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F1 © Gallo Images

2012: the sports year in pictures



It was another sporting year that left you breathless, with the highlight undoubtedly the London 2012 Games that provided us with so many incredible memories.

From the Bond / Queen / Mr Bean opening, through to supreme athletes like Phelps, Le Clos, Farah and Bolt, and on to the British music celebration finale, it most certainly achieved its objective of bringing the Games back to the people.

There was so much else that held the attention too, what with the Proteas going to No 1; Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen's efforts in the golf majors; a new Bok coach; an incredible year in tennis; Messi mesmerising the world with his outrageous talent and some nailbiting seasons in motorsport - the list just goes on and on.

In celebration we have put together some picture galleries that attempt to summarise the year, and hopefully bring back some fantastic memories for you.

And don't forget to leave us your thoughts on the year in the Comments section below, we'd love to hear about your highs and lows from following sport in 2012.



RUGBY

Super Rugby

In terms of South African interest in Super Rugby, the 2012 edition was better than most, with three local sides making it into the extended round of play-offs, and one into the final.

Click here for the Super Rugby season in pictures



Springboks

The Springboks' first year under new coach Heyneke Meyer started with a series win over England, moved into a slightly disappointing Rugby Championship, and ended with an undefeated tour of the northern hemisphere.

Click here for the Boks' year in pictures



Rugby Championship

The inaugural Castle Rugby Championship proved a massive challenge for new Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, and showed New Zealand to be in a league of their own.

Click here for the Rugby Championship in pictures


Currie Cup

The fact a team that hadn’t won the golden trophy for 11 years managed to break the drought saved the Currie Cup year from the anonymity that threatened during the season.

Click here for the Currie Cup in pictures


International

New Zealand were the undisputed kings of rugby this year, dominating all forms of the game. 2012 did, however, provide us with plenty of upsets and talking points.

Click here for the international year in pictures




FOOTBALL
Africa

The year started with Zambia winning the Africa Cup of Nations. Orlando Pirates were the top team in SA again; Cameroon failed to qualify for the 2013 Afcon after being knocked out by Cape Verde, and Didier Drogba dominated headlines throughout the year.

Click here for the African year in pictures



Europe

Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi was the dominant force in European and international football, his goals keeping Barca in pole position for yet another silverware in the club's history. Elsewhere, the EPL celebrated 20 years of glory while Chelsea made it a cup double by pocketing both the Champions League and FA Cup titles.

Click here for the European year in pictures




CRICKET

Proteas

The Proteas had a very successful year, with test-series victories against both England and Australia away from home to finish top of the ICC test rankings. They did, however, disappoint again in an ICC event, namely the World T20. 

Future talents have been established, in the form of Vernon Philander, Faf du Plessis and Morne Morkel, while old stalwarts like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn stepped up to the plate when required. And then, of course, there is Jacques Kallis...

Click here for the Proteas' season in pictures


International cricket

2012 saw SA rise to the number one test spot, and the West Indies claim the World T20 crown. Highly respected and influential cricketers retired - Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Brett Lee, Mark Boucher, Andrew Strauss and Ricky Ponting - while Kevin Pietersen made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Click here for international cricket's year in pictures



Domestic cricket

The Nashua Titans  bagged two trophies in the past year - the SuperSport Series and the MiWay T20 in the 2011/12 season, while the bizhub Highveld Lions and Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras shared the Momentum Cup, in the 2012/13 season.

This was the year where Stephen Cook of the Highveld Lions matured with age, after being given the responsibility of the captaincy. We also saw Farhaan Behardien shine in the 20-over competition, and both Richard Levi and Henry Davids hit top-scored in the 50-over format. Fast bowler Hardus Viljoen had an outstanding year for the Lions, and Andrew Birch starred for the Warriors in all competitions.

Click here for SA domestic cricket's year in pictures



Olympics and Paralympics

It was dubbed 'The Games of the People', and the organisers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games ensured that all those people that attended would never forget this incredible showpiece of sport.

Michael Phelps etched his name at the top of the Greatest of All Time list; Usain Bolt added to his growing legend; the home athletes thrilled the crowds, and there was plenty of gold brought back to SA shores.

A real thrill-a-minute Games

Click here for London 2012 in pictures

Click here for the best videos from the London 2012 Olympics


Golf

Plenty for South Africans to get excited about in 2012 as Louis Oosthuizen battled Bubba at the Masters; Ernie Els snuck in the back door to claim his fourth major at the Open Championship; Branden Grace took Europe by storm in his rookie season, and European Tour events came flooding into SA.

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy enhanced his growing reputation, while Tiger Woods continued his climb back up the rankings. The Europeans won an incredible Ryder Cup, staging the greatest final-day comeback ever.

2013 is going to be a great year if 2012 was anything to go by!

Click here for the golfing year in pictures



Tennis

It was a year in which the men shared the spoils, with four separate Slam winners for the first time since 2003, while Serena Williams furthered her claim to being one of the greatest-ever players with a Slam and Olympic double.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all claimed a Slam each, but you'd probably give the year to Murray after his Olympic gold in front of his home crowds. Federer became the longest-reigning No 1 of all time, but Djokovic ended the year as the top-ranked player.

And as for Serena's exploits - well, just check out the gallery to find out more...

Click here for the tennis year in pictures



Motorsport

Where to start in describing the year on wheels?

A thrilling F1 season, where a legend also bade his second farewell; a MotoGP year that saw a fight to the bitter end; an SBK season that saw the top two separated by half a point, and a rally champion that can lay claim to being the greatest driver on the planet, so great is his dominance.

It's all here in the motorsport gallery...

Click here for the motorsport year in pictures



Boxing

The Klitschko brothers continued to dominate the heavyweight division but the best boxing of 2012 was provided by fighters in the lighter classes.

Click here for the boxing year in pictures

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