2012 in sport - the world's view

By Paul Brown and Vikas PandeyBBC Monitoring
Usain Bolt

For a few brief weeks in 2012, British athletes shone against the world's best as the greatest show on earth came to London.

But while the roar of the Olympic Stadium still echoes in British ears, it's easy to forget that names such as Mo Farah, Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis are less recognised overseas.

And while Britain marvelled at a skinny cyclist with iconic sideburns, Germany's sporting hero was a balding 20-stone discuss thrower.

Across the globe, athletics tracks became a blur of yellow and green as Jamaica became the world's sprinting capital.

In football, meanwhile, as England struggled, Spain dominated on the international stage, winning their third major tournament in a row at Euro 2012.

Hurdling Harting celebrates discus gold

While in cricket-mad India, the country celebrated a fantastic performance at London 2012.

Here the BBC looks at how some of the world's leading newspapers viewed the sporting year.


Discus thrower Robert Harting was named Sportsman of the Year by German newspaper Die Welt,external-link following his gold medal at London 2012. Harting famously celebrated his victory by ripping off his shirt and running a lap of honour, clearing several hurdles in the process, while draped in his country's flag.

Mario Gomez scores against Portugal at Euro 2012
"I was worried he might get bedsores," - Mehmet Scholl was unimpressed by Mario Gomez at Euro 2012

"Bedsores" was the unlikely word of the yearexternal-link for readers the same paper. It was used by television pundit and former Bayern Player Mehmet Scholl to criticise Mario Gomez's performance in Germany's Euro 2012 match against Portugal, despite him scoring the game's only goal.

"If he did more work he would get a lot more chances and score a lot more goals," Scholl said, adding, "I was worried that he might get bedsores."

With three goals and one assist, Gomez ended the tournament as joint top-scorer, only missing out on the Golden Boot to Fernando Torres because he had more match time.


Unsurprisingly, football dominated El Paisexternal-link newspaper's 2012 sporting review, with Spain's triumph at Euro 2012 named the moment of the year. The paper described the 4-0 demolition of Italy in the final as an "exhibition for eternity".

The paper also named Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone coach of the yearexternal-link for "transforming" the club and "squeezing the full potential out of his staff". Arsene Wenger was awarded the dubious award of the Angela Merkel prize for believing that you can "get out of a crisis by imposing austerity".


Yannick Agnel
Yannick Agnel "walked on water" to be named France top athlete of 2012 by Sport 24 newspaper

Swimmer Yannick Agnel was named Sport 24external-link newspaper's top athlete of 2012. Agnel famously overtook American Ryan Lochte in the anchor leg of the 4x100m freestyle relay to secure gold for France. The France 24 website says the country can now consider itself to be a "swimming superpower".

Meanwhile, a survey based on media coverage by Ouest France newspaperexternal-link named rally driver Sebastian Loeb the most high profile French sports star of 2012. Loeb won his ninth consecutive world title in 2012.


Sport in India often appears to begin and end with cricket, but 2012 was different. A record haul of six medals in London meant that athletes such as wrestler Sushil Kumar, badminton ace Saina Nehwal and shooter Vijay Kumar topped the Times of Indiaexternal-link newspaper's list of sporting achievers of 2012, ahead of the nation's cricketers.

Batsman Sachin Tendulkar still made the cut - and rightfully so, after becoming the only player in history to score a century of centuries in international cricket.

Defeats by England and Pakistan capped what the paper called a "difficult" year for Indian cricket, characterised by both heavy losses and high profile retirements, not least Tendulkar himself, who bowed out of the one day format.


Ye Shiwen
Swimmer Ye Shiwen leads a "new generation" of Chinese swimmers

The pool was also the focus of attention for the English version of China's state-run People's Dailyexternal-link newspaper, which hailed the country's swimmers above all other athletes in its review of the year.

The aquatic centre provided 10 of China's 38 gold medals, and Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen were singled out as the "crown jewels" of the team.

Sun won gold in the 400m and 1500m, and 16-year-old Ye smashed the 400m individual medley record, completing the final 50m faster than American Ryan Lochte in the equivalent male event.

"A new generation, led by Sun and Ye, has stepped to the fore and it seems the best is yet to come for Chinese swimming," the paper said.


Australians are known for their sporting obsession, but 2012 was not their year. The country's poor showing at the Olympics was the main talking point of the Australian Times'sexternal-link review of the year, with the paper expressing hope that better fortunes in 2013 would dispel the "dark days" of the year gone.

However, the paper did not forget to praise the "two tenacious women who turned their steel into gold" - hurdler Sally Pearson and sprint cyclist Anna Meares's medal triumphs were celebrated.

Champion swimmer Ian Thorpe, aka "the Thorpedo" wasn't so lucky. He was described as "a dud" after failing to qualify for London.

Away from the Olympics, the paper reserved special congratulations for now-retired cricket captain Ricky Ponting and his successor Michael Clark.


The tiny Caribbean island's sprinting dominance was confirmed this month when Track and Field magazine released its world rankings for 2012.

Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce
"Fraser-Pryce played bridesmaid to no other female athlete in 2012" - Jamaica Observer

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake made it a Jamaican one-two in the men's category, with Asafa Powell coming fifth, while 100m Olympic gold medallist Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the top spot for the women.

The Jamaica Observerexternal-link newspaper noted that Bolt's achievements and personality tend to steal the limelight from Fraser-Pryce, who became only the third woman in history to successfully defend the 100m Olympic title.

The paper noted that Pryce has been "indirectly forced to play second fiddle to perhaps the greatest athletes the world has ever known… which itself is a manifestation of the abundance of sprinting talent currently at our disposal."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitterexternal-link and Facebookexternal-link.