After going through the results of as many sports as possible I have come up with this list of the best teams of last year.
Spain (football) The Spanish team won the European Championship with a devastating display to beat Italy 4-0 in the final. This gave the Spanish team a third consecutive major trophy to add to the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships in 2008. They are the first team to win three major trophies in a row since the 1920s. They remained unbeaten throughout the year.
Italy (fencing -women) – The Italian women completed a clean seep of the individual medals in the Olympic competition and went on to win the team gold, easily sweeping aside all opposition.
Frankel (Horse racing) -my choice as the British team of 2012 -this racehorse won all five of his races to complete his career unbeaten in 14 races. The respected form guide Timeform provisionally gave the horse the highest rating in the 64 year history of the publication and he must be regarded as one of the greatest horses ever.
China (Gymnastics -men) – winners of the Olympic gymnastics team gold by a wide margin. China have won every world and Olympic team title since 2006.
USA (Gymnastics – women) – one of the best teams seen in women’s gymnatics for some years. They easily won the Olympic gold medal.
New Zealand (rowing) Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (men’s coxless pair) – unbeaten in four years together with a record unbeaten streak of 13 wins in world cups and championships. They broke the world best time by six seconds in the heats of the Olympics before going on to win the gold very easily.
THW Kiel (handball) – winners of the German League in men’s handball. They won every game of the German league season (34 in all) and the German Cup. They won the European Champions League, although they did lose one and draw three games on the way.
USA women 4 x 100m team (athletics) – broke the world record which had stood for 27 years to the East Germans. In the final of the Olympic Games the team took over half a second off the previous world record.
Jamaica men 4 x 100m (athletics) – broke the world record again in the Olympic final, having done it in the previous Games and world championships.
USA women 4 x 100m medley relay (swimming) – a superb team consisting of three individual gold medallists from earlier in the meet. They broke the world record from the era of faster suits.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball) – won their third successive Olympic title.
My top three teams from this list are:
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (men’s coxless pair rowing)
USA women 4 x 100m team (athletics)
THW Kiel (handball)
Kiel’s season was amazing but just not quite perfect. The America relay team took the biggest margin from the world record for many, many years and I am sorely tempted to give it to them.
However, for sustained excellence over a four year period and for taking a big margin this year from the world best my best team of 2012 goes to Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
I take world bests in rowing with a pinch of salt as they are so dependent on conditions. However, the conditions for the world best race weren’t exceptionally fast. Bond and Murray are just very,very good.