Great video is synonymous with sports and the highlights athletes provide every year.
Slow motion video and sideline cameras allow sports fans to re-live the unbelievable plays they see on television.
READ MORE: 10 big Canadian sport stories from 2016
But sometimes there are moments within games that transcend sport. Moments that go beyond just “jock talk” and captivate a broader audience.
There were more than a few stories in 2016 that left the field of play and splashed their way onto screens and newspapers around the world. Here are 10 sports events that had you talking this year.
Toronto court dismisses application to ban Cleveland Indians name and logo during ALCS
Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak named Canada’s athlete of the year
Jose Fernandez had cocaine, alcohol in system during boating accident
IOC president Bach enraged by scale of Russian doping scandal
Phil Kessel has found himself the focus of jokes and scorn on more than one occasion – especially as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But this year he grabbed the attention of President Barack Obama.
During a visit to The White House to celebrate the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup victory, Obama led off the ceremony by taking a jab at Kessel.
It’s hard to imagine the Commander-in-Chief was that familiar with the unassuming scorer prior to this summer. But a tweet Kessel posted in September about being left off the U.S. men’s national team following their embarrassing exit at the World Cup of Hockey proved he can dish jokes as well as he can take them.
Just sitting around the house tonight w my dog. Felt like I should be doing something important, but couldn’t put my finger on it.
— Phil Kessel (@PKessel81) September 21, 2016
The Olympics always provide a plethora of stories that have the ability to cross over into the mainstream, and 2016 was no different.
A Russian doping scandal, Rio’s water quality, Penny Oleksiak, Aurélie Rivard, Andre De Grasse, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps all grabbed headlines.
But it was Phelps’ teammates, including Ryan Lochte, whose actions out of the pool overshadowed competition.
Lochte and his teammates were involved in an early-morning drunken encounter at a Rio gas station during which, they later claimed, they were threatened and robbed by gunmen.
The incident garnered international attention, and soon police and media began to poke holes in the swimmers’ timeline of events.
Lochte fled the country, but was later charged by Brazilian police for making a false robbery report.
USA Swimming banned him from competition for 10 months.
Lochte was also dumped by several sponsors and was rushed by two men wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts while performing on Dancing with the Stars this fall.
Another sports star showed off some bad behaviour in June during the summer’s other major international tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been struggling early in the Euro 2016 tournament, took out his frustrations on a reporter’s microphone during practice.
Asked if he was ready for his next match, Ronaldo responded by snatching the microphone and throwing it into a lake.
The release of tension worked, as Ronaldo scored his first two goals of the tournament in his next match, eventually leading his country to its first Euro championship with a win over France.
Athletes can sometimes let their “celebrity status” cloud their judgement, but more often than not sport brings out the best in people, and no moment proved that more this year than in Paris’ “fan zone” following France’s loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final.
Euronews cameras captured a touching moment as a little Portuguese fan approached a sobbing French fan to offer a pat on the arm and some words of encouragement.
The touching moment resulted in the two fans embracing – the little Portuguese fan consoling the man with a hug.
A similar display was shown by Barcelona’s youth soccer team after winning the U-12 Junior Soccer World Challenge in August.
Barcelona’s under-12 “Infantil B” side defeated Japanese team Omiya Ardija 1-0 in the championship.
After losing such a close match in front of their home crowd, some Omiya players broke down in tears.
Within moments, the Barca players noticed their opponent’s distress and came over to offer hugs and handshakes.
Classy acts carried over into baseball, with one player in particular choosing family values over money.
Adam LaRoche was set to earn $13 million this past summer, but abruptly announced his retirement from baseball in March, after reportedly being told by the Chicago White Sox that his son, Drake, had exceeded his welcome in the clubhouse.
Drake had been a presence with the team in previous seasons, but due to disappointing play from LaRoche in 2015, the club decided the 36-year-old would have to reduce Drake’s time in the clubhouse by half as a way of refocusing his attention on baseball.
That didn’t sit well with LaRoche as he quit his 12-year career in the Majors.
“Classy” would not be a word used to describe the major stories that followed the Toronto Blue Jays this summer.
The club entered the season with hopes of improving on their long 2015 post-season run, highlighted by Jose Bautista‘s epic bat flip against the Texas Rangers.
That toss would lead to more fireworks in the spring when Texas’ Rougned Odor got revenge by punching the Blue Jays slugger in the face during a game on May 15.
Judging which player was in the wrong was decidedly split between fans of both teams. Nevertheless, the punch knocked some sense into the Blue Jays players.
The club was two games below .500 at that point, but wound up posting the third best record in the American League the rest of the season, good enough to clinch a wild card berth back to the post-season.
It was in that game that a Toronto fan tossed a beer can onto the field in the direction of an Orioles player.
The incident immediately brought back ugly memories of beer cans being thrown on the field during the post-season game against Odor’s Rangers the year before.
The beer can controversy overwhelmed watercooler talk and sparked a 48 hour manhunt to find the culprit, who eventually turned himself into police.
Canadian band The Tenors found themselves inducted in the pantheon of bizarre national anthem renditions when one of their members altered the lyrics to ‘O Canada’ to include “All lives matter to the brave” during their performance prior to the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego in July.
Singer Remigio Pereira‘s very public statement against the Black Lives Matter movement received instant backlash online.
Dear Tenors….political statements are to be made on your own time not when you’re singing our National Anthem.
— Paul Bromby (@PaulBromby) July 13, 2016
The Tenors said Pereira was ‘acting as a lone wolf,’ and announced hours after the performance that he had been removed from the group.
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick also found himself at the centre of an anthem scandal in August after deciding to remain seated during the singing of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ prior to a preseason game.
Kaepernick explained that he would not “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.”
The statement was in reaction to several police shootings across the U.S. that targeted black males.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick received harsh criticism from fans, professional athletes and even Donald Trump.
Kaepernick has continued his protest throughout the NFL season, and says he will continue until he sees change.
“When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
An American fan overheard heckling Europe’s Ryder Cup team in September was given the chance to back up his talk – and he delivered in spectacular fashion.
The incident happened during a public training session in Minnesota as the Europe team practiced their putting ahead of the tournament. The heckler was challenged by Europe team players to sink a putt for $100 after the man was overheard boasting that he could make that same putt they were missing.
After lining up the putt, David Johnson, an insurance salesman from North Dakota, said he closed his eyes, hit it – and sunk it. The crowd broke into chants of “USA! USA!” as the European players swarmed Johnson to congratulate him.
Another incredible moment caught on camera came in July during a surf competition in South Africa, when a surfer came face to face with a great white shark.
Three-time world champion Mick Fanning was in the water with his surfboard when a shark’s fin appeared.
Fanning said he punched the shark in an effort to fight it off and that he was “totally tripping out” after the close call.
— With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and Global News
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