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PHOTOS: Sporting spectacles that made 2012 special

Last updated on: December 26, 2012 10:14 IST

PHOTOS: Events and newsmakers that made 2012 special

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Unlike every year, 2012 was special in the sporting calendar. With the Euro football competition and London Olympics, the year brought to the fore a gamut of emotions -- both for athletes and spectators.

Taking off from there, Rediff.com enlits the newsmakers and events that created a buzz in the sporting world.



Tags: PHOTOS , London

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PHOTOS: Sporting spectacles that made 2012 special

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JANUARY 28

Victoria Azarenka becomes the first Belarusian to win a Grand Slam singles title in tennis by claiming the Australian Open.




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JANUARY 29

Novak Djokovic won his third Australian Open, beating Rafa Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 in a five hour 53 minute slugfest, the longest tennis Grand Slam final played.




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FEBRUARY 5

The New York Giants win the greatest prize in North American sports for the second time in four years with a nail-biting 21-17 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in Indianapolis.




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MARCH 17

Wales beat France 16-9 in Cardiff to complete the Grand Slam and win rugby's Six Nations title for the third time in eight seasons.




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APRIL 8

American golfer Bubba Watson beats South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen on the second extra hole to win the Masters at Augusta National.




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MAY 5

A derby horse name I'll Have Another, ridden by Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez, wins the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs before a record crowd of more than 165,000.




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MAY 19

London soccer club Chelsea beat German team Bayern Munich on penalties to win the European Champions League for the first time.




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MAY 27

Scotland's Dario Franchitti wins the 96th Indianapolis 500 and joins an elite band of drivers to win America's most famous race at least three times.




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JUNE 9

Russia's Maria Sharapova wins the French Open tennis championship to become just the 10th woman to complete her collection of Grand Slam trophies.




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JUNE 11

Rafa Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win the French Open tennis championship for a record seventh time.




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JUNE 11

The Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the team's 45-year history by defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in the best-of-seven National Hockey League championship.

JUNE 17

American golfer Webb Simpson clinches his first major title with a nerve-jangling one-shot victory at the US Open in San Francisco.


Image: American golfer Webb Simpson celebrates with wife


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JUNE 21

LeBron James captured his first National Basketball Association title by leading the Miami Heat to a 4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.




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JULY 1

Spain thrashes Italy 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012 in Ukraine, the biggest victory margin in any World Cup or European championship decider.




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JULY 7

Serena Williams wins Wimbledon for the fifth time, her first Grand Slam success since she survived a life-threatening blood clot on her lungs.




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JULY 8

Switzerland's Roger Federer beats Andy Murray to win a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title.




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JULY 22

South African golfer Ernie Els wins the British Open at age 42 after Australia's Adam Scott bogeys the final four holes.




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JULY 22

Bradley Wiggins becomes the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.




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JULY 27

The London Olympics begin with a spectacular opening where seven teenagers light the cauldron.




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AUGUST 4

American swimmer Michael Phelps ends his incredible Olympic career on the perfect note, winning his fourth gold medal in London and his 18th overall, twice as many as any other athlete in any sport.




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AUGUST 5

Usain Bolt retains his Olympic 100 metres title at London. The Jamaican sprinter also wins gold medals in the 200 and 4x100 relay to replicate his treble from the 2008 Beijing Games.

AUGUST 13

London bids farewell to the Olympic Games with the traditional closing ceremony, bringing the curtain down on more than two weeks of action where the United States topped the medals table with 46 gold.


Image: Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to clinch the 100m gold


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AUGUST 13

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots.




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AUGUST 24

The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced that American cyclist Lance Armstrong is banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France title wins after refusing to contest charges he used performance enhancing drugs.




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SEPTEMBER 9

Serena Williams survives a torrid battle with Victoria Azarenka to win the US Open at age 30, 13 years after she won the first of her four titles at Flushing Meadows.




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SEPTEMBER 10

Andy Murray becomes the first British man in 76 years to win a grand slam singles title by beating Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.




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SEPTEMBER 29

The New Zealand All Blacks sealed the southern hemisphere's inaugural rugby championship with a 54-15 win over Argentina in La Plata.

SEPTEMBER 30

Europe produced one of the greatest last-day comebacks seen on a golf course to beat the United States to retain the Ryder Cup.


Image: Team Europe celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup


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OCTOBER 7

West Indies win the Twenty20 World Cup; they beat hosts Sri Lanka by 36 runs in the final.




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OCTOBER 20

British racehorse Frankel is retired after winning the Champions Stakes at Ascot, finishing his flawless career with 14 wins from 14 starts.

OCTOBER 28

Spain's Jorge Lorenzo sealed his second MotoGP title by cruising to second place in the Australian Grand Prix.


Image: Spain's Jorge Lorenzo celebrates


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OCTOBER 28

The San Francisco Giants completed a 4-0 sweep of the Detroit Tigers to win Major League Baseball's World Series for the second time in three years.




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NOVEMBER 25

Germany's Sebastian Vettel finished sixth in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix to become the youngest triple champion in Formula One history.




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