Gold Coast teen wants to play Fortnite professionally and he’s just been crowned an Olympic champion

The explosion in popularity of esports is forcing parents and teachers to rethink their resistance to video games and welcome them into the classroom.

For decades gaming was a source of frustration for parents, viewed as an unwelcome distraction for teenagers who spend too much time glued to a screen.

The esports juggernaut has burst into popular culture and gained mainstream acceptance.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts esports’ viewership will overtake the NFL and analysis from Deloitte found “fabled riches” await investors and advertisers that tap into its young, affluent audience.

Online gaming is so ubiquitous that teachers have given up trying to fight it and are now actively encouraging esports through school-based competition.

Student gamers from 25 schools competed at the Fuse Cup national championships on the Gold Coast.(Supplied: Fuse Cup)

Many Australian schools include esports as a co-curricular activity where students practice, tryout for the team and travel to live, in-person competitions.

About 50,000 students from more than 300 schools took part in the Fuse Cup, an international esports competition for children.

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Zika Virus Infection Fast Facts | CNN


Here’s a look at Zika virus, an illness spread through mosquito bites that can cause birth defects and other neurological defects.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and CNN

Zika virus is a flavivirus, part of the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue fever.

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. It becomes infected from biting an infected human and then transmits the virus to another person. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is an aggressive species, active day and night and usually bites when it is light out. The virus can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus, through sexual contact, blood transfusion or by needle.

The FDA approved the first human trial of a Zika vaccine in June 2016. As of May 2022, there is still no available vaccine or medication.

Cases including confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Zika in US states and territories updated by the CDC.

Most people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms. If there are symptoms, they will last for a few days to a week.

Fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes) are the most common symptoms. Some patients may also experience muscle pain or headaches.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. Microcephaly can cause severe developmental issues and sometimes death. A Zika infection may cause other birth defects, including eye problems, hearing loss and impaired growth. Miscarriage can also occur.

An August 2018 report published by the CDC estimates that nearly one in seven babies born to women infected with the Zika virus while pregnant had one or more health problems possibly caused by the virus, including microcephaly.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that previous infection will affect future pregnancies.

(Sources: WHO, CDC and CNN)

1947 – The Zika virus is first discovered in a monkey by scientists studying yellow fever in Uganda’s Zika forest.

1948 – The virus is isolated from Aedes africanus mosquito samples in the Zika forest.

1964 – First active case of Zika virus found in humans. While researchers had found antibodies in the blood of people in both Uganda and in Tanzania as far back as 1952, this is the first known case of the active virus in humans. The infected man developed a pinkish rash over most of his body but reported the illness as “mild,” with none of the pain associated with dengue and chikungunya.

1960s-1980s – A small number of countries in West Africa and Asia find Zika in mosquitoes, and isolated, rare cases are reported in humans.

April-July 2007 – The first major outbreak in humans occurs on Yap Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Of the suspected 185 cases reported, 49 are confirmed, and 59 are considered probable. There are an additional 77 suspected cases. No deaths are reported.

2008 – Two American researchers studying in Senegal become ill with the Zika virus after returning to the United States. Subsequently, one of the researchers transmits the virus to his wife.

2013-2014 – A large outbreak of Zika occurs in French Polynesia, with about 32,000 suspected cases. There are also outbreaks in the Pacific Islands during this time. An uptick in cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome during the same period suggests a possible link between the Zika virus and the rare neurological syndrome. However, it was not proven because the islands were also experiencing an outbreak of dengue fever at the time.

March 2015 – Brazil alerts the WHO to an illness with skin rash that is present in the northeastern region of the country. From February 2015 to April 29, 2015, nearly 7,000 cases of illness with a skin rash are reported. Later in the month, Brazil provides additional information to WHO on the illnesses.

April 29, 2015 – A state laboratory in Brazil informs the WHO that preliminary samples have tested positive for the Zika virus.

May 7, 2015 – The outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil prompts the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to issue an epidemiological alert.

October 30, 2015 – Brazil reports an increase in the cases of microcephaly, babies born with abnormally small heads: 54 cases between August and October 30.

November 11, 2015 – Brazil declares a national public health emergency as the number of newborns with microcephaly continues to rise.

November 27, 2015 – Brazil reports it is examining 739 cases of microcephaly.

