Usain Bolt, Barcelona FC and Lewis Hamilton figured big in the highlights of 2015. On the negative side, the doping scandal that hit Russian athletics and the latest terror attacks in Paris also made the headlines.
There were no Olympic Games and no major European or global football tournament in 2015. Even so, there were plenty of highlights in the world of sports.
Once again the IAAF World Championships in Beijing were all about Usain Bolt. The six-time Olympic champion triumphed in the 100-meter dash. He also won the 200-meters and was the anchor of the Jamaican 4×100-meter relay. With 11 titles at the world championships, the 29-year-old Jamaican is the most accomplished athlete at the World Championships. The other highlight goes to Ashton Eaton of the United States, who broke the world record in the decathlon with 9,045 points. The German athletes also had a decent showing, with shot-putter Christina Schwanitz and javelin thrower Katharina Molitor winning gold – two of Germany’s eight medals.
Bayern Munich may not have had their best season in 2014-15, but they still managed to pick up their 25th league title – while Wolfsburg lifted the German Cup for the first time in club history. Elsewhere, Barcelona completed their second treble after beating Juventus 3-1 in the Champions League final in June.
The German national team labored through the qualifiers for Euro 2016 in France. The World Cup champions ultimately punched their ticket for the tournament by finishing top of Group D. They join five debutants in the Euros – Iceland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Albania, and Slovakia – in the newly expanded 24-team field. Austria and Switzerland will be there too, but surprisingly the Netherlands will have to stay home. The sad end to the German national team’s 2015 schedule featured the terrorist attacks during a friendly against France in Paris and the friendly against the Netherlands in Hanover, which was called off by the authorities at the last minute due to fears of a terrorist attack.
The Formula One season was mainly the Lewis Hamilton show. The Briton collected his second drivers’ championship, distancing himself from runner-up and his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg of Germany. Rosburg picked things up at the end of the season, winning his last three races. Personal tensions between the two could make things interesting in the new year. Sebastian Vettel was never a threat for the drivers’ title in 2015, but did earn three victories for his new team, Ferrari, to finish third in the standings.
Klitscho loses titles
After a nine-year run, Wladimir Klitschko is no longer the heavyweight champion in boxing. The Ukrainian lost his 19th title defense to Tyson Fury at the end of November in Düsseldorf, having to relinquish the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. However, Klitschko activated a rematch clause four days after his defeat, a match due to take place at London’s Wembley Stadium in May. After accepting the rematch, Fury lost his IBF title for not facing the mandatory-challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov.
Big year on the slopes
It was a big year once more for Germany’s winter athletes. The big hero was ski jumper Severin Freund, who won two gold medals and a silver medal at the Nordic Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. Combined skier Johannes Rydzek and ski jumper Carina Vogt also became world champions, as did biathlete Erik Lesser at the World Championships in Kontiolahti.
Handball and EuroBasket woes
At the World Handball Championships, the German team was knocked out by Qatar in the quarterfinals. Qatar surprised everybody by making it all the way to the final before losing to France. Dirk Nowitzki and the German national basketball team, didn’t fare much better, failing to advance beyond the group stage of EuroBasket despite being one of the host nations.
In light of doping allegations, the IAAF indefinitely suspended the Russian athletics association from competition. Until the ban is lifted, no Russian athletes will be allowed to compete, and their participation in the 2016 Olympics in Rio is in jeopardy. An independent commission appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency put together a 300-page report detailing allegations of systematic doping in Russian athletics. Kenya’s association is also on the hot seat, with an IAAF ethics committee having suspended three top Kenyan officials at the end of November.
Tour de Froome
Christopher Froome won the 102the edition of the Tour de France. The 30-year-old Briton collected his second tour win after a spectacular duel with Colombian Nairo Quintana, cycling up the Champs Elysees with a 72-second lead. On the final stage of the tour, Andre Greipel collected the 81st stage win for a German rider.