Rather than do my usual year in review series, I thought I’d try to sum up the year with a quiz on some of the major stories of the year. I’m biased heavily in favor of what was covered here on The Science of Sport during the year, so that means a lot of athletics, cycling and of course, the Olympic Games feature heavily in the fifty questions below. You’ll have to forgive me for not covering the US-sports and no, there’s no Formula One or horse-racing here either!
And I took the opportunity, in providing answers, of editorializing somewhat, and embellishing those answers with some facts and trivia, to sum up what has been a memorable and enthralling year in sport. I know the last month has seen the posting frequency dwindle – let’s call it a loss of creative energy, but the plan is to do more posting next year, including more translation of sports science research during slower news times. I’m mindful that there are outstanding journalists who do a better job of reporting the news (e.g: Armstrong and cycling’s dramas this year), and so we’ll try to return to a more niche-based offering in 2013.
It’s difficult to see how 2013 can provide any more drama – there are no Olympic Games, and I can’t think of a bigger controversy than Armstrong in 2012! But whatever happens, science or sport, we’ll do our very best to cover it, here, and on Twitter and Facebook, so join the community and bring on the New Year!
I take full responsibility for any errors, but I whipped the quiz up quickly, so go easy on the odd omission! The points don’t matter anyway – they’re like doping controls in the 1990s.
There are fifty questions, but most have multiple answers.
The answers are at the end of the quiz. Enjoy! Ross.
Track and field at the London Olympic Games
- Name the top five countries on the overall London Olympic Games medal table
- What was the winning time in the men’s 100m final at the London Olympic Games?
- How many men broke 10 seconds in the 100m final?
- Of the fifteen medals available in the men’s ‘sprint’ distance events (100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 110m hurdles), how many were won by the USA? How many were won by Jamaica?
- So far, only one track and field athlete has been stripped of a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Name the athlete and the event where the gold medal changed hands weeks after the medal ceremony
- How many track and field defending champions were able to repeat as Gold medalists in London 2012?
- Usain Bolt was one of eight multiple individual medalists in track and field in London 2012. Name the other seven athletes who won more than one medal, excluding medals won in relay events.
- Trinidad & Tobago won only its second ever Olympic gold medal in London, from an unlikely source. Who was it and in which event?
- Controversy in London 2012 surrounded an eventual gold medalist who was first disqualified from running a final because he had not given a maximum effort in a heat of a different event. Who was it, and which event did he go on to win?
- There was one track and field event where more than three medals were handed out because of a dead heat/tie for places. Which event was it?
- Name the three men who won the Grand Tours in 2012
- Frank Schleck was suspended during the Tour de France after testing positive for which substance?
- Name two of the three men who won stages in two out of three of the Grand Tours this year
- Name the dominant Dutch cyclist who won the world cyclo-cross championships, the Giro Donne (including five stage wins), the Olympic Games Road Race and the UCI World Championships.
- Which big name team sponsor reacted to cycling’s latest doping controversy (precipitated by the Armstrong USADA report) by announcing that they would end a 17-year long association with the sport on December 31 this year?
Track & field
- Five world records were set in track and field athletics this year. Name the athletes and the events in which they were set
- Name the men’s and women’s winners at the Marathon Major events in 2012
- Who were named the IAAF’s male and female athletes of the year in 2012?
- Name the Brazilian double amputee who surprisingly beat favorite Oscar Pistorius in the London Paralympic 200m, before ironically being accused by Pistorius of gaining an unfair advantage through the use of technology by increasing the length of his carbon fiber prosthetic blades?
- Two American sprinters made news in October when they switched the tartan tracks for ice runways to qualify for the USA bobsled team. One of them was Lolo Jones, the 100m hurdler. Who is the other?
- Who was named the IRB Rugby Player of the Year for 2012? Who was the IRB Sevens Player of the Year?
- Who were the Six Nations Champions of 2012?
- Lionel Messi will end the calendar year with 91 goals for club and country, a record setting year for the three-time world player of the year. Whose record did he beat?
- In a thrilling end to the English Premier League, the title swung from the blue to the red half of Manchester before finally coming to rest with Manchester City, thanks to two stoppage-time goals in a come-from-behind victory. Who did City beat on the final day, and who were the two players who scored the goals that pulled them passed Manchester United, who had all but begun celebrating their late surge to the title?
