It is difficult, but it is possible: you can talk about sport in 2020 without mentioning covid-19.
To do this, you have to resort to a famous burofax, a millionaire signing, the lives that matter, the deaths that also, an Italian test, an unfortunate racket or the arrest of a footballer.
In a world parallel to that of the pandemic, sport continued to follow unpredictable paths.
THE DEATH OF THE GOD OF FOOTBALL
Maradona died and the world stopped. Diego’s heart stopped beating on November 25, fourteen days after being discharged from a hospital where he had been operated on for a subdural hematoma and treated for a withdrawal condition. He was just 60 years old.
By dint of dodging death over and over again, he had made his followers believe that it was eternal. Verifying the mortal condition of the best player in history was an inconceivable blow for his legion of followers, who, in their eagerness to verify it with their own eyes, starred during the wake during the wake.
No more adjectives and tears. The reactions ran the entire spectrum possible, from the purely analytical to the most unconscionable. In the bottom line, the lights were stronger than the shadows. Maradona rested in peace.
A DAMNED JOURNEY
Ten months earlier, another of the best and most charismatic sportsman of all time, Kobe Bryant, had lost his life in a helicopter accident. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people on the ship suffered the same fate on that cursed trip on January 26.
Kobe was 41 years old and his death caused a brutal impact in the world of sports and, in particular, in the NBA, in which he won five championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, a team in which he played for 20 seasons until his retirement in 2016.
The tributes overflowed when the Los Angeles franchise was proclaimed champion of the last season. It was his first title since Bryant’s last, in 2010.
THE BALL OF DJOKOVIC
The first Grand Slam tournament played during the pandemic, the US Open, prematurely lost world number one, Serbian Novak Djokovic. And not because he was defeated on the track, but because of his disqualification after an unfortunate action in his round of 16 match against Spanish Pablo Carreño.
Angered by the loss of a game, Djokovic threw the ball, without looking, towards the back of the court. Misfortune wanted the ball to hit one of the linesmen on the head, who fell to the ground due to the impact. Although the pitch was involuntary, the consequences were clear and the player was out of the tournament for violation of the code of conduct.
THE LIVES THAT MATTER
The asphyxiating death of George Floyd, a black American citizen, after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, arrested him and put his knee on his neck for nine minutes, fueled the Black Lives Matter protest movement, which the sport made its own. .
From NBA and WNBA professionals to pilot Lewis Hamilton, Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, the Bundesliga and clubs and players around the world joined the demonstrations against racism by inscriptions on their jerseys and masks, messages in their social networks and symbolic gestures before matches.
Another shooting with racist overtones, that of Jacob Blake, led tennis player Naomi Osaka to withdraw from the Cincinnati tournament, impressed by the case. “Before being an athlete, I am a black woman,” she said.
THE IRRUPTION OF POGACAR
At just 21 years old, the Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar broke through among the greats by winning the biggest, the Tour de France, in a tremendous finale.
When everything pointed to the victory of his compatriot Primoz Roglic, Pogacar changed the script of the test with a monumental victory in the time trial of the penultimate day.
For the first time since Eddy Merckx did it in 1979, Pogacar donned three jerseys in Paris: the yellow for leader, the white for best junior and the polka dot for best climber. The Tour consecrated a cyclist called to star in glory days.
The Danish Pernilla Harder became the most expensive signing in the history of women’s football in 2020: Chelsea paid 350,000 euros to Wolfsburg for having the Golden Boot of the 2019-2020 season in their ranks.
She will play for the English team until 2023. In Harder’s first campaign in London, Chelsea are in a close fight with Manchester United Women for the lead in the women’s Super League, although their star signing has only scored two goals.
The captain of Denmark was a finalist for The Best award, which was won by England’s Lucy Bronce, from Manchester City.
THE MESSI BUROFAX
The Spanish postal services had their moment of world fame in 2020 thanks to the term ‘burofax’, unknown in the rest of the planet. This messaging system was the one used by Leo Messi on August 25 to request from FC Barcelona, without prior notice, the letter of freedom.
