2017's most heartwarming sports moments

Things that made us go "aww"

BY Jason Brennan 09:00 Friday 29 December 2017, 9:00 29 Dec 2017

Picture by: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Press Association Images

Not to be confused with our 2017 list of the most heartbreaking moments that sport threw at us this year, this list should bring a smile to your face, rather than a tear to your eye. Although some might do both. 

We've now made a little list of the things that warmed our ice cold hearts and reminded us of all the joy occasions that sport has brought us throughout the year.

Sergio Garcia finally winning The Masters

If you develop a notorious reputation for being an also ran, before finally getting a big win on your record, you're definitely making it into our list.

Sergio Garcia had been known as a man who would choke when in the deep waters of major championship contention, but this year he picked up his first major, winning The Masters at Augusta.

Garcia has been in the world top 10 for over 400 weeks between 2000-2017, had competed in 73 majors before this year's Masters rolled around and had 22 top 10 finishes, and placed in the top five on 12 of those occasions. Still his first major continued to allude him.

However, it was 74th time lucky as he beat Justin Rose in the playoff with a birdie in the first extra hole, finally earning himself a major career win, and a green jacket to go along with it.

Kathrine Switzer runs the Boston marathon again

In 1967 Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to compete in, and subsequently finish, the Boston marathon as a numbered entree. 

Switzer entered the race using the gender-neutral "K.V. Switzer" on her application form, as females were denied entree to the event. One official tried to physically remove her during the marathon, and eventually had her disqualified after the race. 

Shining a light on women's rights and female athletics as a whole, Switzer went on to become the Runner's World Magazine female runner of the decade (1967-1977) and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2011.

She returned to the Boston marathon this year to once again run the race, 50 years after her famous outing, at the age of 70. Wearing the 261 bib number she competed in all those years ago, she crossed the finish line again, and her entry number was retired after the event as a mark of honour for her achievement. 

Totti's farewell to football and Roma

Watching Italian footballers cry has been a bit of a thing this year, with Gianluigi Buffon coming to tears after Italy's loss to Sweden in the World Cup play-offs, though it was Totti's goodbye to his hometown club after 25 seasons as part of the first team.

Retiring as Roma's record for goals scored and appearances made, the legendary captain and World Cup winner said his goodbye on the field to a packed out stadium after his final appearance.

The moment was too emotional for not only Totti, but for most of the squad, the stadium, and pretty much anyone watching, including ourselves. Not a dry eye in the house, and proof you don't need to speak a language, or even read subtitles, to understand how much something can mean to someone.

Micheal Donoghue and his dad

Galway winning the Liam McCarthy for the first time in 29 years was emotional for many people, but the All-Ireland victory touched the hearts of every neutral during the side's homecoming. 

The team stopped off in Ballinasloe as their first port of call so Galway manager Micheal Donoghue could present the trophy to his da, "Miko", the man who ran the buses for the side during their last All-Ireland victory.

Miko had seen his other son, Micheal's twin brother Liam, line-out in goal for the county during their 2005 final defeat to Cork, but it was Micheal who brought the cup home for the Tribesmen after the near-three decade long wait. 

The moment was caught on camera by Inpho's Morgan Treacy, an image that will live long in our sentimental memory banks, and Micheal himself spoke to Off the Ball's John Duggan about what it all meant to him. 


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