- Spain completed a historic treble by winning their third consecutive global football title in Kiev in July. They won the Euro2012 title to go with their Euro2008 title, and the 2010 Football World Cup. Who did they beat in each of those three finals, and who were the four goal scorers in the latest triumph? (I know, we’re going further back in the memory banks than just 2012 here!)
- Which nation won the ICC World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in October, and who did they beat in the final?
- Name the highest run-scorers in Test, one-Day and Twenty20 cricket , and the highest wicket-taking bowlers in each of the three formats of the game during the past calendar year (as of 27 December this year)
- One USA-sport question, easy for our US-readers, but not as simple for those outside. Who are the current NFL, NBA and MLB champions?
- The Ryder Cup produced one of the year’s most dramatic comebacks in Chicago in September, as the European team came from a 6-10 deficit to retain the Cup. Name the player who sank a clutch five-foot putt on the 18th hole of the 11th singles match to give Europe an unassaible 14-13 lead? Who did he beat?
- Name the number-1 ranked MEN’S teams in the following three sports: Handball, field hockey, volleyball
The business of sport
- The most recent TV rights deal to broadcast the English Premier League is worth £3.2 billion over three years, in effect from 2013. This is a jump of 71%, and will return the EPL to the status of being the most lucrative broadcast deal. Which league currently tops the list?
- Which three sports brands were named by Forbes as being the most valuable in 2012?
- According to a similar Forbes’ list, which three sportsteams top the list of “most valuable teams” in 2012? And yes, I know how fraught with difficulty it is to value these teams and brands, so I’m going by those lists, which are disputable (and even disagree with one another, if you read the closely)
- Last Forbes’ based question – name the top five highest earning athletes in 2012. The earnings consist of salaries/winnings plus endorsements
- Which tennis player caused controversy in 2012 when he said the following: “men’s tennis is ahead of women’s tennis” and “men spend twice as long on court as women do at Grand Slams” to re-ignite the debate about equal pay for men and women?
Other Olympic sports
- Michael Phelps retired after London 2012 as the most decorated Olympian in history. How many gold medals, and how many total medals has he won?
- Name the men’s and women’s allround gymnastics gold-medalists from London
- The women’s triathlon event in London featured one of the closest finishes of the Games, as a photo-finish after nearly two hours of racing was required to separate gold from silver. Who were the two athletes involved?
- One of the powerhouse nations of swimming, Australia endured a disappointing Games. How many gold medals did Australia win in the London pool?
- Seven nations won their first ever Olympic medals in London. Can you name three of them?
- Prior to London 2012, Sir Steven Redgrave was the most decorated British Olympic athlete with one bronze and five gold medals between 1984 and 2000. Once the flame went out in London, he was third on the British list for total medals, and second for golds. Which two athletes jumped ahead of Redgrave thanks to their London hauls?
- There was controversy in the women’s football tournament in London, when one of the teams refused to take the field after the wrong flag had been shown on the jumbo screen. Which team was involved and what was the specific error?
- Two fifteen year old swimmers won gold medals in the pool in London. Name them
- Who were the flag bearers for the hosts at the opening and closing ceremonies of this year’s London Olympics?
- How many medals were awarded at the London Olympic Games (to the nearest ten will do!), and how does this compare to medals at the Paralympic Games?
- Men’s tennis’ big four continued to dominate the Grand Slams in 2012, sharing the four Grand slams. Djokovic won the Australian Open, Nadal the French, Federer Wimbledon and Murray the US Open. They also occupied 12 of the potential 16 semi-final places between them, leaving only four slots for other players to reach Grand Slam semi-finals. Name the three players (one of them did it twice)
- Which player won the most singles titles on the men’s ATP Tour in 2012?
- Which player won the most singles titles on the women’s WTA Tour?
- Who set a record for the fastest-ever recorded serve in an official ATP event this year?
- The women’s world number one ranking changed hands three times in 2012. Name the three women, who at some stage during the year, occupied the number one spot
And here are the answers
Track and field at the Olympics
- USA, China, GB, Russia, South Korea
- 9.63s, by Bolt, a new Olympic Record
- Seven. Asafa Powell was the only man to fail to go under 10, and that was arguably only because of an injury that forced him to pull up about 40m from the line. He finished in 11.99s. Three men broke 9.80s, incidentally – Bolt, Blake and Gatlin
- Four – Justin Gatlin in the 100m, Merrit and Richardson in the 110m hurdles, and Michael Tinsley in the 400m hurdles. Jamaica won six, largely thanks to Bolt and Blake going gold and silver twice, with Warren Weir completing a podium sweep in the 200m, and Hansle Parchment winning bronze in the 110m hurdles. The other medals (five) were won by athletes from other Caribbean nations – Puerto Rico, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago.
- Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus was stripped of her shotput gold medal after failing a test for the steroid metenolone. The gold medal was awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand
- Men: Usain Bolt repeated twice – the 100m and 200m. The Jamaican men’s 4 x 100m relay team. Tomas Majewski of Poland in the Shotput
- Mo Farah won double gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m. Yohan Blake won two silvers. Will Claye (USA) won silver in the triple jump and bronze in long jump.
- It was Keshorn Walcott, who won gold in the men’s javelin
- Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria had already qualified for the 1500m final when he ran an 800m heat, effectively jogging 200m before stepping off the track. He was disqualified, but later reinstated after providing a medical certificate of injury. That “injury” didn’t hamper him in the 1500m final, which he won in dominant fashion
- Men’s high jump saw a three way tie for bronze – Barshim, Drouin and Grabarz all cleared 2.29m and could not be separated on count-back, and so five medals were awarded. Gold went to Ivan Ukhov of Russia, who cleared 2.38m
- Giro d’Italia: Ryder Hesjedal
Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins
Vuelta Espana: Alberto Contador
- Xipamide, a diuretic. Schleck initially claimed to have been poisoned. His case was heard in December, with a decision expected at the end of January
- Mark Cavendish – Giro and Tour; Joaquim Rodriguez – Giro and Vuelta; Alejandro Valverde – Tour and Vuelta
- Marianne Vos
- Rabobank, who in a statement expressed a lack of confidence that the status of cycling could change “for the better in the foreseeable future”
Track and field
- David Rudisha broke his own 800m WR to win the Olympic gold in London. Aries Merritt broke the 110m hurdles record post-London. Ashton Eaton broke the decathlon world record in the USA Olympic Trials. Jamaica’s men broke the relay record in London.
The USA women’s 4 x 100m relay team won gold in a WR time in London
- Boston: Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop (both Kenya)
London: Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany, both Kenya
Olympic Games: Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda and Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia
Berlin: Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) and Aberu Kebede of EthiopiaChicago: Tsegaye Kebede and Atsede Baysa, both of Ethiopia
New York: No running due to Hurricane Sandy
The scoreboard reads three Kenyan wins to one Ethiopian and one Ugandan on the men’s side, and three Ethiopian wins to two Kenyan wins on the women’s side. On the other hand, looking at the top 10 times of the year, Ethiopia had seven, Kenya three on the men’s side, whereas it was five apiece on the women’s side. So we’ll call 2013 an even year in the East African battle, and acknowledge that it was Uganda who claimed perhaps the biggest single victory with Kiprotich’s Olympic gold!
- Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix. For Bolt, it was the fourth time in five years that he had received the honour (David Rudisha was the exception in 2011). It was Felix’s first such award
- Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira, aged 20. His blades were later confirmed to be within the allowable limits according to the formula used by the sports governing body, but the incident highlighted the complexity of technological devices that affect running performance without known or agreed upon standards, and hint at what is to come when other athletes emerge with similar technology in the future
- Tianna Madison, a 100m sprinter who ran the first leg of the USA’s world record breaking relay team in London 2012.