November 28, 2015 – Brazil reports three deaths from Zika infection: two adults and one newborn.

January 15 and 22, 2016 – The CDC advises all pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant to postpone travel or consult their physicians prior to traveling to any of the countries where Zika is active.

February 2016 – The CDC reports Zika virus in brain tissue samples from two Brazilian babies who died within a day of birth, as well as in fetal tissue from two miscarriages providing the first proof of a potential connection between Zika and the rising number of birth defects, stillbirths and miscarriages in mothers infected with the virus.

February 1, 2016 – The WHO declares Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to the increase of neurological disorders, such as microcephaly, in areas of French Polynesia and Brazil.

February 8, 2016 – The CDC elevates its Emergency Operations Center for Zika to Level 1, the highest level of response at the CDC.

February 26, 2016 – Amid indications that the mosquito-borne Zika virus is causing microcephaly in newborns, the CDC advises pregnant women to “consider not going” to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The CDC later strengthens the advisory, telling pregnant women, “Do not go to the Olympics.”

March 4, 2016 – The US Olympic Committee announces the formation of an infectious disease advisory group to help the USOC establish “best practices regarding the mitigation, assessment and management of infectious disease, paying particular attention to how issues may affect athletes and staff participating in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

April 13, 2016 – During a press briefing, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said, “It is now clear the CDC has concluded that Zika does cause microcephaly. This confirmation is based on a thorough review of the best scientific evidence conducted by CDC and other experts in maternal and fetal health and mosquito-borne diseases.”

May 27, 2016 – More than 100 prominent doctors and scientists sign an open letter to WHO Director General Margaret Chan, calling for the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be postponed or moved “in the name of public health” due to the widening Zika outbreak in Brazil.

July 8, 2016 – Health officials in Utah report the first Zika-related death in the continental United States.

August 1, 2016 – Pregnant women and their partners are advised by the CDC not to visit the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood as four cases of the disease have been reported in the small community and local mosquitoes are believed to be spreading the infection.

September 19, 2016 – The CDC announces that it has successfully reduced the population of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in Wynwood and lifts its advisory against travel to the community.

November 18, 2016 – The WHO declares that the Zika virus outbreak is no longer a public health emergency, shifting the focus to long-term plans to research the disease and birth defects linked to the virus.

November 28, 2016 – Health officials announce Texas has become the second state in the continental United States to confirm a locally transmitted case of Zika virus.

September 29, 2017 – The CDC deactivates its emergency response for Zika virus, which was activated in January 2016.

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At the northern tip of Australia, the search is on for the next First Nations Olympics champion

Waibene is the place from where Australia’s first Indigenous Olympic or Paralympic swimming champion could emerge.

English speakers call it Thursday Island. Swimming Australia hopes a pilot program being trialled there will deliver a First Nations champion at the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Deadly Little Dolphins” is a program that is about much more than talent identification in the Torres Strait Islands – it is about harnessing children’s love of the water to improve educational outcomes; it is about water safety, with First Nations children over-represented in national drowning statistics; and it is about building bridges between cultures.

Quandamooka man Cameron Costello is a member of the Brisbane 2032 Legacy Committee. He told The Ticket there is an opportunity for reciprocal benefit.

“It’s a connector between two cultures, it is a shared learning,” he said.

“What we hope is that through the engagement and learning about getting into squads there is also the balance of sharing in culture, connecting with country, culture and people for non-indigenous people who are involved in this program.

“That’s the beauty of this program, it provides that pathway for reciprocal shared learnings.

“We are in an amazing space at the moment in terms of Australia and our journey to reconciliation with First Nations people … we see this as a great avenue for that as well.

“It provides such a positive, exciting, generous process for aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Torres Strait Islander people to come together.”

The Swimming Australia initiative is First Nations led and co-designed. The hope is corporate Australia will see the benefits and contribute to a national rollout.

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Swimming Australia wants ‘envy of the world’ aquatics centre built for Brisbane Olympics, not drop-in pool

A new home of Australian swimming needs to be built in Brisbane ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the peak body for the sport says.

The current plan for the swimming event at the Games involves a drop-in pool at the planned Brisbane Live entertainment arena to be built at Roma Street with $2.5 billion in funding from the federal government.

