After many months of pandemic-induced upheaval in the sports industry, Media Masters profiles the major narratives that defined 2020.
Loss of sports legends Kobe Bryant, Diego Maradona, major international events including Olympics postponed over coronavirus
The world of sports experienced an unpleasant year in 2020 as it saw the deaths of sports legends, former basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and football icon Diego Armando Maradona as well as the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Former USA and the Los Angeles Lakers guard Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in January as his death shocked the sports community in the globe.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic showed itself in the sports world, in just like every aspect of life, as much as the accomplishments, achievements of the athletes, teams.
Here is an overall look of the year’s major events in 2020:
– JANUARY –
– Former NBA Commissioner David Stern dies at the age of 77.
NBA says on website that Stern suffers a brain hemorrhage on Dec. 12 and undergoes emergency surgery. He passes away with his wife, Dianne, and their family at his bedside. He was retired in 2014 after 30 years of servis as the commissioner.
– Italian football player Daniele De Rossi retires from the game. De Rossi, 37, is a Roma veteran as he plays 18 years for the Serie A team.
But he spent the 2019-20 season in Argentine giants Boca Juniors. De Rossi won the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team.
– English football club’s Senegalese star Sadio Mane, 28, wins the 2019 African Player of the Year for the first time in his career.
– Portuguese motorcyclist Paulo Goncalves, 40, is killed over in the seventh round in the 2020 Dakar Rally held in Saudi Arabia.
– Turkish women’s national volleyball team qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after beating Germany 3-0 in European qualifiers final.
– Norwegian chess star Magnus Carlsen sets a world record as he holds 111-game unbeaten streak in the game.
– Carlos Sainz wins the 2020 Dakar Rally in cars. Meanwhile Ricky Brabe is the 2020 champion in the Dakar Rally’s motorcycle category.
– A former Olympics and world champion in wrestling, Turkey’s Kazim Ayvaz dies at the age of 83.
– US basketball legend and a former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California.
Bryant won the NBA title with the Lakers for five times (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010).
The 18-time NBA All-Star played for the Lakers in 1996-2016, spending his whole 20-year career in a single franchise.
Bryant helped US national team win two Olympic gold medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
– Turkey’s first professional boxer Garbis Zakaryan dies at the age of 90. The former Armenian-Turkish athlete is fondly remembered by his fans as “iron fist”.
– World Athletics postpone the World Athletics Indoor Championships in China’s Nanjing due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. The original date for the indoor championships is March 2020.
– FEBRUARY –
– US tennis player Sofia Kenin, 22, wins the 2020 Australian Open title in women’s singles. This is Kenin’s maiden grand slam title.
– Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic become the 2020 Australian Open champion in men’s singles category.
– Swedish athlete Armand Duplantis sets a world record in pole vault discipline. Duplantis breaks the record with 6.17 meters vault in Poland.
– A Turkish alpine skier, Sila Kara saves the life of a minor in Slovenia’s Krvavec Ski Resort. Kara, 20, saves the Slovenian boy during a warm up in Krvavec Giant Slalom.
Kara is then honored with a medal by Krvavec police for her bravery.
– Sweden’s Duplantis sets another world record in pole vault. He breaks his own record with 6.18 meters vault in Scotland.
– The NBA All-Star game MVP (Most Valuable Player) award is permanently named for Kobe Bryant. The NBA says on website that it is referred as “The Kia NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award”
– Turkish wrestler Suleyman Karadeniz bags a gold medal in men’s freestyle 92 kg category in the 2020 European Championships.
Karadeniz defeats his Swiss opponent Samuel Scherrer 3-0 in the final in Rome to win the only gold medal for Turkey in this year’s European Championships.
– British boxer Tyson Fury ends Deontay Wilder’s five-year reign as World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight world champion.
– Galatasaray football team win against Fenerbahce 3-1 in Istanbul derby to end a more than two-decade-long drought in derby victories at their archrivals’ Ulker Stadium.
