Sports Quotes of the Year
Andy Hampson picks out the most memorable sporting quotes from 2012
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Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, reflects on a brilliant Olympic Games: "When our time came, Britain - we did it right. Thank you!"
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge borrows deftly from the national anthem to capture the Games' atmosphere: "These were happy and glorious Games."
London Mayor Boris Johnson: "If you were to say to me that we have just held the greatest games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track."
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- Victory parade
Coe after Edith Bosch, Holland's judo bronze medallist, hit out physically and verbally at a spectator who tried to disrupt the Olympic 100m final by throwing a bottle onto the track: "I'm not suggesting vigilantism but it was actually poetic justice that they happened to be sitting next to a judo player. I think the expression is 'ippon'."
HEROES AND WINNERS
Bradley Wiggins jokes after being handed the microphone on the podium after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France: "Right, we're just going to draw the raffle numbers."
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- Tour stage 20 gallery
Wiggins realises the enormity of his achievements after adding Olympic time-trial gold to his Tour title: "To go out there and put a performance like that together nine days after the Tour and win another Olympic title in another event, it is never, ever going to get any better than that."
Mo Farah celebrates after completing a stunning double of Olympic 10,000 and 5,000m titles: "I am just amazed - two gold medals, who would have thought that?"
Andy Murray manages just three words before breaking down in tears after losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer. He returned to the same venue a month later to beat the Swiss in the Olympic final: "I'm getting closer."
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- US Open - Day 15
Murray, after ending Britain's 76-year wait for a men's singles grand slam winner at the US Open: "When I realised I had won, I was a little bit shocked, I was very relieved and I was very emotional."
Rory McIlroy is almost lost for words after winning the USPGA title at Kiawah Island by eight strokes: "I don't think I have let it sink in yet - I am speechless."
Usain Bolt after becoming the first man to win the Olympic 100 and 200m sprint double twice in succession: "I'm now a living legend. Bask in my glory."
Heptathlete Jessica Ennis, poster girl for London 2012, after claiming the Olympic gold that seemed her destiny: "I told myself at the start that I'm only going to have one moment to do this in front of a crowd in London and I just wanted to give them a good show."
Sir Chris Hoy bows out of Olympic competition after winning his British record sixth gold: "This is enough for me - this is the perfect end to my Olympic career."
Ben Ainslie warns his Finn class rivals before going out to complete victory and claim a fourth Olympic gold: "They've made a big mistake. They've made me angry and you don't want to make me angry."
Nicola Adams plans her modest celebrations after winning Olympic boxing gold: "I'm going out with the old man and the family to Nando's."
Alistair Brownlee lives up to his billing to win triathlon gold: "The pressure was stacked up and so many things put to bed today."
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- Britain's golds
Greg Rutherford feels he should have bettered the 8.31m that won him Olympic long jump gold: "I thought I was going to jump further than that, but I don't care, I'm Olympic champion."
Nick Skelton, at the age of 54, finally wins an Olympic gold at his sixth Games by helping Britain to team showjumping success: "It's been a long time coming."
Former Canada Paralympian Jeff Adams hails Great Britain's David Weir, winner of four Paralympic gold medals at London 2012, as the best wheelchair racer of all time: "I don't want to say he's unbeatable - but you can't beat him."
Ellie Simmonds pays tribute to the crowd after retaining her Paralympic 400m title in a time five seconds inside the old world record: "When I came out and there was a massive roar it gave me a massive buzz."
Oscar Pistorious, beaten into fourth place, praises the performance of Britain's Jonnie Peacock in winning gold in the Paralympic T44 100m: "We just witnessed one of the great performances from Jonnie."
Cyclist Sarah Storey struggles to take in the enormity of her achievement after winning her fourth gold of the London Paralympics and the 11th of her career: "I don't know if it will ever sink in."
Tom Daley celebrates his bronze medal in the Olympic 10m platform diving: "It was an amazing moment after all the things I've been through. All the hard work and all the things I've done... along with my dad. I wish he was there to see it but I know he'd be proud of what I've done."
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini after his side's injury time victory over QPR sealed the Barclays Premier League title: "It's fantastic for the club and the supporters after 44 years. It's been a crazy season and a crazy last minute."
Didier Drogba, scorer of the winning penalty, believes Chelsea's Champions League final win over Bayern Munich represented the fulfilment of their destiny: "It was written, I think, a long time ago."
