Sport Vote: Hero of the Decade
Vote for your favourite sporting moments of the decade
Thursday 17 December 2009
The Noughties have been a momentous decade for sport, with contests that will live long in the memory, tears and triumph, heroes and villains.
An Independent panel has shortlisted their Heroes of the Decade - check out the list below and vote in our poll to let us know who your Hero of the Decade is...
Should there ever be a reunion for the three men who made the Gillette advert, Switzerland's finest sportsman will be the one looking smug. No scandals for him – just an almost unbelievably blissful family life with Mirka, Charlene Riva and Myla Rose; possibly the greatest Wimbledon final of all, against Rafael Nadal in 2008; and a Grand Slam record. Has even made cardigans sexy.
For many he is English cricket's successor to Ian Botham – from the way he partied to the manner in which he played. Two Ashes series showed the Boy's Own quality of the man. Commiserating with the beaten Brett Lee at Edgbaston in 2005 was followed by the brilliant run-out of Ricky Ponting four years later. No man since Sir Winston Churchill has entered Downing Street so full of alcohol and with such a large cigar.
Sir Alex Ferguson
When Manchester United's flight took off from Lisbon in December 2005, most journalists on the plane felt they would never travel with him again. Manchester United had finished last in their Champions League group, been overtaken by first Arsenal and then Chelsea in the Premier League and been taken over by the Glazer family. What followed was a resurrection of a club and a man. Six Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a European Cup, and Club World Cup – all since 2000.
It is easy to forget that, before his private life unravelled, Tiger Woods was seen as sport's ultimate role model, especially for black Americans. He revolutionised golf, and the dedication of his Open victory in 2006 to his late father displayed the human side of a man often hidden by a veneer of icy cool. The Masters will be more open without him, but poorer for it.
Dame Kelly Holmes
In the decade in which drugs made every result questionable, the army PT instructor from Kent revived the Olympic ideal. It was not just that she won both the 800m (which she decided to compete in five days before the first heat) and the 1500m. She had won double gold at 34, and had done so after a year in despair at a knee injury that refused to heal.
There are few boxers, let alone sportsmen, whose interests extend beyond themselves. But Pacquiao, arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer of the decade, has devoted much of his time to politics and in improving the lives of those he grew up with in the Philippines. The first man ever to win seven titles at seven weights, his three contests with Erik Morales had the stuff of Muhammad Ali's epic bouts.
He began the decade winning his third World Championship and ended it contemplating a comeback with Mercedes, proving his observation on his retirement that, "for me, there is no life beyond Formula One". He was accused of dominating his sport to the extent that it became boring but they said the same of Bradman and Borg. His final race, in 2006, overcoming a puncture and driving from 19th to fourth typified the man.
The mythical Venus sprang fully and beautifully formed from the sea spray off Cyprus. Venus hailed from Florida but like her sister, Serena, she arrived as a teenager pretty much a fully-formed professional. Serena was the more consistent performer but Venus' journey that encompassed eight Wimbledon finals and battles against anaemia and tendinitis the more epic. Her victory in the 2000 Championships, in which she overcame Martina Hingis, Serena and finally Lindsay Davenport was her finest display. Coming back to win in 2007 from a position of 23rd seed and then to retain her title the following year was the most romantic.
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