Sports History Chronicle World Team of the Year 2015: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er Sailing)

Some of the teams that I considered were:

Barcelona (Football)

Barcelona (Handball)

American Pharoah (Horse Racing)

China Women’s Team Sprint and Australia Women’s Team Pursuit (Cycling)

Leander Paes and Martina Hingis (Mixed Doubles Tennis)

Mercedes (Formula One)

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er Sailing)

Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Synchronised Swimming)

New Zealand (Rugby Union)

USA Women Gymnastics Team

The choice in this category is a little complicated because for the purposes of this I take results for seasons that finished in 2015.  Therefore rather than taking the results of Barcelona for the calendar year 2015 I look at the season 2014/5.

Barcelona (Football) – the dominant team of the 2014/5 football season taking the Champions League, 2015 World Club Championship and the Spanish league.  At their best they were brilliant but did lose four times in the Spanish season.

Barcelona (Handball) – won seven titles in 2015 including the Spanish league where they won every match and the European Champions League.  However, in the world club championship tournament they were only third.

American Pharoah (Horse Racing) – I treat horses as part of a team so that they can be considered for an award.  He became the first horse for 37 years to win the American triple crown and added the Breeders Cup Classic to become the first horse to win the “Grand Slam”.  In 2015 he won 7/8 races but that one defeat just stops him making the shortlist.

China Women’s Team Sprint and Australia Women’s Team Pursuit (Cycling) – both of these teams broke world records at the world championships by significant margins.  The Australians also managed to beat the British team which hadn’t lost for years.  The situation is complicated a little by changing teams over the season which caused defeats at other events.

Leander Paes and Martina Hingis (Mixed Doubles Tennis) 0 became the first mixed doubles team for many years to win three Grand Slam titles and were completely dominant by the end of the year.  The only loss in Grand Slams came in the second round in Paris.

Mercedes (Formula One) – for the second successive year the team won 16/19 races in the season completely dominating.  Each of these seasons in themselves fall just short of the best season of modern times but taken together no team has been as good over two successive seasons.  This puts them on my shortlist.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er Sailing) – this pair have been unbeaten since the Olympics in 2012, having won 22 successive regattas.  This includes each world championship since then.  This unbeaten streak is a record for the 49er event and for any pairs event in modern times in sailing.  As there are relatively few sailing world level regattas each year I take into consideration previous years results if they build into a long unbeaten streak.  Such domination for a long time puts this pair onto my shortlist.

Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Synchronised Swimming) – another pair who have attracted my attention due to their domination of a sport over a long period.  They have won the world championship duet titles in 2009, 2011 and 2015, the Olympics in 2012 and the Europeans in 2010 and 2012.  Ishchenko took time out to have a baby after 2013 so the pair are unbeaten in championships for their careers together since 2009.  They produced stunning routine to win the 2015 world titles in technical and free duet events.  There long period of domination gets them onto my shortlist.

New Zealand (Rugby Union) – many consider the All Blacks team that won the 2015 World Cup to be the finest rugby union team ever.  It is hard to say with certainty but the world cup performance was excellent.  However, in the Rugby championship before the world cup for the southern hemisphere nations which went on to fill the semi-finals at the world cup, the All Blacks did lose to Australia.   That defeat cost them the championship although they got their revenge in the world cup final.  That defeat does stop them being shortlisted by me.

USA Women Gymnastics Team – the team is the dominant force in women’s gymnastics and have been unbeaten in global competition since 2010.  They have won the last three world team titles and the 2012 Olympic gold.  In 2015 the team led by Simone Biles and nicknamed the Fierce Five, won the world title by a huge margin again.  It is hard to say if this version of the US team is the best, possibly the 2012 or 2014 team were better, but they are exceptional.

My top three are:

Mercedes (Formula One)

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er Sailing)

Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina

All of these teams have achieved dominance over more than one year to received their nominations.  However, the New Zealand sailors have set new standards time and again over the last three and a half years and they take my award for world team of the year for 2015.

Embed from Getty Images

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke


This entry was posted in Award winners and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s