But Swimming Australia chief executive Eugenie Buckley said while the drop-in pool would be “wonderful for fans” during the Games, it would not leave behind a legacy for swimming — a sport that has delivered almost 50 per cent of Australia’s medals.

“If we look back at Sydney 2000, when they got the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, who are actually hosting the New South Wales State Opens this weekend, so it’s still a legacy asset and used,” she said.

“I think it would be beneficial to have a physical legacy because it’s something where in the lead-up and post, you can have your general community from learn-to-swim to masters all being able to swim in that Olympic [and] Paralympic pool and being inspired by performances of the Dolphins (the Australian swim team).”

Eugenie Buckley says Swimming Australia is approaching universities and businesses about building a national headquarters. (ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

Swimming Australia did not suggest a location for the national site or the cost of building it.

Ms Buckley said Swimming Australia would seek public and stakeholder feedback on the ideas for the location and design of the aquatic centre and go to market with the plan.

“We’re currently having conversations with universities, private developers, government, of course in relation to what this national home of swimming would look like,” she said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles told ABC Radio Brisbane the city did not need a permanent swimming venue with 15,000 seats, but needed a live music venue.

“Our plan does involve a major upgrade of the Brisbane Aquatic Centre at Chandler and we’d love if Swimming Australia wanted to make that the home of swimming for all of Australia,” he said.

Ms Buckley said Swimming Australia would love to have a national aquatic centre with technology and innovation that Australia is proud of.

Ms Buckley told ABC Radio Brisbane “nothing is off the table” for the new home of swimming and flagged there were existing possible locations like the Chandler centre and Gold Cost Aquatic Centre upgraded for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“In an ideal world, in our dream, we would love to have a national aquatic centre that is the envy of the world that actually attracts tourists to come to Queensland, to Brisbane, to have a look at the home of swimming,” she said.

“We’re working on our own swimming headquarters, we’re looking at an integration between our high-performance centre of excellence, our corporate headquarters, as well as full integration with our community.

“We’d like to go to market, we’re currently having conversations with universities, private developers, government, of course in relation to what this national home of swimming could look like.”

Games legacy strategy being developed

The state and federal government last month struck a $7 billion funding agreement last month to overhaul Brisbane’s sporting and event venues ahead of the Games.

The agreement would see the federal government fund $2.5 billion towards building the 18,000-seat Brisbane Live entertainment arena and the state rebuild the Gabba for $2.7 billion.

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A digital depiction of what the Gabba could look like by 2032.

At the time of the announcement, federal member for the inner-city seat of Griffith, Max Chandler-Mather, said it was a “disgraceful” misuse of government money.

Organisers have pitched the sporting spectacle as a more sustainable and cost-effective event, with the International Olympic Committee scrapping its costly old rules requiring sports to have their own purpose-built facilities for the Games.

James Cook University adjunct professor and regional economist Colin Dwyer said he understood the need for better swimming facilities but noted the cost of the Games had already blown out.

He said the Gabba would cost about $54,000 per seat, while the Brisbane Live arena would cost $147,058 per seat.

“We need to know how much extra it’s going to cost for swimming facilities and where the money is going to come from,” he said.

“We also have to think about the impact on regions, and distant regions that aren’t going to get the same benefit as the south-east corner.”

Swimming Australia’s call for legacy infrastructure comes as the peak body today launches consultation with stakeholders and the public, to develop a BNE32 Legacy Impact Strategy.

“A physical legacy will be a really hot topic as we go out to consultation with our community, but as it stands now, it’s certainly not our preference to have a drop-in pool,” Ms Buckley said.

The legacy committee formed by Swimming Australia to design a strategy will be chaired by Olympian Grant Hackett.

Brisbane Live exterior daytime graphic with arena in the middle and fans walking nearby
The federal government is funding the Brisbane Live project.(Supplied: Queensland government)

Swimming is already the nation’s largest participation sport, with 5.3 million organised swimmers.

Sleeman Sports Complex in the Brisbane suburb of Chandler was purpose-built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games, and its indoor Brisbane Aquatic Centre is slated for an upgrade as part of the state government’s 2032 master plan for the Games.

The Brisbane Aquatic Centre will host Olympic artistic swimming, diving and water polo, and the Paralympic Aquatics with 4,300 spectator seats.