– Fatma Damla Altin becomes the world champion in the pentatlon discipline in the 2020 Virtus World Indoor Athletics hosted by Poland. Altin is the first Turkish paralympic athlete to win in the field of pentathlon.
– Another Turkish paralympic athlete, Esra Bayrak wins the 60-meter world championship in running in the 2020 Virtus World Indoor Athletics.
– Turkish motorcyclist Toprak Razgatlioglu wins 2020 MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship’s season opener in Australia.
– MARCH –
– Ex-Brazilian football star Ronaldinho is arrested in Paraguay for fake passport charges. The 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto Assis are said to hold false documents while entering Paraguay.
– NBA suspends the 2019-20 season until further notice after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
– The National Hockey League in US and Canada (NHL) pauses the remainder of the 2019-20 season because of the global spread of the novel coronavirus.
– Turkey postpones Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey due to be held in April for coronavirus pandemic.
– UEFA Champions League and Europa League games are postponed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
– UEFA postpones the EURO 2020 for one year due to the spread of the coronavirus across the globe.
– Similar to the EURO 2020, the 2020 Copa America is delayed for a year due to the spread of the coronavirus across the globe, the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL said.
– FIFA postpones 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in China for the virus.
– Turkish karate athletes Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu, Meltem Hocaoglu Akyol, Merve Coban, Ali Sofuoglu and Ugur Aktas qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as karate makes debut in the olympic games.
– Turkey postpones football, basketball, volleyball and handball leagues amid coronavirus pandemic.
– A former Real Madrid chair, Lorenzo Sanz dies of COVID-19.
– UEFA postpones Champions League and Europa League final matches indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
– Turkish football club Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim tests positive for COVID-19.
– International Olympic Committee (IOC) postpones Tokyo 2020 Olympics for a year over coronavirus pandemic.
– Dutch football club Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Abdelhak Nouri recovers from a coma, which he faces in 2017.
Dutch-Moroccan midfielder Nouri collapsed during a friendly match between Ajax and Germany’s Werder Bremen on July 8, 2017, in Austria due to a cardiac arrest causing serious brain damage.
– World down syndrome sports union chief Geoff Smedley dies of coronavirus.
– Galatasaray manager Terim gets released from hospital as he has coronavirus treatment.
– The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is held on July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, while the Paralympic Games between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5, 2021.
– APRIL –
– UEFA postpones all international matches in June for the virus.
– Brazil’s iconic football stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Maracana is said to be converted to a hospital as part of the fight against the novel coronavirus.
– Wimbledon, one of the most popular tournaments of the annual tennis calendar, is cancelled due to the pandemic.
– Turkish Football Federation (TFF) says that the leagues may start in June at the earliest.
– The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) postpones the Nations League semis and finals in June.
– The Formula 1 postpones the Canadian Grand Prix for health reasons.
– Turkey wins two gold and a bronze medal in the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup based on their performance on the qualifiers. The 2020 World Cup finals scheduled for March in Baku is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The international gymnastics body counts qualifiers rankings as final results.
– One of the most prestigious cycling competitions, the Tour de France is postponed to Aug. 29 – Sept. 20 for the novel coronavirus.
– English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion’s home stadium is converted to a test center so that the novel coronavirus tests can be done in the venue.
– The Berlin Marathon – an annual running event since 1974 – is postponed.
– UEFA postpones women’s 2021 European football championship (UEFA Women’s EURO 2021) to 2022 due to the pandemic.
– European volleyball confederation CEV cancels 2019-20 volleyball events for the virus.
– The 2020 European Athletics Championships due to be held in August in Paris are canceled for pandemic.
– FIFA announces that it would distribute approximately $150 million to the local federations for the fight against the novel coronavirus.
– The French Grand Prix in the Formula 1 is canceled due to the virus.
– The 2019-20 season in the French top-tier league, Ligue 1 ends amid pandemic as the leaders Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are crowned the 2020 champions.
– MAY –
– Fenerbahce women’s basketball team star Alina Iagupova is named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the EuroLeague Women season.
– Turkish Football Federation (TFF) says the football leagues resume in June 12, 13 and 14.
