Sport Vote: Tear-Jerker of the Decade

Vote for your favourite sporting moments of the decade
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The Independent Online

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 Tear-Jerkers of the Decade - check out the list below and vote in our poll to let us know what your Tear-Jerker of the Decade is...

Tom Watson misses out

Everything but the final putt was Hollywood, which would have had Clint Eastwood playing the hero. Watson last won a major in 1983, when Stewart Cink, the man who would beat him in the play-off, was 10. At Turnberry in 2009, at the age of 59, he led at the start of the final day and required only to two-putt the final hole to win. He took three and disintegrated in the play-off. "It would have been a hell of a story," he said.

Lewis Hamilton secures victory

He had just won the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai and was still wearing his helmet when he was embraced jointly by his mother, Carmen, who had hitherto shunned publicity, and his stepmother, Linda. The photograph demonstrated how sport can help unite families, as well as nations.

Sir Bobby Robson meets the boys one last time

Everyone at St James' Park, a ground he adored, knew Robson's time was nearly up when a man who united football with his decency was led out this summer to greet the teams who would replay the 1990 World Cup semi-final between England and West Germany. The match and the penalty shoot-out that followed were something, he said, he thought about every other day of his life.

Paula Radcliffe collapses

The sight of a great athlete bewildered and broken on the side of a sweltering Athens pavement was the flipside of Kelly Holmes' Olympic triumph. In 2004, Radcliffe's marathon victory seemed assured but a combination of heat, illness and some relentless gradients left her sobbing by the roadside.

George Best dies, Manchester remembers

Rarely has there been such emotion at Old Trafford at a routine League Cup tie in November 2005 that coincided with the passing of the greatest player ever to have graced its turf. Sir Alex Ferguson talked of "a million memories, all of them good" – a sentiment those who were closest to Best might dispute – but the candles and photographs held aloft from the Stretford End told their own story.

Seve Ballesteros's cancer

The brain tumour that felled Spain's greatest golfer at Madrid Airport last year made the sport realise what a genius it had lost. His attempts to rediscover his form in 2005 were painful to watch for those who had seen him set the European Tour ablaze in 1979 and 1980. He could no longer even attempt the wonderful recovery shots that seemingly rescued every wayward drive. His recovery from cancer, however, demonstrated that his will and his lust for life remained unbroken.

Geordies' relegation

Nobody does tears like Newcastle fans, and a season in which the club was relegated (aptly) by an own goal in May, contained a bucketful. They were managed by not one but two messianic figures in Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, who were forced to work for Mike Ashley, a cartoon-like chairman who seemed to understand little about football. Shearer's grim-faced admission that the club "was simply not good enough to survive" capped a downfall triggered by the decision to fire Sir Bobby Robson for the crime of finishing fifth.

Michael Vaughan resigns

The moment when the Yorkshireman stumbles in tears as he mentions his father telling him he can "walk away a proud lad" from the England captaincy is desperately moving. In retrospect it seems even more so. Since leading the side to the Ashes in 2005, Vaughan had been plagued by injury and loss of form and his statement that he had "many years and many runs left in me" was, sadly, wide of the mark.