A Queensland government spokesperson said the government was “happy to discuss the possible location of a new home for Australian swimming in Queensland” but Brisbane Arena will host “Olympic and Paralympic swimming and water polo finals”.

The Commonwealth government has been contacted for comment.

‘A pod of First Nations Dolphins’

Quandamooka traditional owner Cameron Costello, who is on the Brisbane 2032 Legacy Committee and the Swimming Australia committee, said the Games present an opportunity to make sure there is more representation of First Nations swimmers.

Head shot of Cameron Costello
Quandamooka man Cameron Costello wants the Games to lead to more First Nations people participating in swimming.(ABC News: Curtis Rodda)

He said the infrastructure should integrate First Nations design principles that share the stories of Indigenous people.

“It’s not just the sport, it’s the events, the jobs, the volunteers, we want to ensure our First Nations people are engaged with that, and more broadly with regional and remote communities,” he said.

“We want a pod of First Nations Dolphins.”

Ellie Cole smiles while wearing a green sleeveless jacket
Ellie Cole would like to see a more accessible stadium.(ABC News: West Mattheeussen)

Paralympian Ellie Cole, who is on the Swimming Australia legacy committee, said she is looking forward to seeing inclusive strategies being developed for the 2032 Games.

“I would like to see an increase in the number of Para Athletes making themselves eligible for 2032,” she said.

“I would like to see an increase in that Para pathway funding and more opportunities for athletes to be classified.

“It would be nice to see a permanent structure that has consideration around universal design, an accessible design, so that everyone in our community is able to use it and able to use it for years to come.”

Stubblety-Cook standing on the Olympic podium, arms raised.
Brisbane Olympic swimmer Zac Stubblety-Cook won gold in Tokyo.(Supplied: Delly Carr)

Australian swimmer Zac Stubblety-Cook, who won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 200m breaststroke, said a home Games was all about creating legacy.

“It’s a real opportunity to put ourselves on the map as the best swimming nation in the world, I think it would take a lot to get there, but I think it would really take the sport to the next level in terms of the decades afterwards,” he said.

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Michael Klim talks about his swim challenge, the 2000 Olympics and his life with CIDP

Olympian Michael Klim says the support and friendship of the swimming community — including former American arch-rival Gary Hall Jr — has helped him deal with his ongoing health issues from a chronic neural condition.

Dual Olympic gold medallist Klim was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) in 2020.

The condition resulted in ongoing chronic pain, fatigue and difficulty of movement.

Klim was speaking to ABC Sport as he prepared for the Brainwave Klim Swim Challenge in March to raise awareness of, and funds to fight, CIDP and other neural conditions, with children’s charity Brainwave Australia the chief beneficiary.

He also talked about the importance swimming has had in his life and the bond he has with his fellow team members — and rivals — from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

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From the worst food at an athletes’ village to winning gold, Susie O’Neill shares her Olympic memories

Swimming great Susie O’Neill was 20 when Sydney won its bid to host the 2000 Olympics.

It was 1993 and she had already represented Australia at the Barcelona Olympics the year before.

“I was at a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, I remember we all got up really early to hear the announcement,” O’Neill says.

“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to be so old, I’ll be 27’.”

An artist’s impression of the opening ceremony at the Gabba for the 2032 Olympics.(Supplied: Queensland government)

For any young athletes with dreams of making it to the Brisbane Olympics in 2032, O’Neill has this advice.

“It’s a long time, so you have to break it down to the smallest goals,” she says.

“When I was an athlete, I broke it down to each training session and if you give 100 per cent at each session, it will add up.”

two female athletes holding their olympic medals
O’Neill and fellow Olympic swimmer Sam Riley (left) both won bronze at their first Games in Barcelona.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

When O’Neill began her international swimming career there were limited opportunities to make money.

“I was an amateur athlete, you couldn’t keep swimming into your 30s, even 27 was a bit of stretch,” O’Neill says.

However, when Sydney was announced at the host city, money started pouring into the sport.

“All these corporate opportunities opened up, and I was able to keep swimming and make it to Sydney,” O’Neill says.

“It meant that I could just focus on swimming rather than have to work as well.”

close up head shot of Susie O'Neill with her parents
O’Neill, pictured with her parents John and Trish, was born in Mackay in north Queensland.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

Susie O’Neil may have earned the nickname Madame Butterfly but she actually started out swimming backstroke.

