Updated: Dec 12, 2021
✦ The Winter Olympics, The Ashes, Australian Open Tennis and the FIFA Football World Cup, plus much more!
Sport has always had a unique and undeniable ability to help people, communities and countries unite and overcome all manner of challenges, to rise above politics and public debate by providing an unrivalled thrill and sense of celebration.
Interestingly, whilst there have been obvious disruptions, delays and selected cancellations, sport tended to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed and became an invaluable crutch many turned to when seeking respite from the daily toil the virus imparted in the last few years.
It is hoped that in 2022 it can continue to do this as we collectively strive to return to a level of normality in our lives and there are some huge events on the horizon for fans and spectators to enjoy.
Leading events on the 2022 calendar include the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in England and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. New Zealand hosts two world cups – the women’s Rugby World Cup and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup – while England will host the Rugby League World Cup and the Commonwealth Games takes place in Birmingham.
All eyes traditionally turn Down Under at the start of the year as a series of acclaimed sporting events kick off the year and 2022 is no different.
First and foremost, we have the Ashes carrying over from the tail end of 2021 as the Aussie and English cricket teams do battle for the cherished urn. England haven’t won on Aussie soil for 34 years yet go into the contest confident now that star all-rounder Ben Stokes has overcome his injury and mental health issues. Hopes are that COVID will not disrupt proceedings although Cricket Australia have already confirmed that the final test will not go ahead in Perth due to the strict COVID-19 border policies and subsequent quarantine rules imposed in Western Australia. Tasmania has been touted as a replacement venue for the test which is scheduled to take place between January 14-18.
The Australian Open tennis managed to go ahead unscathed in the last two years of the pandemic, albeit with strict health and safety protocols in place and little or no crowds, and next year it is scheduled to take place between January 17-30. It remains unclear whether we will see defending champion Novak Djokovic on court as the nine-time winner has declined to publicly state his vaccine status, deemed a prerequisite by authorities. Djokovic has previously railed against vaccine requirements, leading to assumptions that he will not be there although he has been named on the initial entry list of players.
Aussie Ashleigh Barty headlines the women's singles draw as she bids to win her first grand slam title on home soil. Alongside her will be defending champion Naomi Osaka and US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who will make her Australian Open debut. However, Serena Williams will miss out due to medical reasons.
The Australian Formula One Grand Prix hasn’t been so lucky in the past two years, cancelled on both occasions due to the COVID pandemic. However, it is scheduled for April 7-10 next year with high levels of anticipation at Albert Park in Melbourne. In fact, early reports state that demand is so high that additional grandstands will need to be erected. This season’s championship has Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton still battling for the title with, at time of press, just one race to go where the winner takes all at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The level of competition between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes this year has been fantastic and is a positive indication that the 2022 championship, with a record 23 races throughout the year, promises to be equally enthralling.
On the domestic front, the AFL Grand Final will take place at the MCG on September 24, the NRL Grand Final on October 2 and the Melbourne Cup on November 1 at Flemington Race Course.
On the global calendar there are two huge events taking place in 2022, both of which, sadly, are clouded in major controversy and which have seen the divides between sport and politics blurred considerably.