Sport has the ability to evoke a multitude of emotions – from happiness to sadness, from agony to ecstasy. It can produce scenes of deplorable acts of violence as fans and supporters vent their anger at the nearest dustbin, shop window or police horse.
This month, as So So Gay celebrates the happier side of life, we take a look at sporting moments that make you smile, cry with happiness and flap your hands in front of your face with glee.
1. Matthew Mitcham’s Olympic Gold
Matthew Mitcham caused the upset of the 2008 Olympic Games as he became the only non-Chinese gold medal winner in the diving events. There were moving scenes as he emerged from the pool, unsure if he has scored enough points to overtake Zhou Luxin of China.
Mitcham received a record score for his back 2 1/2 somersaults with 2 1/2 twists to win gold, and he was unable to contain his pleasure. After receiving his medal, the openly gay diver scaled the stands to celebrate the occasion with his partner Lachlan Fletcher. The images were beamed around the world as everyone shared in his happiness.
2. Manchester City crowned champions
The 2011/2012 football season came down to the last kick of the last game, as Sergio Aguero slotted the ball home to crown Manchester City Premier League Champions for the first time in 44 years. There was even more reason to be happy, as on their way to winning the title, they beat their biggest rivals Manchester United in both meetings, including a 6-1 thrashing at Old Trafford.
Finally, the blue half of Manchester had a reason to celebrate.
3. Jana Novotná wins Wimbledon
It took three attempts but eventually, in 1998, Jana Novotná was crowned Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Champion. Her first shot at the title saw her take Steffi Graf to three sets in 1993. After losing a tight first set, it was almost all one way traffic as Novotná won the second set 6-1 and took a 4-1 lead in the deciding set. However, Novotná’s game collapsed, losing the set 4-6 and with it the Championship. During the presentation ceremony, a clearly distraught Novotná burst into tears and had to be comforted by the Duchess of Kent.
Novotná would find herself in her next Wimbledon final in 1997, this time against a 16-year-old Martina Hingis. Novotná took the first set 6-2, but lost the remaining two 3-6 3-6.
The following year, Novotná would make it to the final again, and with the whole world behind her, she managed to finally win her one and only Championship title. She beat Nathalie Tauziat in straight sets and was overjoyed at eventually getting her hands on the historic Venus Rosewater Dish, fittingly presented to her by the Duchess of Kent.
It’s a date that will forever be synonymous with one thing: England winning the World Cup. A whole nation celebrated as England beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley.
5. Fifth gold for Sir Steve
After winning his fourth Gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Steve Redgrave declared, ‘Anybody who sees me in a boat has my permission to shoot me’. Thankfully, no one did, as Redgrave completed one of the greatest feats in Olympic Games history when he returned in Sydney to claim his fifth gold medal.
6. 2003 Rugby World Cup
Jonny Wilkinson became a sporting hero as his drop goal in extra time sealed victory for England over fierce rivals Australia in the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. On a Saturday morning in the middle of November, a nation gathered around televisions and radios to witness a nail-biting end to the final as England won their first ever World Cup title.
7. Super Saturday Part 1
At the 2012 Olympics in London, it was ‘Super Saturday’, as Team GB won six gold medals. It all came to a climax with an incredible evening in the Olympic Stadium. Jess Ennis started the night with gold in the Heptathlon, and was soon followed by Greg Rutherford winning gold in the Long Jump. The evening was rounded off in style by Mo Farah’s sprint finish in the 10,000m.
8. Super Saturday Part 2
‘Super Saturday’ came round again the following week, as Tom Daley won Bronze in the Aquatics Centre. But the biggest action was happening over at the Olympic Stadium, as only a week after winning 10,000m gold, Mo Farah made it a double by adding the 5,000m crown to his collection. It proved that 2012 was a great year for sport.
9. Germany 1 – England 5
If there’s anything better than beating your biggest rivals, it’s absolutely thrashing them. In 2001, England did just that as they beat Germany 5-1 in Munich. Germany took the lead early on with a sixth minute goal from Carsten Jancker, but then it was all England as a Michael Owen hat-trick helped them cruise to an easy victory that had people take to the streets in celebration.
10. Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious
Credit where it’s due; as far as headline puns go, The Sun did brilliantly with this one. For those who don’t know what it’s about, this is the perfect David and Goliath story. First division Inverness Caledonian Thistle made their way to Glasgow to face Celtic in the third round of the Scottish Cup. It was one of the biggest upsets in football history, as the plucky little side from the far north of Scotland beat the Old Firm giants 3-1 at Celtic Park.
These are 10 of the most memorable happy sporting moments. If you have a sporting moment that made you happy then tweet @SoSoGay_Sport and we will share some of your best.