As the years go by, 2022 is probably destined to fade into oblivion in infamy for a number of obvious reasons.
But the sport may have offered one of the few bright spots in Denmark… let’s forget the World Cup fiasco for a moment.
Breaking American barriers
Some of the most memorable moments included major Danish breakthroughs across the pond in the United States.
Gabriel ‘Iffe’ Lundberg made history as the first Dane to play in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns, while Hjalte Froholdt became the first Danish non-kicker to take a snap in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.
And what about Lars Eller? The first Dane to win the Stanley Cup back in 2018, Eller played his 1,000th. NHL game just before Christmas.
Elsewhere, the curling ladies won their first European championship in 28 years, while the dressage team captured Denmark’s first ever world championship title.
Anne-Marie Rindom has won her third world sailing championship ever.
Mads Pedersen enjoyed the best season of his career, winning three stages and the points classification at the Vuelta a Espana, as well as a stage in the Tour de France. It was a historic year for Danish cycling.
Finally, an honorable mention goes to the handball ladies, who came close to reliving the glories of the past by coming second at the EC.
There were many deserving candidates, but in the end there were a few that really soared. Below are the top 5 sports performers of 2022.
SPORTS TESTERS OF THE YEAR
5 Turpal Bisultanov
Bisultanov is becoming quite a feel-good story. After arriving in Denmark as a child from war-torn Chechnya, the 21-year-old had a fantastic year on the wrestling mat, winning the European Championships and finishing second at the World Championships in the 87kg weight class. As he soon gets his Danish citizenship, he aims to win an Olympic title.
4 Nanna Koerstz Madsen
Madsen turned heads on the links in 2022 by becoming the first Dane, male or female, to win a title on the PGA Tour when she triumphed at the Honda LGPA Thailand tournament in March. The rookie of the year in 2018 has been considered by experts to be the most significant in Danish golf history.
3 Holger Rune
Who would have thought. Denmark wanted a male tennis star! Rune began 2022 at number 103 in the world and ended at number 10 thanks to a series win at the Paris Masters and a quarter-final showing at the French Open. Djokovic, Alcaraz, Rublev, Tsitsipas and Norrie are just a few of the names he dispatched during his meteoric rise up the rankings last year.
2 Jonas Vingegaard
Someone will always feel badly hit on these lists, and Vingegaard would be the main candidate here. Vingegaard laid the foundation for perhaps the greatest year in Danish cycling history by winning the Tour de France in dominant fashion, with two stages and the mountain classification en route to Paris. Vingegaard is the first Dane to triumph since Bjarne Riis in 1996.
1 Viktor Axelsen
It’s not every year that someone dominates a sport the way the Fyn badminton player has done in 2022. He absolutely destroyed the competition. The world number one won eight of the sport’s 12 major titles:
All England (March)
Indonesia Masters (June)
Indonesia Open (June)
Malaysia Open (June/July)
World Championship (August)
French Open (October)
BWF World Tour Finals (December)
From Morten Frost to Poul-Erik Høyer, Denmark has produced some badminton greats in the past, but none have ever had the year Axelsen shaped in 2022, and it was only fair that he was named the world’s best male player by the BWF. The crazy thing is that he can improve in 2023. He’s already won the Malaysia Open this month to kick things off.
Source: The Nordic Page