The year 2020 was one wild year that no one saw coming. The events that transpired within this year were truly worth documenting. Every person has a story of their own regarding the year, both at a personal level and global level. The world of sports has seen its own experience of events that stood out during this period.
6 Emerging Stories that Rocked the World of Sports in 2020
Let’s dive into some of the significant events that took the world of sports by storm during this pandemic-paralyzed year.
1. Eugene Melnyk’s Change of Course
Ottawa Senators fans would have been a happier lot today if the team owner, Eugene Melnyk, had not changed his mind on a crucial decision he’d made. Eugene Melnyk had earlier released a detailed plan of how 6,000 fans would be allowed to attend Senators’ home games during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, that never came to be.
This news was received with anticipation, joy, and excitement as fans prepared to make their way into the stadium and have a chance to support their favorite team. However, within a few hours of announcing the plans, Eugene Melnyk released another statement contradicting the first.
In his second statement, Eugene said the team was continuing to work on a plan to allow fans to watch senators in person. He continued to say that this will only happen when the time is right, and that time wasn’t due yet then.
He backed his change, of course, with the ongoing increase in daily Covid-19 cases. Besides, Ontario’s government was putting new measures to curb the rising Covid-19 cases, making it challenging to allow fans back to the game just yet. You can also read about it on Sportsnet to get a full grasp of what he said.
2. Kobe Bryant’s tragic demise.
On January 26, 2020, the world woke up to devastating news of the passing away of the world-renown Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash.
Kobe Bryant was a former NBA player, and his daughter was 13-years-old. On the day of the tragic accident, they headed to a girls’ basketball tournament when their chopper crashed due to thick fog in Calabasas, California.
Like Michael Jordan, friends, and family on February 24, NBA stars paid tribute to the legend Kobe in a solemn memorial as they spoke of his lasting Legacy in NBA and overall accomplishments.
3. Black Lives Matter Movement
Following the death of a black man George Floyd on May 25, the Black Lives Matter Movement was born. George Floyd’s death resulted from a Minneapolis officer placing his knee on the man’s neck for about nine minutes as the unarmed arm helplessly pointed out he could not breathe.
The images of this incident went viral, causing an uproar and protests across the world.
In June, the Black Lives Matter movement became more intense after police officers killed more black people. An influx of supportive statements from federations, broadcasters, leagues, and sports teams followed. Some breakthrough in social justice was experienced. They include;
- In September, during the US Open Title, tennis Star Naomi Osaka put on a different mask before each of her seven matches in honor of the Black Americans killed violently while in police custody.
- Global athletes in different leagues such as MLB and NFL players protested by taking a knee before any sports events.
- The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted to being wrong for not paying attention to NFL players’ racism issues and joined them in the protest.
In response to widespread Black Lives Matter protests, the NFL launched a US$250m fund aimed at supporting the fight against Systemic Racism in the US. It also expanded efforts in raising awareness of social justice.
4. Suspension of Sports World.
On January 9 of 2020, the World Health Organization announced the lethal Coronavirus’s saddening news, with its origin in Wuhan, China. In a short time, the virus had infiltrated the human population globally. In the months following this announcement, many first-time changes happened in the sports world. They include;
- NBA became the first to suspend the season’s league on March 11 due to COVID-19. Other sports followed suit shortly after. Athletes like Utah Jazz Gobert were among the first to test positive for COVID-19.
- NCAA canceled the women’s and men’s basketball tournaments to curb the spreading of COVID-19. The spring and winter championships followed suit.
- The Tokyo Olympics got postponed on March 24. Initially, the Olympics were to start on July 24 in Tokyo but are now scheduled to happen from July 23, 2021, if the situation allows.
5. Steven Cohen Emerges as MLB’S wealthiest team owner.
Steve Cohen is the new majority team owner. In 2020, he acquired the team from Sterling Partners in a $2.4bn worth deal, which is the most significant transfer for a North American team. Through this transfer, Cohen immediately rose to be the wealthiest Major League Baseball’s team owner with a net worth of over $14 billion.
6. NBA’S Disney Bubbles
In the earlier months of COVID-19, the National Basketball Association decided to suspend its league amid the virus’s fast spread. However, in months following, the Association figured out a way to work around the pandemic regulations.
That led to the invention of the NBA Disney Bubble, where everyone from players to broadcast personnel lived within it while following strict health and safety protocol.
On July 7, NBA players arrived in the bubble environment where the playoffs took place. The bubble experience worked out perfectly, resulting in Los Angeles Lakers’ first title in a decade. And more importantly, it concluded with no positive COVID-19 tests hence was adopted by other leagues.
While 2020 will come across many minds as the year of the Corona Virus Pandemic, there were numerous breakthroughs like the breakthrough in fighting for social justice for athletes and finding ways to continue sports amidst the pandemic. I believe you are hopeful for a better 2021 with a resumption of the Sports world we once knew.