– Italian football giants Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala beats coronavirus. His treatment lasts for 45 days.
– Brazilian football club Flamengo says 38 people at the club contract the COVID-19.
– IFAB – the International Football Association Board – says that football teams can do five substitutions in a football game until the end of 2020 amid pandemic.
– Turkey ends 2019-20 volleyball season with no winners amid pandemic.
– Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) announces that all leagues are concluded without winners and no teams are relegated.
– The Belgian football body ends the 2019-20 Pro League as leaders Club Brugge are the 2020 champions in Belgium.
– Previously suspended in March, the German top-flight football division Bundesliga resumes the season.
– Scottish Premiership football league ends over pandemic as leaders Celtic win the 2020 title.
– Turkey cancels 2020 Presidential Cycling Tour amid coronavirus pandemic.
– Europe’s top-tier basketball tournament, Turkish Airlines EuroLeague cancels 2019-20 season for coronavirus pandemic.
– One of the suspended competitions in Europe for the COVID-19, the English Premier League says that it resumes to play on June 17 behind closed doors.
– Italian Serie A is said to resume on June 20.
– Spanish football organizers decides that La Liga will resume on June 11.
– Turkish Super Lig and Turkish Cup matches for the 2019-20 season are said to be played without spectators for health reasons.
– US sprinter Bobby Morrow – a triple gold medalist in the 1956 Olympics in Australia’s Melbourne – dies at the age of 84.
– JUNE –
– Italian swimmers Fabio Lombini and Gioele Rossetti die in a plane crash in Italy.
– UEFA bans Trabzonspor from European competitions for a year as the Turkish club fails to fulfill its financial obligations.
– Previously halted due to COVID-19, Turkish Super Lig resumes the 2019-20 season.
– Napoli win the 2020 Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) after defeating Juventus 4-2 on penalties in the final.
– Iraqi football legend Ahmed Radi dies of the novel coronavirus.
– The New York Marathon due to be held in November is postponed to November 2021 for coronavirus.
– The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is announced to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
– FIFA announces a $1.5-billion package to minimize the economic damage of the novel coronavirus on football federations.
– Liverpool win the 2020 English Premier League title after 30 years.
– International basketball body FIBA’s first African chief Abdoulaye Seye Moreau from Senegal dies at the age of 90.
– Barcelona sign Juventus’ Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic for €60 million ($67 million).
– Juventus transfer Barcelona’s Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo for €72 million ($80 million) transfer fee.
– The Confederation of African Football (CAF) postpones the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon to 2022 as the coronavirus has global impacts.
– JULY –
– Spanish basketball club Barcelona name Lithuanian basketball legend Sarunas Jasikevicius their new head coach
– Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi scores his 700th goal this week, reaching a new milestone in his storied career.
– Bayern Munich win the German Cup, beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
– The 2020 Formula 1 season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix after a nearly four-month delay due to the coronavirus outbreak. Mercedes’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas wins the Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
– UEFA confirms that the UEFA Champions League and Europa League’s second leg of their last 16 games would be hosted by the home teams.
– NBA is set to return at the end of July as teams arrive at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida this week to return to work.
– Atakas Hatayspor win 2nd-tier TFF First Lig title to promote to the Turkish Super Lig.
– UEFA confirms that English Premier League club Manchester City’s two-year ban on participating in UEFA competitions is lifted.
– The Washington Redskins announces they are retiring their nickname, which has long been considered derogatory by Native Americans.
– US Olympic sprinter Deajah Stevens gets 18-month ban for missing doping tests.
– Real Madrid win their 34th Spanish La Liga title over a 2-1 victory against Villarreal.
– German football player Andre Schurrle announces his retirement from the game. The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner last plays for German club Borussia Dortmund.
– Turkish football club Galatasaray’s veteran midfielder Selcuk Inan confirms his retirement.
– Medipol Basaksehir clinches their first-ever Turkish Super Lig title after second-place Trabzonspor lost to Konyaspor 4-3.