“Everyone always asks how swimmers choose their events and it’s just down to whatever will give you the best chance of winning,” O’Neill says.

“We all start out wanting to be sprinters … 50 or 100m but if you can’t do that, you gradually try to find another event.”

At 14, O’Neill came second in the 100m butterfly at the Australian trials for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games team.

She narrowly missed out on selection but it was clear butterfly was going to be her focus.

A group female Australian Olympians in 1992 team uniform
O’Neill has worn three different Australian Olympic team uniforms. Here is what they looked like in 1992.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

O’Neill competed at three Olympics but the games in Barcelona stand out for a few reasons.

She won her first medal, a bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The food at the athlete’s village was also memorable.

“It was the first time I saw Magnums [ice-cream], there were big buckets full of them, we didn’t have them in Australia yet,” O’Neill says.

“These days the Olympic villages all look similar and that’s often to keep costs down,” she says.

Barcelona had a different feeling.

“Our rooms had big bay windows looking out over the water,” she says.

O’Neill says the worst food was in Atlanta in 1996, which for the first time, offered athletes unlimited McDonalds.

“They don’t do it now but back then, once your event was over there was an endless supply of cheeseburgers,” she says.

O’Neill also remembers security being very relaxed in Barcelona.

“The wife of our head coach, who was quite a bit older than me, was able to use my lanyard to get into the pool.”

‘I was a very nervous competitor’

groups of Australian olympians in a grandstand
O’Neill with her teammates at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

Like many athletes, O’Neill had a specific pre-race routine to help keep calm and reduce nerves.

“[It was] a certain warm-up, getting changed at a particular time and walking to the pool and splashing water in my mouth,” she says.

“I started out listening to music before a race but stopped because when I am nervous, noise irritates me and I like to hear what’s going on around me,” O’Neill says.

“I was a very nervous competitor.

“You’d think it would have gotten better as I got older, but it actually got worse.”

Three swimmers with their medals after a race.
O’Neill, Petria Thomas and Michelle Smith after the 200m butterfly in Atlanta.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, O’Neill won her first gold medal, in the 200m butterfly, making her the first Australian female swimmer to win gold since 1980.

O’Neill also defeated Irish swimmer Michelle Smith, whose sudden surge of success had caused suspicion.

“Before the race everyone was saying she was on drugs, even in the marshalling area before I went out people were urging me on to beat her,” O’Neill says.

Fellow Australian Petria Thomas came in second, Michelle Smith third.

“Michelle got banned from swimming [for four years] after Atlanta, not for having drugs in her system but for having enough whisky in her sample to be dead … she had tampered with her sample.”

The back of two fans wearing t-shirts in support of Susie O'Neill.
Two Susie O’Neill fans at the 2000 Olympics.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

Heading into the 2000 Sydney Olympics, O’Neill held the world record for the 200m butterfly and was the favourite to win in front of the home crowd.

“Everyone likes to be noticed and I’m no different but the lead-up to Sydney was intense.”

O’Neill did win gold in Sydney but not for the 200m butterfly.

In that race, she came second.

Susie O'Neill with teammates at Sydney 2000
O’Neill, pictured with Sydney 2000 teammates, says nothing compares to the atmosphere of a home Olympics.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

“When people used to talk about the Sydney Olympics, I had a funny feeling and would kind of shut it down,” she says.

O’Neill watched the race for the first time only a few years ago, during her live breakfast radio show.

“I thought I would feel nothing but then all this stuff just started pouring out,” she says.

The experience was completely unexpected but had a profound impact.

“For a long time I thought of that race as a failure but I absolutely do not think that now.”

O’Neill’s gold medal came in the 200m freestyle. She also won two silver medals in relay events.

After Sydney she was ready to leave the sport.

“I was really over it … physically I could have kept going but it’s a very limiting lifestyle,” O’Neill says.

O’Neill hasn’t swum more than a lap of butterfly since the Sydney Games but still loves swimming and trains several times a week.

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Doping scandal surrounding Peter Bol gives him ‘no chance’ of running well at Paris Olympics, coach says

Lawyers and coaches of Olympian Peter Bol fear the fight to clear his name has all but ruled out his chances of competing well at the Paris Games next year.

The 800m runner, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Games, could be exonerated from allegedly taking the banned substance EPO as early as March — that is if his B sample, to be analysed next month, comes back negative.

