jessica enis

In July and August, you may remember that London played host to a little event called the Olympic Games, memorable for all sorts of reasons, ranging from Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s defence of both his 100m and 200m gold medals to the unimpressed demeanour of American gymnast McKayla Maroney recently parodied by President Barack Obama himself.

In the United Kingdom itself, the games will always be remembered for the outstanding achievements of the British team, who finished third in the medal table, an accomplishment replicated by the country’s Paralympians just a few weeks later. Such success was unfathomable before the games, where many forecast that they were a disaster waiting to happen, given the financial and security worries that plagued their preparation.

The country’s sporting success in 2012 has not only been limited to this, however. Despite the usual disappointment of the English national football team and frustrating seasons for leading Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, sportsmen and women across the country have achieved success in a variety of different events and disciplines. These people range from a Super Bowl winner and an NBA All-Star to an Ironman champion and an X-games gold medalist.

Such individuals are recognised, along with the country’s Olympians, in this list, which pays tribute to fifty individuals who’ve been a significant part of what will probably go down in history as the greatest ever year for British sport.

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This article was first posted on December 18, 2012