- Dan Carter of New Zealand, his second such award (2005). The Sevens player of the year was New Zealand’s Tomasi Cama, who won the award for the first time
- Wales, who were unbeaten throughout the tournament
- Gerd Muller, who in 1972 scored 85 goals for West Germany and Bayern Munich. To give perspective and context to Messi’s year, the stats show that he scored his goals in 69 matches – 79 in 60 for Barcelona and 12 in 9 for Argentina. That’s 1.3 goals per match, lower than Muller who scored 85 in 60 (1.4 per game). For more statistics, including a video of all 91 (in just over 10 minutes), check out this link
- City beat QPR at the Etihad Stadium, thanks to a 92nd minute goal from Edin Dzeko and a 94th minute goal from Sergio Aguero. The title had by that stage looked to have slipped from their grasp, as United had beaten Sunderland, and were virtually celebrating before news of the City comeback reached the Stadium of Light
- Euro 2008 – Germany; World Cup 2010 – Netherlands; Euro 2012 – Italy, who were beaten 4-0 courtesy goals by David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata
- West Indies, who beat the hosts Sri Lanka by 36 runs
- Run-scorers: Test – Michael Clarke of Australia, One-day – Kumar Sangakarra of Sri Lanka; Twenty20 – Martin Guptill of New Zealand
Wicket-takers: Test – Herath of Sri Lanka; One-day – Lasith Malingo of Sri Lanka; Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan
- NFL – New York Giants; NBA – Miami Heat; MLB – San Francisco Giants
- Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who beat Steve Stricker 1 up. It was Kaymer’s first point of the Ryder Cup, having played in only one of the previous four matchups
- Handball – Germany; Field hockey – Germany; Volleyball – Brazil
The business of sport
- Italian Serie A
- Nike, worth $15.9 billion; ESPN at $11.5 billion; Adidas at $6.8 billion. The complete list can be found here
- Manchester United, valued at $2.23 billion, followed by Real Madrid at $1.88 billion and then the New York Yankees at $1.85 billion. For the complete list see this link
- Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Roger Federer. Mayweather tops the list purely on winnings/direct earnings with $85 million. Pacquiao is largely winnings-based, with small endorsements, whereas Woods, James and Federer rely on endorsements (all significantly made up of Nike deals). Woods remains the holder of the most lucrative endorsement “suite” ($55 million), whereas Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens, down in twelfth place, is the highest earner of any team-sport athlete without endorsements. Full list and breakdown can be found here
- Gilles Simon, speaking at Wimbledon. Not surprisingly, there was a backlash, though Simon claimed that many of the male players on the Tour agreed with him, but would not speak out because of the charged nature of the debate
Other Olympic sports
- 22 in total, 18 of which are gold. The next highest in history is Larisya Latynina, who won 18 in total, nine of which were gold. Phelps’ medal haul, incidentally, puts him level with Argentina and Austria on the all-time medal list for countries. He is one gold medal ahead of Jamaica, who should pass him in 2016!
- Men – Kohei Uchimura of Japan; Women – Gabby Douglas of the USA
- Nicola Spirig, the eventual winner from Switzerland, and Sweden’s Lisa Norden, who got silver
- Only one. They actually won ten medals in total, which was joint third highest on the swimming medal table. However, their gold medal count placed them only seventh in the official rankings, which are done by gold medals. That solitary gold came from the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay team. For context, in 2000, 2004 and 2008, Australia won 5, 7 and 6 medals, respectively. It didn’t help that a good number of swimmers who won gold medals representing other countries were prepared in or coached by Australians
- Any three from: Gabon, Grenada, Botswana, Montenegro, Bahrain, Cyprus and Guatemala
- Sir Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins. Hoy won two golds in London, taking his tally to seven, consisting of six golds and one silver. Wiggins won cycling’s time-trial gold medal to join Hoy on seven total medals, made up of four golds, one silver and two bronzes
- The North Korean team refused to play the South Korean flag was displayed on the jumbo screen as the team was being introduced during warm-up. The match was delayed by an hour, the mistake corrected and an official apology made by organizers
- Ruta Meilutyte won the 100m breaststroke title and Katie Ledecky won the 800m title in an Olympic record. The other famous teenager is Ye Shiwen, who won the 200m and 400m Individual Medley, but she is 16 years old.
- Chris Hoy at the Opening, Ben Ainslie at the closing
- 962 medals in total (302 were gold), compared to 1522 medals, and 503 golds, in the Paralympic Games
- David Ferrer at the French Open and US Open; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon; and Thomas Berdych at the US Open. All the other semi-final places were taken by Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Murray
- David Ferrer of Spain, who won seven titles. Djokovic and Federer were next with six. One half of the Bryan brothers, Mike, won seven doubles titles and one mixed doubles title.
- Serena Williams, who won sevens singles titles, two of which were Grand Slams, as well as the Olympic Gold, and the season ending WTA championships. Sara Errani of Italy was the most successful player on either Tour, winning a total of twelve titles, eight of which were doubles titles
- Samuel Groth of Australia, playing in the Busan Open Challenger Tournament in May, was clocked at 263 km/hour, beating the previous record held by Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic (251 km/hour). This remains the fastest in an ATP World Tour or Davis Cup level match. Groth had two other serves faster than Karlovic’s previous record, but lost the match
- Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki started the year as #1, but lasted only a month before Azarenka assumed it after the Australian Open. She held it for just over four months before Sharapova became #1 in June. That lasted one month, before it went back to Azarenka, who has held it since, despite Serena’s late season dominance. Wozniacki ended the year ranked tenth.