Here is Xinhua News Agency’s selection of the 10 most significant pieces of international sports news in 2021, in chronological order:

Russia doping ban reduced to two years

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on February 2 it would not appeal against Russia’s two-year ban, which was cut from four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in late 2020. Due to several doping scandals, Russian athletes are forced to compete under a neutral flag instead of the Russian flag at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup among other global sporting events.

Thomas Bach re-elected IOC president

Thomas Bach, incumbent president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has been re-elected for an additional four-year term until 2025 during the 137th IOC Session which was held online on March 10.

12 clubs, unsuccessfully, form European Super League

Twelve top-flight European football clubs from the Spanish La Liga, English Premier League and Italian Serie A announced on April 19 that they would join a new European Super League, despite condemnation from the UEFA and other football governing bodies. However, the plan collapsed only two days later after most of the clubs withdrew from the league.

Italy wins Euro 2020

Italy’s men’s football team won the European Championship after beating England in the final after a penalty shootout on July 11. With seven straight wins, the Azzurri brought home the Euro title for the first time since 1968.

Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon Championships

Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon Championships – his 20th Grand Slam singles title on July 11, joining Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as a 20-time Grand Slam winner. On November 7, Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev in the Paris Masters final to claim a record 37th Masters 1000 title, passing Nadal’s previous record of 36. Meanwhile, the Serbian was awarded the year-end ATP Tour No. 1 for a record-breaking seventh time.

32nd Summer Olympics Games take place

The 32nd Summer Olympic Games took place in Tokyo, Japan from July 23 to August 8 after it was postponed for one year due to COVID-19, with the United States, China and Japan ranking in the top three of the gold medal tally. The 138th IOC session approved the inclusion of “Together” to the Olympic motto, which now reads “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.”

Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona, Ronaldo returns to Manchester United

Lionel Messi parted ways with FC Barcelona after 21 years at the Spanish club and joined French outfit Paris Saint-Germain. The 34-year-old striker won the Ballon d’Or award for a record-extending seventh time. Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United 12 years later after spells at Real Madrid and Juventus.

Former IOC president Jacques Rogge passes away

Former IOC president Jacques Rogge passed away at the age of 79, the IOC announced on August 29. Rogge, the eighth president of the IOC from 2001 to 2013 and later Honorary President, lauded the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as “truly exceptional.”

Lewis Hamilton claims 100 Grand Prix victories 

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton became the first ever Formula One driver to claim 100 Grand Prix victories after winning the Russian Grand Prix on September 26.

10th Olympic Summit held

The 10th Olympic Summit was held online on December 11, during which the Summit declared to stand firmly against any politicization of the Olympic Games and sport. The Summit also welcomed the Beijing Winter Olympic Truce Resolution, which was adopted by consensus and co-sponsored by 173 Member States at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

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