The footballing planet was reeling and the best clubs in the best leagues took out the calculator to see if the signing of Messi fit in their accounts.
Papa Messi traveled to Barcelona and said that it was “difficult” for his son to continue at Barça. Two days later, Leo announced that he would continue to be a Barça player.
“I would never go to court against Barça because it is the club that I love, that has given me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life.” It will remain so, at least until June 30, 2021.
THE PRISES OF MÁRQUEZ
Marc Márquez, a six-time world champion in the premier class of motorcycling, suffered a fall on July 19 in which he broke the humerus in his right arm. Convinced that his body could push the limits of logic, as it had done so many times, two weeks later he tried to return to competition. It could not be this time around.
The titanium plate that fixed the fracture moved and he was directed back to the operating room. Time, far from healing the injury, was complicating it. In December he underwent a third operation and an infection kept him hospitalized for ten days.
“It was hasty,” Márquez admitted about that return to the circuits in Jerez. And he pointed to a bad medical recommendation: “I am brave, but not unconscious.”
He promises that in 2021 history will not repeat itself: he will wait as long as it takes before getting on the bike, even if he misses part of the season.
THE CUP IS CALLED BILLIE
The Federation Cup was renamed to coincide with his 57th birthday. From now on, the world’s first women’s team tennis competition will adopt the name of Billie Jean King, “a tribute to the woman who was always there, since it all began in 1963.”
King won the cup ten times and was its global ambassador before having “the honor” of lending her his name.
The winner of twelve Grand Slam titles, one of the best athletes of all time, expressed in an unforgettable message what she expects from all tennis players in the world: “Be bold. Brave Daring. Leaders. Challenging. Inclusive. Imaginative. Reliable. Careful. Different. Authentic. Unwrapped. Adventurers. Prepared. Attentive Smart Intense Workers. Diligent Energetic Free. Creative Inspiring. Transformers. Unstoppable Grateful Ambitious. Positive And believe ”.
Eight months of suspension for the rector of the University for Foreigners of Perugia, for its director and for a group of professors: this is how the ‘Luis Suárez case’ ended, a player who needed to obtain an Italian passport and, to do so, pass an exam of knowledge of this language.
The then Barcelona forward was negotiating his possible signing for Juventus.
To help him, and according to the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office, the university sent the Uruguayan the test questions and the answers he had to give in perfect Italian. He approved, of course.
His teacher admitted that Suárez did not speak “a word” nor did he know “conjugate verbs”.
The university officials were investigated and punished. Meanwhile, the player was discarded by Juventus and ended up at Atlético de Madrid, where speaking Italian, for now, is not essential for him.
Another mess of papers: former Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho Gaúcho and his brother and businessman Roberto de Assis were imprisoned in Asunción for six months, accused of entering Paraguay with false passports.
They had traveled to lend their image to a project of free medical assistance to Paraguayan children, organized by a foundation chaired by businesswoman Dalia López, who is a fugitive.
A month after their arrest, the De Assis brothers paid $ 1.6 million to allow them to spend their seclusion in a hotel.
Finally, in August a judge decided the conditional suspension of the process and both were able to leave Paraguay for Brazil, although they had to face several payments as “social reparation.”
HAMILTON, BY SCHUMI’S SIDE
In a season reduced to 17 grands prix, Britain’s Lewis Hamilton was once again proclaimed Formula One champion and equaled the seven world titles of German Michael Schumacher.
The first he won in 2008 with McLaren, the other six (2014, 2015, 2017-2020) with Mercedes.
He is 35 years old, the same ones with which Schumi won his last title
The continuity for the next season of the fruitful relationship between Hamilton and the German team was pending confirmation, but the FIA has already included Stevenege’s in the list of Mercedes drivers in 2021. Facts accomplished and the record of titles on the horizon. EFE. (JL).