Warrington coach Tony Smith hails Brett Hodgson after the veteran Australian recovered from being knocked out to play a starring role in the Challenge Cup final win over Leeds: "I've said before he's not the fastest, strongest - or even the best-looking - but he knows how to play footy."
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- Challenge Cup final
Teenage striker Tony Watt after scoring the goal which secured a famous 2-1 win for Celtic over Barcelona: "It's probably the best moment of my life, I'll look back at it when I'm older and think, 'We've just beaten Barcelona in the Champions League' - there's nothing better."
World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst pays tribute to England captain Steven Gerrard ahead of winning his 100th cap: "If you asked me to name the Premier League footballer who has given me the most pleasure, or who I would pay good money to watch, this century, Gerrard would be my choice."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic delivers an understated description of his 25-yard bicycle kick in Sweden's 4-2 friendly win over England: "It was a nice goal."
Captain Jose Maria Olazabal thanks his team, referencing his late great friend Seve Ballesteros, after Europe's Ryder Cup win at Medinah: "All men die but not all men live and you made me feel alive again this week."
Lee Westwood reflects on Europe team-mate Ian Poulter's awe-inspiring performance: "We have actually revised the qualification for next time. It's nine (qualifying) spots, two picks and Poults."
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- Ryder Cup celebrations
Rory McIlroy breathes a sigh of relief after coming within minutes of missing the tee time for his singles match against Keegan Bradley after a mix-up over American time zones: "I don't want to imagine what it would have been like if we'd lost by a point."
Kevin Pietersen sparks an extraordinary stand-off with the England and Wales Cricket Board which led to him being frozen out of the national side for two months: "For me, the saddest part about all this is that the spectators just love watching me play. But the politics is what I have to deal with personally. It's tough being me in this dressing room."
Dereck Chisora threatens David Haye further after the pair brawl at a press conference, an incident which prompted a police investigation, widespread condemnation and - not surprisingly to any cynic - promoters to fix up a big-money fight between the pair: "I am physically going to shoot David Haye."
Chelsea captain John Terry admits his mistake after getting sent off in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Thankfully for him his team-mates got him out of trouble: "I've seen the replay and it does look bad. I'm not that type of player to intentionally hurt anyone. I'm disappointed but delighted for the lads."
Football Association chairman David Bernstein accepts an apology from Ashley Cole after the England defender tweeted derogatory remarks about the organisation: "He showed real remorse. I looked him in the eye and I accept that. He is free to play for England."
QPR's Joey Barton tries to explain the actions - a sending-off followed by further clashes with two Manchester City players - which landed him a 12-match ban from the FA: "Once I'd been sent off, one of our players suggested I should try to take 1 of theirs with me. Never worked but god loves a trier."
Jonathan Marks, agent for Phillips Idowu, voices his client's displeasure at a British Olympic Association request to view his medical records after missing a Team GB training camp: "He's incredibly disappointed and surprised as to why the BOA has chosen to do this."
Carlos Tevez draws a line under his long stand-off with Manchester City by returning from unauthorised leave in Argentina: "I wish to apologise sincerely and unreservedly to everybody I have let down and to whom my actions over the last few months have caused offence."
Andrew Strauss, one of England's most successful Test captains after winning Ashes series home and away, announces his retirement: "I think I have run my race."
A tearful Victoria Pendleton looks forward to retirement after being forced to settle for sprint silver in her final Olympic event: "I'm never going to wear a skinsuit again. I'm looking forward to having a bit more of a life."
England manager Fabio Capello puts himself on collision course with the FA by disagreeing with a decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy: "I thought it was right that Terry should keep the captain's armband."
Scotland manager Craig Levein after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Macedonia in World Cup qualifying: "It isn't as bad as people might make out. I am very positive about where we are going." He was sacked a month later.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean, undeterred by relegation and by being a hate figure among Rovers fans, vows to fight on after a dismal season: "I will sit down with the owners and discuss a plan on how to assemble a squad to help us bounce back up straight away." The axe finally fell early in the next campaign.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn reacts to news the world champion is to take a break from the sport: "The game doesn't revolve around just Ronnie O'Sullivan, but we'll miss him because he's an exciting talent."
Former England captain David Beckham looks for a new challenge: "I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career."
Trainer Sir Henry Cecil gives his verdict on Frankel, who was retired after winning a 14th successive race: "He's the best I've ever had. He's the best I've ever seen. I'd be surprised if there's ever been any better."
