Appreciating the essence of sport also entails appreciating the opportunity that sport provides for redemption, resumption and reinvention. Coming back from retirement, injury, suspension or other situation is inherently difficult. Sometimes sportspeople rewrite the boundaries of what is expected as possible and provide stories that are worth sharing.
The Sportspedia 30: Biggest Comeback, recognizes the sportsperson or team in global sport that best rebounded in a given year vis-à-vis the previous period in terms of performance. This includes coming back from retirement, injury, penalty, disease, loss of form, etc. Back to displaying world-class competitive level and achievement.
The 2021 Edition of the list was curated from our usual coverage of over 120 sports. It is possible we might have missed some great comeback stories. If so, let us know! The period we considered for these comebacks comprised the period from June 17, 2020 to June 17, 2021.
We considered and gave numerical value to the following criteria:
- Performance the previous year(s)
- How unlikely the comeback seemed
- Comeback competitive level of the sport
- Competitive comeback result
- Former level
- Time since level was last achieved
During the period we considered sport itself was making a comeback from an almost total halt of activity due to the pandemic. Sportspeople around the world were able to come back from halting their training, competitive seasons or even disease.
Since that was a condition for everyone, the stories below go beyond just the competition stoppage that affected everyone. Each story is unique and is worth reading about, so go ahead and click on them to find out more about what made each of these comebacks impressive.