My shortlist for the World Team of the Year includes these notable performances.
Rachel Homan skipped her Canadian team to victory in the world curling championships and became the first team to win the title without losing a match in the tournament. They also won the World Cup.
Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, losing just one match out of seventeen in the play-offs and fifteen out of 82 in the regular season.
Aidan O’Brien and his stable at Ballydoyle in Ireland set a new world record for the most winners in one season in Group One flat races.
Twin sisters Dina and Arina Averina were the winners of each of the five individual gold medals at the world rhythmic gymnastics championships. Their Russian team won seven out of the eight golds on offer.
The USA women’s 4×100 m medley relay swimming team took half a second off the world record at the world championships.
My top three teams are:
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – the Canadian couple won their third world ice dance championships title, set a world record score and were unbeaten during the 2016-17 season.
The Netherlands women’s hockey team came back from the disappointment of defeat in the Olympic final to have a great 2017. The took gold at the European Championship winning every game. In the World League semi-finals they won all seven matches, with one going to a shoot-out, conceding only one goal and at the Final won all six of their games scoring eighteen goals and not conceding one.
Zenit Kazan, the Russian volleyball team, had an almost perfect season in 2016-17. In the Russian Super League they won all 30 matches they played. In the European Champions League they won twelve matches out of twelve, dropping just two sets, to win their third successive title. They then went on to win the World Club Championship by winning five matches without losing a set. The only match they lost was in the group stage of the Russian Cup but they still went on to win the trophy. This near perfect season makes them my team of the year.
2016 The USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Runners-Up: China table tennis team, Mercedes F1 team, Olympique Lyonnais Women’s Football Team
2015 Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (New Zealand – 49er Sailing), Runners-up: Mercedes (Formula One), Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Russia – Synchronised Swimming)
2014 Italy’s Women Foil Fencing Team: Runners Up Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (NZ – Rowing), Jennifer Jones’s Canadian Curling Team
2013 Vakıfbank İstanbul Women’s Volleyball Team (Turkey)
Runners-Up: Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (Australia – Sailing), Bayern Munich (Germany- Football)
2012 Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (New Zealand – Rowing) – unbeaten for four years and set world best by six seconds
Runners-Up: USA Women’s 4x100m relay team (athletics), THW Kiel (Germany -Handball)