As 2021 unfolded a lot of positive things happened. Two of the biggest events on the sporting calendar took place – the Olympic Games and the UEFA European Football Championships. Tokyo 2020 saw the International Olympic Committee introduce five new sports: skateboarding (where Team GB’s 13-year-old Sky Brown shone in the Park event), surfing, karate, baseball/softball, and climbing. Team GB raked in a total of 65 medals, which was their second-best performance ever. And many athletes were recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list – including star cyclists Laura and Jason Kenny, who became the first-ever husband and wife to receive a damehood and knighthood in the same Honours list. BBC Sports Personality saw the England men’s football team win Team of the Year after reaching their first major final in 55 years at the Euros. Ending Britain’s 44-year wait for a women’s Grand Slam singles champion, tennis champion Emma Raducanu took the main award after making a name for herself at Wimbledon and then sensationally winning the US Open at just 18.
In the music world, we finally got an Adele album – which, after just six weeks on sale, became the best-selling album of the year. Top song for 2021, with 1.1 billion streams, was Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’. An impressive outcome for the teen song writing sensation who only released her now-iconic debut album last year. Old favourites ABBA also made a comeback in 2021, taking third spot in the top ten best-selling albums of the year.
Fashion saw the return of ‘physical’ events. New York, London, Milan, and Paris were no longer held hostage by Zoom during fashion month. In September, the much-missed Met Gala returned after two-and-half years, hosted by co-chairs Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka. The theme was all things American fashion – and those on the guestlist impressed. Fresh off the back of her US Open win, Emma Raducanu s made her Met Gala debut, sporting a Chanel monochrome look with pearl detail and Tiffany & Co. diamond earrings. Rihanna stunned in a ruffled Balenciaga overcoat, Olivia Rodrigo amazed in a Saint Laurent sheer off-the-shoulder jumpsuit, and Kim Kardashian bewildered in a Balenciaga black masked full-body suit complete with a veil.
And while the pandemic halted many TV and film productions (a backlog we are most likely to see in the coming months), 2021 still welcomed some hugely popular releases. Of the most-viewed shows on Netflix, Squid Game effortlessly took the top spot, with drama miniseries Maid and the third season of British comedy-drama Sex Education also making it into the top ten. Not surprisingly, the highest-grossing film of 2021 came at the end of the year in the shape of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which also entered the top ten of all time.
So, there you have it. Here’s proof that a lot of things happened – and they weren’t all bad!