The year which has just ended was prosperous in terms of sporting events like all even years, with the organization of the Winter Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, not to mention all the annual world events. It is therefore difficult for a high-level athlete to find a place in the sun and to be elected athlete of the year. Here Beirut looks back on the various rankings made by the sports media.
Each year, the editorial staff of the Eurosport France site unveils its two rankings of the best world and French athletes of the last twelve months.
At the top of the 2022 World Ranking is Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, author of an exceptional season with two outdoor and indoor world champion titles and a European indoor champion title. Added to this are three world records (6.19 m then 6.20 m indoors and 6.21 m outdoors). Duplantis is ahead of a giant of the round ball, Lionel Messi who, at the end of his career, won the most beautiful of trophies, the Football World Cup, and a hope of women’s tennis, the Polish Iga Swiatek, who flew over the discipline in proportions never seen since Serena Williams in 2015. Tied in third position, Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel, winner of a Monument (Liège-Bastogne-Liège), a Grand Tour (Vuelta) and the world championship, all at 22.
Next are skier Marco Odermatt, Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen, tennis player Rafael Nadal, Romanian swimmer David Popovici and Norwegian biathletes Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Johannes Boe. Note here the absence of Quentin Fillon Maillet, author of a better season than Boe.
In the France ranking, it is the biathlete Quentin Fillon Maillet who climbs to the top step of the podium thanks to his five Olympic medals (2 in gold and 3 in silver), a first in France since 1924, and the big Globe of crystal. His presence at the top of the ranking shows the interest that the French have for biathlon. Proof of this is the record number of spectators during the events organized in Le Grand-Bornand – more than 63,000 over the four days of competition – and the record audiences on the television channels broadcasting the events. Fillon Maillet is ahead of two footballers, Karim Benzema, winner of the Ballon d’Or, and Kylian Mbappé, Golden Boot at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Just that!
The France prize list shows the great richness of French sport since nine disciplines are represented there: in addition to biathlon and football, figure skating with Gabrielle Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, swimming with Léon Marchand, tennis with Nicole Garcia, athletics with decathlete Kevin Mayer, fencing with Romain Canonne, cycling with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and finally skiing with Clément Noël. Only Olympic and world champions!
Missing, the rugby player Antoine Dupont, yet a major player in the Grand Slam of the Blues at the 6 Nations Tournament and in the exceptional year of the XV of France, which, for the very first time in its history, did not lost a single match in a calendar year (10 wins in a row including nine wins against the World Top 10 teams).
The newspaper The Team awards four Champion of Champions trophies each year, two for the world and two for France. Since 2012, the trophy is no longer mixed and distinguishes a winner and a winner, which makes it possible to reward twice as many athletes.
It is Lionel Messi who is named Champion of World Champions, followed by Kylian Mbappé, Rafael Nadal, Remco Evenepoel, Max Verstappen, Karim Benzema, Armand Duplantis, Stephan Curry, Antoine Dupont, and David Popovici. Among the women, we find Iga Swiatek, crowned Champion of World Champions, followed by the Dutch cyclist Annemiek Van Vleuten and the American athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser.
It is Mbappé who monopolizes the first place in the French ranking for men, while Caroline Garcia climbs to the top step for women.
In England, the BBC voted Beth Mead, the 27-year-old 3 Lions and Arsenal striker, Sports Personality of the Year 2022. Mead was the best footballer and top scorer at Euro 2022, where the Lionesses beat Germany in the final to claim England’s first major women’s football trophy. England cricket captain Ben Stokes was second and Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead third. A ranking that demonstrates the weakness of British sport in the major disciplines.
Sports Illustrated, the leading sports magazine in the United States, named basketball player Stephen Curry, Warriors point guard, sportsman of the year 2022, after winning his fourth championship with Golden State in eight years. American sprinter Allyson Felix won the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award 2022 after finishing her career at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Off the track, Allyson Felix has been an advocate for athlete mothers. She notably pushed Nike to announce a new maternity policy which provides 18 months of salary for athletes sponsored by the brand and who have children.
As part of the 2022 World Athletics Awards, the global body that governs athletics, world champions and record holders Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (400m hurdles) and Armand Duplantis (pole vault) have been named World Athletes of the Year. McLaughlin-Levrone and Duplantis – already winners of the Rising Stars awards just four years ago – have broken world records in their respective disciplines more than once this year and shone at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.
In tennis, the English site Eurosport awarded the trophy for best tennis player to Carlos Alcaraz; the young Spanish prodigy had an impressive season, winning two Masters and the US Open, becoming the youngest number 1 in history. No surprises on the women’s side, it was the Polish Iga Swiatek who was selected; she is clearly the best player in the world today, having won the most titles (eight), winning two Grand Slam tournaments, and having established herself at the top of the world rankings.
In football, the results fell in the last quarter. The France Football Ballon d’Or named Karim Benzema the best footballer in the world, followed by Senegalese Sadio Mané and Belgian Kevin De Bruyne. UEFA selected the same players by placing Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in place of Sadio Mané. In Qatar, after the World Cup, the ranking was as follows: Messi, Mpabbé, Mordić. To know the winners of the Best Fifa Football Awards 2022, it will be necessary to wait until February 27, 2023.
The year 2023 will be less thrilling like all odd years, but with three world championships, men’s handball in January, men’s basketball and athletics in August, and men’s rugby in September.