– One of the most prestigious awards for football player of the year, the Ballon d’Or, is not given out in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
– Turkish football club Fenerbahce is fined €2 million ($2.3 million) by UEFA for violating Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
– Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are crowned the 2020 French Cup winners, beating Saint-Etienne 1-0 in the final at Stade de France.
– England’s Leicester City’s English forward Jamie Vardy, 33, becomes the oldest top scorer in the English Premier League.
– The Turkish Football Federation announces that clubs are not relegated to a lower league for the 2019-20 season in the top-tier Turkish Super Lig.
– Trabzonspor beat Aytemiz Alanyaspor to win the 2020 Ziraat Turkish Cup.
– Legendary Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo returns to Juventus as the new manager of under-23 team.
– Istanbul club Fatih Karagumruk are promoted to Turkish Super Lig after defeating Adana Demirspor in Ankara
– AUGUST –
– French football team Lille acquire Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz.
– Arsenal win their 14th English FA Cup by beating Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.
– Italian forward Ciro Immobile is crowned the 2020 Golden Shoe winner. With 35 goals in 36 games, Immobile is the top scorer both in Italy’s Serie A and in Europe.
– Turkish Super Lig club Fenerbahce hire Erol Bulut as their new manager.
– Turkish football side Galatasaray sign their former midfielder Arda Turan.
– Turkey’s Medipol Basaksehir are eliminated in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 after they are beaten by Denmark’s Copenhagen 3-0
– The Turkish Basketball Federation confirms that Super League games would be tipped-off on Sept. 26.
– France cancels two Paris marathons due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
– Former Inter Milan midfielder Emre Belozoglu from Turkey announces his retirement from the game. Belozoglu last played for Fenerbahce.
– Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne is named the 2019-20 English Premier League’s Player of the Season.
– African qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are pushed back until next year due to the pandemic.
– Spanish football club Sevilla are crowned the 2020 UEFA Europa League champions over a 3-2 win against Italy’s Inter Milan.
– Germany’s Bayern Munich won against France’s Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to claim the 2020 UEFA Champions League title.
– NBA postpones three playoff games after the Milwaukee Bucks refuse to take to the court in protest of racial injustice and police brutality after the shooting of a black man in Wisconsin.
The decision to suspend the Game 5 basketball matches between the Bucks and Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder is made “in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor.
– The NBA playoff games resume following a series of commitments reached between players and the league after a strike that halted play.
– Arsenal win the 2020 English FA Community Shield after defeating Liverpool 5-4 on penalties.
– Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces his return to Italy’s AC Milan.
– SEPTEMBER –
– Turkish league matches are played without spectators in the first half of the 2020-21 season.
– Barcelona’s Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi decides to stay at the Spanish side for one more season.
– Dominic Thiem wins the 2020 US Open in the men’s singles, beating Alexander Zverev in the epic final in New York.
– Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the NBA 2019-20 season.
– Wales international Gareth Bale returns to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur on loan from Real Madrid.
– Tadej Pogacar clinches the Tour de France 2020 while the 107th edition of the competition ends.
– NBA icon Michael Jordan and stock car racing driver Denny Hamlin start a new NASCAR Cup Series team to compete for the 2021 season.
– Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer alongside Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne are shortlisted for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
– UEFA continues to allow teams to make up to five substitutions in club and international games for the remainder of this season.
– Spanish football club Atletico Madrid announce the signing of Luis Suarez from La Liga rival Barcelona.
– Former Chelsea and Galatasaray forward Didier Drogba is picked as the recipient of the 2020 UEFA President’s Award.
– OCTOBER –
– Bayern Munich are crowned the 2020 German Super Cup champions following their 3-2 win against rivals Borussia Dortmund.
– Turkish national basketball team player Cedi Osman is appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
– Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski wins the 2019-20 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
– The UEFA Executive Committee confirms to open the stadiums up to 30% capacity for its organizations after months-long restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic.
– English Premier League club Manchester United sign Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani on free transfer.
