Review of 2011 – looking back and looking forward

So as the year draws to a close I thought I’d look back at some of my top sporting moments of 2011.  As anyone watching this year’s BBC sports personality of the year would have noticed, it’s been a pretty good one for the UK.  And with 2012 just a matter of hours away, it is an exciting time for the country.

I’ll begin by picking up on a blog I wrote back in April about a certain Rory McIlroy after the Masters golf tournament.  At the time I likened him to a guitar string that had been overtightened until breaking point on the final day of the competition.  Failure is a better teacher than success and I’m delighted to see that Rory used that fateful day as an opportunity to learn and to grow.  His victory at the US Open just a few months later is a great example of the resilience needed to be successful.

The next person that caught my eye in 2011 was the ‘manx missile’ Mark Cavendish.  Never one to hide his emotions, his temperament had often been highlighted as a potential problem area in previous seasons.  What impressed me most was seeing the way that he improved from last year.  If he lost a sprint it wasn’t the end of the world, if the commissaires took a harsh judgement against him, he just got on with it.  This was undoubtedly a huge contributor to his success in the Tour de France.  In the world championships he was patient in a difficult field and could not credit his teammates enough after the race.  I still have absolutely no idea how he got through the bunch in the final sprint!

Last but not least I want to highlight the achievements of Scotland’s own, Katherine Grainger.  Katherine began her Olympic campaign in the double scull by dominating in New Zealand in 2010 and she continued her success this season by retaining her world championship title in Slovenia in 2011.  As I said in 2010, the story we all want to see in London is Katherine’s well-deserved Olympic gold medal.  After the heartache of the Olympic final in 2008, Katherine’s commitment has never wavered and it would be a fitting end to an outstanding career so watch this space…

The British Psychological Society recently described the 2012 Olympic games as being the ‘greatest psychological show on earth’ and I am inclined to agree.  At this level the differences can be so small that it will often come down to how the athletes prepare and what they can do on the day.  To all our Olympic athletes, we wish you well and cannot wait to watch the show!

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