in the final of the inaugural Hundred. Joe Denly puts his head in his hands as the winning runs are struck and drops it.
Meanwhile, a record low of eight people watch a day’s play in the County Championship.
Comeback of the Year
Chris Froome – Back in the saddle after his horror crash in June which left him with a fractured neck, leg, hip and ribs. Does not win the Tour de France but completing it after what he has been through is a triumph in itself.
Flop of the Year
Wayne Rooney – Derby find out they have signed a promising 34-year-old coach rather than a promotion-delivering 34-year-old player.
Surprise Hit of the Year
Speed Climbing on its Olympic debut
Surprise Miss of the Year
Germany crashing out of Euro 2020. On penalties.
Sports Personality of the Year