At least that is the hope of his US-based lawyer, Paul Greene.

“If the B sample does not confirm the A sample, then the case will be over,” he said.

“And that is why I asked them (the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, or ASADA) to not announce this publicly at this point.”

But news of the failed out-of-competition drug test, taken last October, was made public on January 20.

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The year in sport: A fond farewell for some, a glimpse of the future for others | CNN


An athlete, former jockey AP McCoy said earlier this year, is the only person who dies twice, such is the pain of walking away from the intoxicating, all-consuming nature of professional sport.

McCoy retired from his long, decorated racing career in 2015, and since then has had to learn, in his own words, how to “start again and have another life.”

Based on the past 12 months, there are some notable sports stars who might have been listening extra closely to McCoy’s experience of retirement – or indeed to anyone else who has spoken candidly about the difficulty of ending a successful sporting career.

Among them is Roger Federer, who called time on his trophy-laden tennis career at the Laver Cup in September after years spent trying to recover from two knee surgeries.

In the letter announcing his retirement, Federer, like McCoy, alluded to the heightened emotions of being a professional athlete and how they make saying goodbye so hard.

“I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive,” Federer wrote. “To the game of tennis,” he signed off the letter, “I love you and will never leave you.”

Those final words were reassuring for fans who have admired Federer’s career for so many years, but also spoke to another issue: namely, of how hard it can be to walk away entirely from professional sport after retirement.

It remains to be seen exactly how Federer will remain involved in tennis moving forward, and the same can be said of Serena Williams, who announced she would “evolve away from tennis” ahead of this year’s US Open – but refused to say she was retiring.

On several occasions over the past three months, the 23-time grand slam champion has even teased fans about a potential return to tennis.

At the 2022 US Open, Serena Williams lost to Australian Ajla Tomlijanovic in the third round.

While Federer and Williams have stepped away from their careers as two of the greatest athletes of all time, other sports stars can’t seem to decide when, or how, to walk away.

Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury has yo-yoed in and out of retirement this year, saying in October that he’s finding it “really hard to let this thing go.”

And earlier this year, Tom Brady announced he would be retiring from the NFL, leaving the sport as a seven-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. the 45-year-old then reversed that decision and is still breaking records with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his 23rd season in the NFL.

However in September, Brady and Gisele Bündchen announced they were to divorce after 13 years of marriage.

“I think there is a lot of professionals in life that go through things that they deal with at work and they deal with at home,” the Bucs quarterback said on his weekly podcast a few days the couple’s divorce announcement.

“Obviously, the good news is it’s a very amicable situation, and I’m really focused on two things: taking care of my family, and certainly my children, and secondly doing the best job I can to win football games. That’s what professionals do.”

Tom Brady flip-flopped on retiring.

Brady has redefined what most believed to be the average shelf-life of an athlete, and he’s not the only person refusing to let the light dim on his career.

LeBron James is about to turn 38 but is still setting records in the NBA – in February passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most combined regular season and postseason points in NBA history.

Federer’s rivals Rafael Nadal, 36, and Novak Djokovic, 35, meanwhile, have added to their grand slam tallies this year – the Mallorcan at the Australian Open and French Open, where he became the oldest men’s singles champion, and the Serbian at Wimbledon. Djokovic’s Wimbledon triumph moved him to within one grand slam title of Nadal’s men’s record of 22.

Having been deported from Australia over his vaccination status at the start of the year, Djokovic is set to compete at the Australian Open at the start of 2023 – a tournament he has won on nine previous occasions and is favorite to win again next year off the back of his recent ATP Finals victory.

For Nadal, his future in the sport rests on the amount of strain his injury-ravaged body can continue to withstand.

In golf, Tiger Woods faces similar questions. The 15-time major champion completed a stunning return from serious leg injuries suffered in a car crash at this year’s Masters, scoring a remarkable one-under 71 at Augusta National before making the cut the following day.

Then there’s sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who turns 36 later this month but has shown no signs of slowing down. The Jamaican produced a string of consistently fast performances this year, running under 10.7 seconds for the 100 meters a record seven times and claiming her fifth world championship title over the distance in July.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce celebrates winning the women's 100m final at the World Athletics Championships in  Eugene, Oregon, in July.