Trainer Paul Nicholls announces the retirement of Kauto Star, winner of the Cheltenham God Cup twice and the King George VI Chase a record five times: "Deep down, we know he has done enough - and in some ways I think we have to protect him from himself. And maybe ourselves, too."
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- Kauto Star career
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher confirms he will quit Formula One for a second time: "I still feel I am capable of competing against the best but the time sometimes comes to say goodbye and this time it might be forever."
Pep Guardiola announces his decision to stand down as Barcelona coach: "I could have continued but that is not what Barca would have deserved."
Seven-time world snooker champion Stephen Hendry has no regrets after announcing his retirement at the Crucible: "It's sad that I won't play here again. I love playing here, but no, it's a relief as much as anything."
Kenny Dalglish opts not to focus on the team's eighth-placed Premier League finish after being axed as Liverpool manager: "Of course I am disappointed with results in the league but I would not have swapped the Carling Cup win for anything as I know how much it meant to our fans."
Roy Hodgson dreams of success after being appointed England manager: "I'm hoping everyone in England gets behind their football team, because we want to give this country the successful football team we've been waiting for since 1966."
A gracious Harry Redknapp after losing out on the England manager's job to Hodgson: "No I don't think it will happen now - I wouldn't think it would ever happen now. I wish Roy all the best. He has got four years and I hope he sees the four years out."
Former England centre Jeremy Guscott welcomes the appointment of Stuart Lancaster as permanent head coach after a successful spell as interim boss: "The results made it almost impossible not to give him the job."
Robin van Persie reveals the decision to leave Arsenal and join United was child's play: "In these situations, when you have to make a hard decision in your life, I always listen to that little boy inside me. That boy was screaming for Manchester United."
Compared to life under George Gillett and Tom Hicks at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez believes working for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich should be straightforward: "We have an owner, a technical director Michael Emenalo and a good staff. It's easy. I don't have two owners who don't talk to each other."
Chief executive Jez Moxey, who previously said the Wolves manager's position was "no job for a novice", explains the appointment of the inexperienced Terry Connor: "I would refute he is a novice totally."
Ricky Hatton explains his reasons for attempting a comeback: "I want people to be proud of me again. I had my problems but I'm over that now and I want people to look at me in a different light. I don't want people to see how I flushed my life away."
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- Hatton v Senchenko
Sir Alex Ferguson welcomes 37-year-old Paul Scholes' decision to come out of retirement: "He came to see me and said he was missing it too much. There were no negatives as far as I'm concerned."
Former Tottenham manager Glenn Hoddle voices his surprise at the club's appointment of former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas: "I thought it might have been better for him to go and reinvent himself elsewhere before he had another crack at English football."
Thierry Henry reflects on a 'debut' goal after rejoining Arsenal on a short-term loan: "I never thought I was going to play for Arsenal again or score a winner. I don't know what to say."
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff reflects on his dramatic switch of sports to boxing: "I loved playing cricket but we used to break for sandwiches. In boxing, you go into your corner and you have a minute between rounds."
The United States Anti-Doping Authority publish the findings of an investigation which leads to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles: "USADA has found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods."
Tyler Hamilton, one of 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates who gave evidence to USADA: "Lance and I were team-mates for four years. I saw it. We doped together. Hopefully he'll just come out with the truth."
The expletive-free part of cyclist Jody Cundy's rant after being disqualified from the C4-5 1km at the Paralympics: "Do you know what it's like? Four years of my life. I'll never get the chance to do it. In front of a 6,000 home crowd, I'll never get this opportunity ever, ever again. Never. What am I supposed to do?"
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is appalled at Luis Suarez's apparent refusal to shake Patrice Evra's hand: "He is a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club. That player should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again."
Taekwondo world number one Aaron Cook after being controversially overlooked for selection for the Olympics: "The Olympics, and especially a home Olympics, would have been the pinnacle of my career. I feel totally devastated."
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn criticises Mark Allen for publicly accusing opponent Cao Yupeng of cheating and suggesting Chinese players lack integrity: "This is a very good time to be a snooker player. It's not a good time to be an idiot."
Oscar Pistorious sparks one of the biggest rows in Paralympics history by complaining about the length of rival Alan Oliveira's blades: "We are not running a fair race here, absolutely ridiculous."
Badminton World Federation chief executive Thomas Lund apologises for the embarrassment brought on the Olympics after four women's doubles pairs - all later disqualified - deliberately tried to lose to manipulate the draw: "We are very, very sorry that this has happened, both for the players and for the sport."
