Ten things to know from last week. January 11-17 2022: a Dakar record-breaker, Snow sports, FIFA's "The Best"...
  1. Arab in Arabia. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT, Toyota) / Mathieu Baumel (FRA) won their third Dakar Rally together, the fourth for All-Attiyah. Sam Sunderland (ENG, Gas Gas) won Motos for a second time; Dmitry Sotnikov, Ruslan Akhmadeev, and Ilgiz Akhmetzianov (RUS, Kamaz) lead a Kamaz 1-2-3-4 in Trucks, for the 18th win in 22 years for the Russian truck manufacturer. Francisco López Contardo and Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHL, Can-Am) won in Light Prototypes, for the third win in four editions by López, while Seth Quintero (USA) and Dennis Senz (DEU) broke the record for most Stages won in one edition, with 11 out of 12. He would have probably won had he not had a brake issue. Austin Jones (USA, Can-Am) and Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) won in SSV’s in spite of Marek Goczał’ and Lukasz Laskawiec’s (POL, Can-Am) eight stage wins. Alexandre Giroud (FRA, Yamaha) won in Quads, 25 years after his dad, David Giroud (FRA), was the first-ever Quads finisher. David passed away due to the pandemic.
  2. Dukurs and Friedrich. Martins Dukurs (LVA) won his record-extending 11th Skeleton World Cup, after winning the Finale in St. Moritz (CHE). In Women’s Skeleton, Kimberley Bos (NED) became the first Dutch slider to win an overall World Cup, while Jaclyn Narracott (AUS) became the first Australian to win a World Cup race. In Bobsleigh, Elana Meyers Taylor (USA) became the first-ever Monobob World Series Champion and also won the 2-Woman Bob World Cup. Kim Kalicki and Lisa Buckwitz won the race (DEU). In Men’s Bobsleigh, Francesco Friedrich closed his record-breaking Champion season with a win in the 2-Man competition with Thorsten Margis (DEU), and a second place in the 4-Man competition -albeit with a track record-, in what was the last race for two-time World Champion and teammate Alexander Rödiger (DEU). Oskars Kibermanis (LVA) took his first World Cup race win in five years.
  3. The Best. Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern München) won “The Best FIFA 2021” award for the world’s best Association Football player, ahead of Lionel Messi (ARG, Paris Saint-Germain) and Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool). He won the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup, held in 2021. Alexia Putellas (ESP, FC Barcelona) won the Women’s top award. She won the 2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League.
  4. Deported. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 9-times Australian Open Champion, will not defend his title in the Grand Slam event, as the Australian authorities deport him due to his ‘unvaccinated’ status. The Australian Immigration Minister determined that his presence “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”
  5. Double virtual win. Team Redline impressed by taking both the LMP and GTE categories at the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans. Formula E’ driver Oliver Rowland (ENG), Formula 2 driver Felipe Drugovich (BRA), Jeffrey Rietveld (NED), and Michal Smidl (CZE) won the race. Formula 1 Champion, Max Verstappen (NED, Redline), took the early lead but crashed out seven hours into the race. Their GTE car featured simracers Rudy van Buren (NED), Lorenzo Colombo (ITA), Enzo Bonito (ITA), and Kevin Siggy (SVN). Redline also took both Championships in the Virtual Le Mans Series.
  6. Sweep possibilities. Jeroen Kampschreur (NED) won his ninth Para-Alpine Ski World title in a Spectacular Super-G sitting run, while local Jesper Pedersen (NOR) beat him to the gold in Downhill, and Rene de Silvestro (ITA) pulled the upset in Super combined. Hyacinthe Deleplace (FRA) and Anna-Lena Forster (DEU) are three out of three in the Men’s Visually impaired and Women’s Sitting categories, respectively. Henrieta Farkašová (SVK) won her 16th and 17th World titles. Along with her guide Michal Cerven (SVK), she won both the Downhill and Super-G Women’s Visually impaired races, totally demolishing her competition. Marie Bochet (FRA) won her 19th World Championship gold medal, in the Downhill competition. Nineteen-year-old Varvara Voronchikhina (RUS) beat her in the Super-G and Super Combined, where Bochet won the bronze and silver, respectively, meaning Bochet will not achieve a clean sweep again.
  7. More Para Snow Sports. Also at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer (NOR), Vladislav Lekomtsev (RUS) and Ivan Golubkov (RUS) won three gold medals in their first three Para Nordic Skiing competitions at these Championships in the standing and sitting events, respectively.  Ukraine and the Russian Paralympic Committee had achieved some clean sweeps. Kendall Gretsch (USA), Paratriathlon Paralympic Champion won a gold medal in Cross-Country and one in Para Biathlon at these Championships.
  8. And more. In Para Snowboard, Maxime Montaggioni (FRA) won his third straight Para Snowboard World Championship in Dual Banked Slalom, Men’s SB-UL category, out of four World Championships that have been held in the category. Added to his Snowboard cross SB-UL World Championship in 2019, he is the best of all time in his classification. He beat Jacopo Luchini (ITA) in the Final. Lisa Bunschoten (NED) won in the SB-LL2 and has also won a total of three World Titles.
  9. White goes on. Ayumu Hirano (JPN) won the Laax Open Men’s Halfpipe -part of the Snowboarding World Cup- but Shaun White (USA) caught headlines as the 35-year-old finished third and qualified for his fourth straight Winter Olympic Games. He has won the three previous gold medals in the discipline. Chloe Kim (USA) won the Women’s Halfpipe. Tess Coady (AUS) won the Women’s Slopestyle and Sean Fitzsimons (USA) won the Men’s Slopestyle.
  10. Win without training. Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) won the second Downhill at the Alpine Ski World Cup in spectacular Wengen (CHE) although he missed the training. He did race the first Dowhill, won by Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR). This was the last event for Carlo Janka (CHE), former World and Olympic Champion. Lucas Braathen (NOR) won his first World Cup Slalom after being just 29th in the first run. In Zauchensee (AUT), Lucas Lara Gut-Behrami (CHE) won the Downhill and Federica Brignone (ITA) the Super-G.