And it’s not just athletes who have defied the call of retirement this year. In November, 73-year-old Dusty Baker became the oldest ever manager to win the World Series when he guided the Houston Astros to a 4-2 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Many of the athletes who stole the headlines in 2022 have been doing so for years.

No one is sure where an aging Cristiano Ronaldo will play his club football in January after ending his second spell at Manchester United in ignominious fashion, but the 37-year-old still appears to be set on extending his playing career after Portugal’s quarterfinal exit from the World Cup.

His rival Lionel Messi, meanwhile, ended the year on a sensational high, guiding Argentina to a third World Cup trophy. The 35-year-old Messi scored twice in an absorbing final against France and finally got his hands on the World Cup at the fifth time of asking, further staking his claim as the game’s greatest ever player.

That hasn’t been the only recent instance of an established superstar winning silverware. In last season’s NBA Finals, Steph Curry guided the Golden State Warriors to a fourth championship title in eight seasons – in the process picking up his first Finals MVP award as the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics.

In baseball, meanwhile, Aaron Judge enjoyed a season for the ages. The 30-year-old outfielder, who has reportedly just signed a nine-year, $360 million deal with the New York Yankees, hit 62 home runs last season, breaking Roger Maris’ single-season American League (AL) home run record from 1961.

On Wednesday, the Yankees named Judge, the reigning AL MVP, as the 16th captain in the franchise’s history.

Judge (left) hit a record-breaking 62 home runs last season.

But even as familiar faces have continued to shine, the past year has also seen future stars emerge.

The 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz ends the year as the youngest No. 1 in the history of the men’s tennis having triumphed at the US Open, and in the women’s game, Iga Swiatek, who rose to No. 1 in the world following Ashleigh Barty’s decision to retire after winning the Australian Open, looks set to dominate for years to come.

This year, the 21-year-old Swiatek won her second grand slam title at the French Open – which came in the middle of a 37-match winning streak – and her third at the US Open.

In Formula One, Max Verstappen has cemented his position as the best driver in the sport, comfortably defending his world title with four races to spare, while Erling Haaland, regarded as one of the best strikers in European football, has been scoring goals at a record-breaking rate during his first season at Manchester City.

There was no stopping Max Verstappen this year.

At the Winter Olympics in Beijing, then-18-year-old freestyle skier Eileen Gu stole the headlines, winning two gold medals and a silver for the host nation; she also became the first freestyle skier to earn three medals at a single Olympics.

Another teenager, figure skater Kamila Valieva, had a memorable Games for different reasons. The 16-year-old tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication, in December 2021, but the result didn’t come to light until Valieva was already in Beijing and had won gold in the figure skating team event.

In that competition, she became the first woman to land a quadruple jump – which involves four spins in the air – at the Winter Olympics.

The outcome from the positive test remains unresolved, and in November, the World Anti-Doping Agency referred Valieva’s case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after deeming the Russian Anti-Doping Agency had made no progress.

Eileen Gu performs a trick during the women's freestyle freeski halfpipe final at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cast a shadow over much of this year’s sporting calendar.

Athletes and teams from Russia and Belarus were banned from competitions across various sports, including qualification games for this year’s World Cup and participation at Wimbledon.

The decision from Wimbledon was perhaps the strongest stance taken by a sports organization, resulting in the ATP and WTA Tours removing ranking points from this year’s tournament.

At the start of the war, many Ukrainian athletes – like skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych and MMA fighter Yaroslav Amosov – opted to put their careers on hold and support the country’s military efforts.

Boxer Oleksandr Usyk has also spoken passionately about serving his country, and in the ring has extended his undefeated record, beating Anthony Joshua in August to retain his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles.

Oleksandr Usyk lands a punch on Anthony Joshua during their

Throughout 2022, sport and geopolitics have been closely entwined. This month, WNBA star Brittney Griner returned home to the US having been detained in Russia for nearly 10 months on drug smuggling charges.

Despite her testimony that she had inadvertently packed the cannabis oil that was found in her luggage, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in early August and was moved to a penal colony in the Mordovia republic in mid-November after losing her appeal.

The 32-year-old’s arrest in Russia sparked diplomatic drama between the US and the Kremlin which played out alongside Russia’s war in Ukraine.