Then Rangers chairman Craig Whyte, speaking in February, plays down the scale of the crisis looming over his club: "I wouldn't say crisis is the right word. Not at the moment."
Rangers manager Ally McCoist tires of the long saga surrounding the club, which led to them being reformed in the Third Division: "It is now over five months since Rangers went into administration. It is time to start playing football again... it's time to stop kicking Rangers and start getting Scottish football looking forward not back."
Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is stunned after being attacked on the field by a Leeds fan: "I felt the full force and I was just shocked because you never know what could have been in his hands."
Sir Alex Ferguson is confident of Mark Clattenburg's innocence after the referee is accused by Chelsea of making inappropriate language to Chelsea players: "I don't believe Mark Clattenburg would make any comments like that. I refuse to believe it."
Hugh Dallas, former head of referee development at the Scottish Football Association, is not impressed with Celtic manager Neil Lennon's behaviour after his team's Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Hearts: "I can't remember in 25 years of refereeing seeing a manager run that far onto a pitch to bully a referee."
Rio Ferdinand is saddened after being left out of England's squad for Euro 2012: "Absolutely loved playing for England. To say I am gutted is an understatement of the highest order."
Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba speaks of his incredible recovery after suffering a cardiac arrest during a match against Tottenham: "On the morning of the game I prayed with my father and asked God to protect me - and he didn't let me down."
MADNESS OF MARIO
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini after Mario Balotelli brushed off reports he broke a club curfew by scoring against Bolton: "Maybe next time if he goes to sleep early he can score three or four goals."
Mancini sums up another exasperating week trying to manage Balotelli: "I told him, 'If you played with me, 10 years ago, I give to you every day one punch in your head!"'.
Henning Berg criticises Blackburn, five months before taking over as Rovers manager: "There are no real managers with credibility who would accept a job like that."
QPR boss Mark Hughes looks forward after escaping relegation from the Premier League on the final day of the season: "I feel we'll never be in this situation again while I'm the manager." He was sacked in November, with his team bottom.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger defends himself against criticism from fans after substituting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a loss to Manchester United: "I've been a manager for 30 years and have made 50,000 subs. I do not have to justify every decision I make."
Mario Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola is unhappy with referee Howard Webb's after his client is subjected to retrospective action for stamping on Tottenham's Scott Parker: "I'm really mad and I think the Football Association should send this referee to the optician."
Christopher Samba hits out at Blackburn owners Venky's before eventually securing a move away from Ewood Park: "I've got nothing against the manager. This is between me and the owners. It's personal."
Swindon boss Paolo di Canio reminisces about beating Man Utd as a player before his side's Capital One Cup clash with Aston Villa: "Sending Manchester United out was amazing. It was like having sex with Madonna, and beating Villa as a manager would be just as good."
Shanghai Shenhua owner Zhu Jun after signing Didier Drogba from Chelsea: "It's like flirting with a girl. Perhaps she will resist you at first, but if you continue to ask her out, it always ends well. Never give up."
Rafael Nadal has no intention of watching a full re-run of his marathon 5hr 53min Australian Open final defeat to Novak Djokovic: "No, it's too long. Just the highlights."
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- Australian Open Day 14
David Moyes sees the funny side after Liverpool's Luis Suarez dives in front of him to celebrate a goal, the Everton manager having previously suggested the player goes to ground easily: "I thought it was great. I actually quite liked that - it is the sort of thing I would have done had I scored."
Reading manager Brian McDermott after his team surrender a 4-0 lead to lose a Capital One Cup tie to Arsenal 7-5: "This game will be remembered for a long time, and that makes me feel a whole lot worse!"
Former Oasis frontman and Manchester City fan Liam Gallagher makes an impromptu appearance at a post-match press conference: "Ferguson must have been on the whisky. I love Mancini, he is nearly as cool as me."
Sir Alex Ferguson is starting to feel he let Cristiano Ronaldo leave Manchester United on the cheap: "Never mind £80million, I'm saying to myself now that it should have been £800million."
Roy Hodgson vows never to reveal England team details to fellow Tube passengers again: "I've paid for it. I shall learn in future, and maybe this will be a lesson for all those people who see me on the Tube."
Harry Redknapp after being cleared of tax-dodging charges at Southwark Crown Court: "It really has been a nightmare, I've got to be honest. It's been five years and this is a case that should never have come to court because it's unbelievable really."