Coronavirus played havoc with last year’s sports calendar, causing an unexpected hiatus of sporting events all over the world. However, disappointment quickly turned to joy, as sports stadiums welcomed fans to watch live events again. This summer was, without doubt, a golden summer of sport packed full of the biggest events.
Euro 2020, 11 June – 11 July
The European Championships this year were like no other. Firstly, the tournament took place a year later than scheduled. Unlike previous championships, the 24 teams played in various host cities throughout Europe, including Rome, Baku, Glasgow, and Seville. The semi-finals and final match took place at Wembley in London, and after a nail-biting final with England, Italy was crowned the champions after winning a penalty shoot-out.
Wimbledon, 28 June – 11 July
It was good news for tennis fans this year, as the Wimbledon Championships returned. Veteran Novak Djokovic took home his sixth Wimbledon title after beating Italy’s Matteo Berrettini. He now equals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s record of 20 men’s Grand Slam victories. Ashleigh Barty won her maiden Wimbledon title after beating Karolina Pliskova to become the first Australian women’s champion for 41 years.
Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk beat the British duo Harriet Dart and Joe Salisbury in the Wimbledon mixed doubles final.
Tokyo Olympics, 23 July – 8 August
One of the highlights of this sporting year was the summer Olympics, which took place in Tokyo, Japan, where the sporting elite of 206 nations came together to compete in 33 sports (339 events) over sixteen days.
The Caribbean region’s athletes wrapped up the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with a total of 34 medals. Of that total, amazingly, 15 were gold medals.
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah became the first woman ever to achieve a double-double by winning gold in both the 100m and 200m for the second consecutive Games.
Flora Duffy of Bermuda made history in Tokyo, Japan, by winning the Caribbean region’s first Olympic gold medal and the first for her country.
Fan favourite, Kirani James of Grenada, made a successful comeback to win a bronze medal in the 400m final.
In June, the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee announced that five athletes had been selected to be part of the Cayman Islands team that would travel to Toyko, Japan. Our small but mighty Caymanian team was outstanding, showing focus, determination, and commitment in qualifying for the games, proudly representing the country with impressive performances and three personal bests.
- Kemar Hyman, competed in the 100m sprint with a time of 10.41
- Shalysa Wray competed in the 400m becoming the first Caymanian athlete to compete at the Olympics in this event.
- Brett Fraser competed in the 50m freestyle, finishing second in heat six. This was Brett’s 3rd Olympic games appearance.
- Jillian Crooks, at just 15 years of age, competed in the 100m freestyle event.
- Raegan Rutty made her debut to become the first Caymanian to compete in the Artistic Gymnastics.
Other Highlights of the Summer
Tour de France, 26 June – 18 July
The 2021 Tour de France was the 108th edition of cycling’s most prestigious event. Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar successfully defended his title taking home the yellow jersey, as the overall winner of the 2021 Tour de France for the second consecutive year. Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard and Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz finished second and third and joined Pogačar on the final podium.
British & Irish Lions tour, 3 July – 7 August
The British & Irish Lions international rugby union tour took place in South Africa in July and August 2021. Great Britain and Ireland threw their support behind Warren Gatland’s men for what was an epic tournament. The British & Irish Lions played a three-match test series against South Africa and tour matches against South Africa’s four United Rugby Championship franchises and South Africa A.
South Africa won the test series by two matches to one. The Lions won the first test 22–17 on 24 July, but South Africa won the second test 27–9 a week later before winning the third test 19–16 with a late penalty on 7 August.
The Open, 15–18 July
For the 15th time, Royal St George’s hosted the Open, and this year’s champion was Collin Morikawa with a score of 265, 15 under-par. He produced a stunning final-day charge to win The 149th Open on his Open debut.
Caribbean Premier League, 26 August – 19 September
Caribbean Premier League (CPLT20) was the ninth season of the twenty20 league to be played in the West Indies.
Every match was played at Warner Park in St Kitts, and in a nail-biting final, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots beat the Saint Lucia Kings by three wickets to win their first CPL title.
Tokyo Paralympics, 24 August – 5 September
The 16th summer Paralympic games saw 539 events across 22 different sports. Two new additions to this year’s schedule were badminton and taekwondo, and team events included goalball, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball. Cycling events were divided into road and track disciplines. Other events in the lineup included athletics, judo, table tennis, shooting, rowing, and swimming.
Some of the highlights from the competition included Dame Sarah Storey winning Great Britain’s first Paralympics gold medal, and the youngest athlete, Husnah Kukundakwe, a Ugandan swimmer, making her debut at just 14 years old. China earned the most Paralympic medals, taking home 207 medals, including 96 golds.