She was released in a prisoner swap that involved Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The exchange, however, did not include another American that the State Department has declared wrongfully detained, Paul Whelan.

Brittney Griner is seen getting off a plane in an undated photo posted to her Instagram.

Perhaps no sport has been as gripped by internal politics this year as much as golf, which was rocked by the launch of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series in June.

LIV Golf has been criticized by some of the game’s leading players – including Woods and Rory McIlroy – while others – major champions Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson – have abandoned the PGA Tour in favor of the lucrative, breakaway series.

It has left the sport divided. Earlier this year, LIV Golf joined an antitrust lawsuit alongside some of its players, alleging that the PGA Tour threatened to place lifetime bans on players who participate in the LIV Golf series.

The suit also alleges that the PGA Tour has threatened sponsors, vendors, and agents to coerce players into abandoning opportunities to play in LIV Golf events.

The PGA Tour filed a countersuit in late September, claiming “tortious interference with the Tour’s contracts with its members.”

The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the man who a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.

LIV Golf’s launch is part of Saudi Arabia’s wider ambition to host and invest in global sports events. This year, it staged the rematch between Usyk and Joshua and even won a bid to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games.

But unquestionably, the most prominent sporting event held in the Gulf region this year has been the World Cup in Qatar.

The four-week-long tournament came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday as Argentina lifted the trophy, bringing down the curtain on what FIFA president Gianni Infantino argued was the greatest World Cup of all time.

There were upsets, high-scoring games, and brilliant goals throughout – right up to Sunday’s showpiece when Messi reigned supreme and Kylian Mbappé scored a stunning hat-trick in a losing cause.

The match between Argentina and France at Qatar 2022 is being viewed as the greatest ever World Cup final.

It was the first time a country in the Middle East had hosted the World Cup, and Qatar, which has a population of just three million people, invested billions of dollars in building seven new stadiums, as well as new hotels and expansions to the country’s airport, rail networks and highways.

The tournament was also fraught with controversy, particularly when it came to allegations surrounding the country’s poor human rights record and treatment of migrant workers.

Since 2010, many migrant workers in Qatar have faced delayed or unpaid wages, forced labor, long hours in hot weather, employer intimidation, and an inability to leave their jobs because of the country’s sponsorship system, human rights organizations have found.

In the face of such criticism, Qatar has maintained it is an open, tolerant country and has seen the World Cup as a vehicle to accelerate labor reforms.

Elsewhere in international football, England won the Women’s European Championships for the first time in front of a record crowd on home soil, while Senegal claimed the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in February, also for the first time.

Outside international competitions, Real Madrid won its 14th European crown by defeating Liverpool in the Champions League final – a game that was marred by security issues.

Real Madrid defeated Liverpool in this year's Champions League final in Paris.

The match itself was delayed by more than 35 minutes after Liverpool fans struggled to enter the Stade de France and tear gas was used by French police towards supporters held in tightly packed areas.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement admitted in June that the chaos was “obviously a failure” and said he takes “full responsibility for police management” of the event.

Tragically, football has witnessed multiple serious stadium disasters this year. In October, more than 130 people were killed in a stampede in the Indonesian city of Malang – one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters of all time.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo later said the country would demolish and rebuild the stadium, vowing to “thoroughly transform” the sport in the football-mad nation.

Players and officials from Arema Football Club gather to pray on the pitch for victims of the stampede at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang.

A stadium crush in the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé during this year’s AFCON also saw at least eight people killed and 38 injured during the game between Cameroon and Comoros.

Looking ahead to 2023, Australia and New Zealand is scheduled to host the Women’s World Cup in July and August.

The US Women’s National Team (USWNT) could become the first team to win the tournament three times in a row.

This year, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the USWNT’s Players Association (USWNTPA) and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) forged a landmark equal pay deal – the first federation in the world to equalize prize money awarded to the teams for participating in World Cups.

Next year will be the first time the USWNT has played a major tournament under such a deal.

Among the other major sporting events being held next year are the World Athletics Championshps in Budapest, Hungary, and the Rugby World Cup in France.

In the NFL, Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona is only weeks away, while the NBA Playoffs begin two months later in April.

With the men’s World Cup over, club football resumes in Europe and tennis’ first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, begins on January 16.

For sports fans, that will hopefully serve as tonic to stave off the January blues.

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