Sport in 2020 was a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. Competitions started, stalled and then restarted as COVID-19 took its toll.
We saw professional matches without the crowds, grand finals moved interstate, teams in lockdown bubbles and events cancelled or postponed. What didn’t change was the passion and commitment of those behind the scenes, and the stories of triumph and tragedy.
Read on for a look back at a sporting year like no other. Can you pick our top story?
Ack Weyman only missed two games of his son, Michael’s, rugby league career in Australia.
This was a fair effort considering Mick Weyman was a teenage prodigy who captained the Australian Schoolboys team before playing 141 NRL games for the Raiders and Dragons. He also played in four State of Origin games and one Test for Australia.
Ack was there for every step of his son’s rugby league career so it’s fitting he’ll also be honoured with a statue alongside Michael in Moruya.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an athlete with more of a positive outlook and balanced perspective than Canberra middle-distance runner Emily Brichacek.
She has faced injury and a disappointing setback because of COVID-19 and the postponed 2020 Olympic Games, but she is looking on the bright side as she awaits her next opportunity to make it to the Olympics.
Canberra’s Catherine Dooley reached an astounding milestone in 2020, notching up 800 games for Central Hockey Club – at the age of 67.
In the process, she may have set a new record for Australian hockey.
The aunt of Hockeyroos co-captain Emily Chalker celebrated her 800th game for the club on Sunday, 27 September. And that figure only includes field hockey games – Catherine has played close to double that number when including indoor hockey.
She started playing the sport at the age of seven for the under-8s team in the NSW town of Crookwell.
Don Furner Sr, one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Canberra Raiders, died in 2020 at age 87 after a long illness.
As a coach, Furner steered the Canberra Raiders through the start of its golden era, from 1982 to 1987. He was head coach until the end of 1986 and took the team to a grand final in 1987 with co-coach Wayne Bennett.
Tim Gavel recalls the major sporting events Canberra used to host, from Supercars racing around Parliament House to the beloved Birdman Rally at Lake Burley Griffin. Are there any he missed?
In the wake of Matt Giteau’s return to play in the John I Dent Cup for the Gungahlin Eagles, we took a look at the great comebacks to grassroots sport in Canberra.
One was Michael Matthews, who returned to Canberra in October 2017 for a short break three months after winning the green sprinter’s jersey at the Tour de France. He went on a bunch ride rather than enjoy a Civic reception.
Amid the shutdown of sport during the COVID-19 pandemic, many community-based sporting clubs are in survival mode, just hoping to emerge in a position to continue.
Without the support of sponsors and registrations, a number of clubs across a range of sports in Canberra have expressed concern about their ongoing viability.
However, with Australian Rules football in the Tuggeranong Valley, the opposite appears to be happening. There, four clubs amalgamated to form Tuggeranong Valley Australian Football Club.
Forty years ago, the VFL drafted three representative teams to play interstate opponents. The Victorian team won by 21 points against WA, and the VFL side beat Queensland by 80 points. But it was a different story at Manuka Oval.
The ACT team, featuring a mix of players who plied their trade in the local competition and former Canberra players recruited by VFL teams, beat the might of the VFL.
Such is her long list of sporting accomplishments, Heather McKay concedes she had to go to a website the other day to remind herself of her achievements in tennis.
The website heralds her considerable feats in four sports: squash, tennis, racquetball and hockey. But tennis is her passion these days, playing socially four times a week with the social aspect just as appealing as the competition.
The Queanbeyan resident could easily lay claim to being Australia’s greatest ever sportswoman – and she’s still going strong at the age of 79.
Standing atop the podium at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics for the sixth time in the space of a week, 17-year-old Canberra student Siobhan Paton was beaming.
Siobhan was the queen of the Paralympic pool, winning a then-record six gold medals in events ranging from the 50m freestyle to the 200m individual medley, and breaking nine world records along the way.
Surely this was the start of an incredible ride.
Then it came to an end.