January 5, 2011
Posted: 1722 GMT
The last 12 months have seen plenty of memorable moments, with huge sporting occasions such as the FIFA World Cup and golf's Ryder Cup providing some unforgettable moments.
Formula One provided one of the tightest drivers' championships in history, while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer continued their epic rivalry on the tennis court.
As we wave goodbye to 2010, CNN's Candy Reid selects her top-five sporting moments of the last year.
5. Rafael Nadal wins the U.S. Open
The Spaniard joined an exclusive group of male tennis players when he won in New York for the first time. He became just the seventh to complete the career Grand Slam, and at 24 the youngest in the Open era. He did it in some style too, losing just five service games and one set along the way. It wrapped up the best year of his career to date and made him the undisputed world number one, well clear of his rival and friend, Roger Federer.
4. Sebastian Vettel clinches the F1 drivers’ championship
The Formula One season was the best in recent memory. Ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi, four men still had a chance of taking motorsport's biggest prize. Fernando Alonso was in pole position for the title with Vettel's fellow Red Bull driver Mark Webber just behind. But it was the German who ended up as the champion, although he didn’t know it until after the checkered flag. He won the race and then found out his rivals hadn’t finished close enough to take the crown. A terrific ending to a fantastic season which saw 23-year-old Vettel become the youngest world champion in F1 history, eclipsing Lewis Hamilton's 2008 achievement.
3. Alberto Contador wins his third Tour de France
Lance Armstrong’s final Tour de France was a two-horse race, and the American wasn’t in the running. A series of mishaps meant that Contador and Andy Schleck were left to go head-to-head for the maillot jaune. The Saxo Bank rider looked like he would take the honors, until a controversial moment on stage 15. Late on in the stage, Schleck had a chain malfunction and Contador ignored cycling etiquette to attack. The defending champion seized the overall lead, and though Schleck vowed to have revenge he could not get back those lost seconds and the Spaniard won cycling's premier event for the third time in four years.
2. Europeans regain the Ryder Cup
It was a superb golfing year for Europe. Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open and Martin Kaymer clinched the PGA Championship - the first time two Europeans had won majors in the same season for 11 years. The duo were then involved in the longest Ryder Cup in history. Much to everyone’s surprise, it came down to Monday’s final match at Celtic Manor – the first time it had gone to the wire in 19 years. McDowell was the hero. He hit what he called the best putt of his life on the 16th hole against U.S. player Hunter Mahan and went on to take the full point as Europe regained the biennial teams event in dramatic fashion.
1. Spain lift the World Cup
No football team had ever lost their first match at a World Cup and gone on to win the whole thing. Spain became the first on July 11, 2010. Having fallen to Switzerland 1-0 in their opener, the European champions were down, but as it soon emerged, definitely not out. After advancing from their group after two successive victories, a string of 1-0 wins followed. Andres Iniesta was the hero in the final against the Netherlands, netting the only goal of the game in extra-time. It didn’t matter a jot that Spain had won the World Cup with the fewest goals – eight. All that mattered was that they had the trophy in their hands for the first time. They became the first European nation to win the trophy outside of Europe, joining West Germany and France as the only countries to hold the world and European titles simultaneously.
Those are my five, what are yours? Perhaps Inter winning the treble or the longest tennis match in history? I’d love to read your comments, and you can tweet me at CandyReidCNN.