As another year draws to a close it’s once again time for me to reflect on my favourite memories from the previous 12 months.
This year’s list features game changing moments, unadulterated chaos, new faces rising to the top and old ones setting yet more records. So sit back and relax as I take you through the first half of my top ten moments of 2017.
*Disclaimer: This is entirely my opinion and not a statement of fact! There are so many incredible athletes who could quite easily have been on this list (e.g. Adam Peaty, Hannah Cockroft, Kay Wilson), but these are the ones that resonate with me the most.*
10) Clarke refuses to fall at the first hurdle
This first entry is certainly left-field but nonetheless it’s one that stuck in my mind. Many new faces rose to prominence at London 2017 but one who might have wanted to slightly differently was Rosie Clarke, the steeplechaser who unfortunately fell twice in her heat.
But rather than give up Clarke continued to fight to try and make the final, showing incredible spirit and determination. That resonated both with me watching at home and the crowd in the stadium, who roared on the gritty runner up to and beyond the finishing line.
The way in which Clarke has responded to that fall is remarkable – she now uses it as a motivator to spur her on – and I’m excited to see just how good she can get.
9) Far from Cook-ed
While Danni Wyatt’s staggering century against Australia may have been my favourite cricketing innings of 2017, there was none more satisfying than Alastair Cook’s magnificent double ton just a few days ago.
The Ashes may have been lost but many felt this was arguably the former captain’s most important knock, with many questioning how long he would want to continue playing.
But in a mammoth 409-minute vigil England’s leading Test run scorer showed there is still so much cricket left in him as he drove, pulled and nudged his way to an incredible 244*.
Ready to retire? I think Cook has just shown he plans to stick around for a little while yet.
8) Absolutely electrifying
Formula E is just brilliant. It may not have the glitz, glamour and noise of its motorsport counterparts but my word does it produce some incredible racing.
Nowhere was this exemplified better than at the Mexico City ePrix back in April. There were overtakes aplenty, crashes galore, three Safety Car periods, drivers spinning out of the lead and unsafe pit releases. Trying to live tweet this race was almost impossible.
The eventual race winner was Lucas di Grassi, who started in 15th and had to pit early on to replace a damaged rear wing, leaving him at the back of the field. It really was a story you just couldn’t make up and I bloody loved it.
7) Three is a magic number
If Sochi 2014 is an event Elise Christie wants to forget then Rotterdam 2017 will be a competition the speed skater will cherish forever.
The Scottish athlete first came to mainstream public attention when she was controversially disqualified from all three of her races at the last Winter Olympics, leading to many unfair and horrible comments on social media.
Since then Christie has quietly gone about her business rebuilding her career – claiming SEVEN European titles between 2015-16 – before bursting back onto the scene by winning a sensational three golds at the World Championships in March.
The strength that the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year has shown to come back from such disappointment is frankly unbelievable and certainly inspires me to want to do the same. I can’t wait to see her atop the medal podium in Pyeongchang.
6) Jonnie waltzes to another title
Ever since he stormed to 100m T44 gold at London 2012, Jonnie Peacock has been a pin-up of British athletics.
With that comes the pressure and expectation of everyone assuming you’re going to win and nowhere was this more prevalent than this summer as the sprinter returned to the scene of that incredible moment to defend his World title.
I was lucky enough to attend four days of the World Para-athletics Championships and experience the moment Peacock wrote yet more history for himself with a gutsy performance to take the title, overcoming cramps and fierce competition.
The collective relief and joy as he crossed the line first was something special to be a part of and is certainly a moment I will never forget.
The second instalment of my list will be uploaded tomorrow so make sure you stick around for that!