New life. 2022 wake up in sandals run new and healthy life intentions to tear down gyms around the world. But, old sport, Spain and the world also have plans for the new year. And the agenda is ‘filled’ with promises.
All eyes point to a date still far away: the Football World Cup in Qatar, between November and December. But before that appointment, which is a mix of competition, interest and controversy, another meeting with similar material will be held, Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Behind these two macro events are the two strongest entities in global sport, FIFA and the IOC, now fighting over the calendar. “Between the two there is a strong debate because FIFA has launched the lure of hosting the World Cup every two years, but the IOC has raised its hand to say that what happened here, where you fit into the Olympics ”, explains Paloma del Río.
But TVE’s Olympic sound expands the landscape of a year already begun. “They are two sources, but there is much more,” he pointed out before starting to talk about another milestone marked in red, the women’s European Cup, which should be a step forward in equality on the playing field. 2022 is also the year that the long-awaited revolution in F1 or the World Athletics Championships arrives, one of the major milestones of any biennial cycle.
The Olympics return to the Chinese capital 14 years later, this time in Winter mode. With media coverage unquestionably in Spain (not so in any other country), Beijing faces a challenge as sporting as it is political.
Announcement of a diplomatic boycott by the United States, Britain and other powers, as well as doubts about the EU’s position, stayed away from the athletics part of the event. The blockade will not affect athletes, or those from these countries, but it would mean a refusal to send official representatives to “human rights abuses” in China, as the Biden administration has denounced.
“A touch of attention to the world”, as he called it Mario Esteban, researcher at the Elcano Royal Institute which is only partially reminiscent of what was experienced in the worst years of the Cold War, when the US and then the Soviet Union boycotted their Olympics. It happened in Moscow ’80 and Los Angeles ’84. “In that case the boycott is over, also sport, now it won’t go so far,” the expert added.
Speaking of sports only, Spain’s options were significantly reduced with respect to the last Olympics, in Pyeongchang in 2018. There Spain adds third and fourth medals in its entire winter historyBut none reached Beijing. Withdrawal from skater Regino Hernández and skater Javier Fernández held back the aspirations of the delegation, which would continue to be small in numbers. For Beijing’22, the illusion passes Lucas Eguibar, world champion in snowboard cross in 2021 or Queralt Castellet, world doubles medalist in halfpipe, if they consolidate their classification.
From February to November. Putting aside the many controversies about institutional homophobia, corruption in concessions and the systematic persecution of immigrant workers, we can talk about football. in a “created” country, as Luis Aragonés put it during a visit to Qatar in 2011.
The petrodollar power has wooed FIFA to the point of accepting that the World Cup be held between November and December due to the impossibility of doing so on a summer date due to the extreme weather conditions in the Gulf. Not a problem for the sport’s supreme governing body, which favors the cessation of all competitions shortly after the start of a calendar season unseen in modern football.
Spain will. With more suffering than desired, Luis Enrique’s men confirmed their ticket to Qatar on the final day of qualifying. Now is the time to wait for the rivals, but La Roja will start as seeds, which a priori guarantees a more affordable group. From there anything can happen.
Qatar may, if the age logic is met, the last World Cup icon like Messi or Ronaldo. Nobody has ever had a golden trophy in their hands and the winter of 2022 will be their definitive asset. Talking about favourites is complex over the next year and with teams like Germany or Brazil undergoing reconstruction. Currently, Spain, a European Cup semi-finalist and a Nations League runner-up counts, which is not small.
European Cup Women
Long before the ball rolls in the Gulf, it will be in England from 6 to 31 July, the women’s football window, with the European Cup. Spain will also go there, with Alexia Putellas’ new Ballon d’Or and a new team capable of reaching high levels.
After the promotion of the 2019 World Cup in France to women’s football and progress in favor of equality – there is still a long way to go – England can it should be another turning point.
“This should be a boost to the women’s competition and one we deserve to give importance to. When you look at the female soccer audience, you see that it matters. Obviously everyone memorized the men, First, Second, regional … but women followed because they loved this sport. I ask for patience to give it the value it deserves, because it is beautiful, technical and interesting ”, adds Paloma del Río.
World Cup revolution in F1, with Alonso and Sainz
“Plan”. Two words held by Fernando Alonso, his team (Alpine) and his legions of fans ‘green shoots’ visible as they return to the top competition, including the podium. 2022 will be, or so they sell, a revolutionary World Cup. If the plans of the International Automotive Federation are fulfilled, the biggest rule change in decades will occur.
The cars will change almost entirely, except for the engine: the design, the aerodynamics, the philosophy … even the so-called ‘ground effect’ is taken back, which makes it possible to roll close to other cars to support overtaking.
Little is known today about what the new F1 will look like, but more open competition is expected. The 2021 Verstappen-Hamilton rivalry, the two as the only real contenders for the ultimate win, it could be opened to a wider range of names. And in the revolution that everyone hoped for and almost everyone wanted, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz wanted to rule, ending the year as the best of ‘humans’ after Mercedes and Red Bull.
World Athletics Championships
Spain has reason to be excited about the appointment of Eugene (USA). The real king of sports takes place between July 15 and 24 at one of the temples of international athletics.
The generation that stands out in Tokyo 2020 led by Ana Peleteiro and followed by Adrián Ben, Asier Martínez or Marta Pérez plus an outstanding marching team, will face the sporting elite who are already on high ground. The best attendance is highly expected in an event that is also felt by a pandemic.
The obligation to move the Olympics to 2021 led to the move of this World Cup to 2022. In anticipation of another World Cup, the indoor track, also changed the calendar a year ago, based in the Chinese city of Nankin.
And what else: goodbye Valverde, ‘Hispanics’ and ‘warriors’ …
As an event, 2022 will see the farewell, if no surprises, of a legend like Alejandro Valverde. Cyclist Murcian promises to get off the bike at 42 after winning the World Cup, Tour of Spain plus 12 stages and six podiums, Liege-Bastogne-Liege four times, Arrow of Walloon five, podiums and stage victories on the Tour and the Giro … so up to 130 times with arms raised. It’s a mix of hunger and talent that will earn the public’s affection in his final campaign.
More wood. When it comes to football, the Champions League and LaLiga cannot be ignored, which although yearly, are very intense in the 2022-2023 season. The question of whether Barcelona will be able to rebuild, the evolution of the Spanish team’s bad moments… and with the shadow of the Super League looming.
By the team, the sport leads to awareness of handball. The “Hispanics” disputed the World Cup in January and the European “warriors” in December. It’s also important to see the Swimming World Cup, in the absence of Mireia Belmonte, and the Women’s Basketball World Cup, even without the Spanish team for the first time in years after the wonderful cycle ended abruptly in 2021.
They often came late in the evening—and sometimes in the morning—from the armchair. Don’t say we didn’t warn.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.
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