2013 was one of those years when nobody stood out as being a clear choice as the outstanding sportsman. There have been many very good performances but few that have been truly exceptional. My shortlist for sportsman of 2013 is:
Peyton Manning, the quarterback of the Denver Broncos in the NFL, threw for a record number of touchdowns and yards in the regular season. His quarterback rating was the second highest of his career.
Also in the USA, Lebron James had a great season in the NBA leading his Miami Heat team to the title and claiming league MVP and play-off MVP awards for himself. It is hard to say that this was his greatest season but it was close to it.
Martin Fourcade won all four individual biathlon world cup distances and the overall world cup plus the world championship at 2ok.
Adonis Stevenson the Canadian boxer won four world championship fights by stoppage and was Ring Magazine fighter of the year. These days it isn’t often that a fighter has four title fights in a year so he was a worthy winner of that award.
Robert Fletcher is the youngest player to win the world croquet title, and the only player to have won the event without dropping a game.
Kohei Uchimura extended his record sequence to a fourth all-round title in the world gymnastics championships. Again he was miles clear of the competition although not quite as dominant as in 2011.
The French judoka Teddy Riner won his sixth world title, the first male judo player to achieve this. He is unbeaten since 2010 and has a current winning streak of 53 contests.
Sebastian Vettel had another great season in 2013 and took his 4th Formula One title. He finished the season with a record breaking nine consecutive wins and had 13 wins over the full season. It was one of the best Formula One seasons seen but probably not the very best.
In other motorsport Sebstien Ogier won 9 out of 13 races in the World Rally Championships. In motorcross Tony Cairoli won his fifth successive title and also won nine races. My feeling is that these sports aren’t all that competitive at the top level at the moment.
In winter sports Ted Ligety won six out of nine Giant Slalom races in the 2012/13 world cup and took the world title.
Martins Dukurs won eight out of nine of the skeleton world cup races and was second in the other. He also second the world championships. Skeleton still doesn’t have great strength in depth as a sport which makes it relatively easy to dominate.
Sun Yang won the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle titles at the world swimming championships although no world records were set. He was named world swimmer of the year.
Lu Xiaojun broke the snatch and overall world records in his way to a 3rd global title in a row at weightlifting.
As there isn’t anyone here who has clearly produced the greatest season ever in a particular event I have to consider the career records in some events.
My top three are :-
Peyton Manning (USA-American Football), Teddy Riner (France – Judo) and Sun Yang (China-Swimming)
My choice as sportsman of the year 2013 is Teddy Riner for his achievement of becoming the first man to win six world judo titles and for being unbeatable for so long.