– Ugandan long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei breaks the men’s 10,000-meter world record at an event in Valencia, Spain. The 24-year-old achieves the milestone at the specially-organized NN Valencia World Record Day.
– Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek beats US’ Sofia Kenin to win women’s singles title in 2020 French Open (Roland Garros).
– The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) announced that clubs are allowed to use executive boxes at 50% capacity.
– Spain’s Rafael Nadal wins the men’s singles title at the 2020 French Open after beating Serbian star Novak Djokovic in final.
– The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 to win their first NBA Finals in 10 years and clinch their 17th title in franchise history.
– Argentine right-back Pablo Zabaleta announces his retirement from football at the age of 35.
– French football club Lille’s Turkish midfielder Yusuf Yazici becomes the UEFA Europa League player of the week over his hat-trick against Sparta Prague.
– Turkish swimmer Emre Sakci breaks a European record by finishing the men’s 50-meter breaststroke in 25.50 seconds at the International Swimming League in Budapest, Hungary.
– NOVEMBER –
– Arsenal defeat Manchester United 1-0 to seal first league win at Old Trafford since 2006.
– Legendary Turkish basketball player and coach Yalcin Granit passes away at the age of 88.
– French Ligue 1 side Lille’s Turkish midfielder Yusuf Yazici is named the UEFA Europa League player of the week for the second time after he scores his second hat-trick this season against AC Milan.
– Kenya’s Benard Cheruiyot Sang wins 42nd intercontinental Istanbul Marathon men’s title.
– Kenya’s Diana Chemtai Kipyogei seals 42nd intercontinental Istanbul Marathon women’s title.
– Turkish swimmer Emre Sakci sets another European record in Budapest, Hungary after finishing men’s 100-meter breaststroke race in the International Swimming League in 55.74 seconds.
– Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton from UK secures the 2020 Formula 1 World title in the Turkish Grand Prix with a first-place finish at the Intercity Istanbul Park.
– Former Barcelona and Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano, 36, retires from football.
– The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup is moved to February 2021 as pandemic forces FIFA to pick new dates for this tournament.
– American swimmer Caeleb Dressel sets two short-course world records in men’s 100-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle in International Swimming League.
– Kawasaki Frontale are crowned the 2020 Japanese champions in football.
– Regarded as one of football’s greatest players ever, Argentine legend Diego Armando Maradona dies of heart failure. Maradona was a beloved Napoli player as he won two Italian Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 as well as the 1989 UEFA Cup with this club. The 1986 FIFA World Cup winner was 60.
– A former Senegalese football player, Papa Bouba Diop, dies at the age of 42.
– DECEMBER –
– US Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson passes away at age of 86.
– The Washington Wizards acquire Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets in exchange for John Wall and a future lottery-protected first-round pick.
– French club Lille’s Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz is named the UEFA Europa League player of the week after he comes off the bench to score twice to secure a 2-1 comeback win for his team over Sparta Prague.
– Italy’s Naples municipality renames Napoli football club’s stadium as it is hereafter called “Diego Armando Maradona Stadium” over the Argentine football legend’s death.
– FIFA names Japan the host nation for the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, with an undisclosed date during late winter.
– US female tennis player Sofia Kenin is honored by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) with Player of the Year award.
– The Champions League game between PSG and Basaksehir match is paused after Basaksehir head to locker room for alleged racist remarks by 4th official to assistant manager Pierre Webo, the match is rescheduled for next day with a new team of match officials.
– Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski are named the Best FIFA Men’s Player award finalists
– Turkish gymnasts Ferhat Arican and Ibrahim Colak earned gold medals at European Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Turkey’s Mediterranean port city of Mersin.
– Former Fenerbahce manager Otto Baric dies of the novel coronavirus. The Croatian national, Baric was 88. He manages Fenerbahce during the 1997-98 season.
– Red Bull Racing’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen wins the last race of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the virus-hit 2020 season ends.
– Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier dies at the age of 73. The French national has an aortic surgery in a Paris hospital recently.
Houllier-led Liverpool win the 2001 UEFA Cup and the same year’s UEFA Super Cup.