It is normal at this time of year to select a top 10 moments in Tasmanian sport for 2018.
It is not normal that this could refer to just one event.
1. Golden Coast
April’s Commonwealth Games took Tasmania’s record books and threw them almost as far away as Hamish Peacock hurled his javelin to become one of the state’s 10 medal winners.
Peacock and weightlifter Kaity Fassina were the only medallists not to strike gold.
Furthermore, three Tasmanians landed multiple gold medals as lawn bowler Rebecca Van Asch and track cyclist Amy Cure doubled up while freestyle swimmer Ariarne Titmus finished with three golds and one silver.
Triathlete Jake Birtwhistle secured team gold and individual silver while the victorious Boomers and Kookaburras teams both contained two delighted Tasmanians.
For a state that had never previously won more than three titles at one Commonwealth Games, it was indeed a golden time on the Gold Coast.
2. Big splash
Tasmanian swimmers getting selected for national teams are generally as commonplace as Donald Trump apologies.
Only a handful have gone on to Olympic Games, two of whom returned with bronze medals.
So for a Tasmanian swimmer to become a two-time world champion and set a world record is the sort of unchartered waters Abel Tasman drifted into in 1642.
Titmus did exactly that (two titles and a world record, not discovering Van Diemen’s Land).
The 18-year-old hit the touch pad in Hangzhou, China, in 3:53.92 to take the 400m freestyle short-course world record off Jianjiahe Wang, who then had the pleasure of finishing second in front of her home supporters.
3. Goal keepers
The AFL goal-kicking award came down to a two-horse race, and they were both Tasmanian thoroughbreds.
North Melbourne’s Ben Brown galloped into an early lead before Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt won by a nose.
Riewoldt’s tally of 65 for the reigning premiers featured only two goalless games as Brown finished on 61 – clear of also-rans Tom Hawkins, Lance Franklin and Luke Breust.
Having also achieved the accolade with the same tally in 2012 and with 78 goals in 2010, Riewoldt became the first Richmond player to claim three Coleman Medals.
It also extended his state’s stranglehold over the Tigers’ leading goal-kicker award named after seven-time winner Michael Roach and won by just three non-Tasmanians in the last 25 years thanks to the dominance of Riewoldt (nine wins) and Matthew Richardson (13).
4. Suisse timing
While also helping Alberto Contador, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome to Grand Tour success, Richie Porte’s decade-long career with three of cycling’s biggest teams has yielded an impressive wardrobe of general classification jerseys.
Overall victories at Paris-Nice (2013 and '15), Volta ao Algarve ('12), Giro del Trentino ('15), Volta a Catalunya ('15), Tour de Romandie ('17) and Tour Down Under ('17) have been complemented by numerous stage wins.
But he rates this year’s Tour de Suisse as his biggest individual success.
“Being a nine-day race, I would put that above Paris-Nice. Outside the Grand Tours, it’s probably the biggest,” he said.
Porte was to add a team time trial victory at the Tour de France before another untimely crash ended his hopes of a Paris podium.
5. Paine relief
In the early afternoon of Tuesday, December 18, Tim Paine became the second Tasmanian to lead Australia to a Test win.
He may still have been 47 behind Ricky Ponting’s tally, but it was perhaps the most welcome catch of the wicket-keeper’s roller-coaster career.
A year after contemplating retirement when left out of the Tassie Tigers team, the injury-plagued Paine first landed a surprise international recall and then assumed the captaincy in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town which led to lengthy bans for the leadership team of Steve Smith and David Warner.
At a time of unprecedented turmoil, Paine’s mature captaincy, exemplary keeping and steady batting was to earn high praise from the sport’s traditionally hard-to-please pundits.
After defeats to South Africa, Pakistan and India, victory over Virat Kohli’s men in Perth must have felt a long-time coming.
6. World fair
Winning team gold and individual silver medals at a Commonwealth Games on home soil guarantees widespread coverage, but it was Jake Birtwhistle’s performance at a global level that catapulted him beyond fellow Gold Coast champions to the Tasmanian Athlete of the Year award.
The humble 23-year-old finished third in the ITU World Triathlon Series, becoming just the second Aussie to achieve a podium finish.
A champion ambassador as well as triathlete, who had also helped Australia win a silver medal at the mixed relay world championships, Birtwhistle said: “It's been such a big year for Tasmanian sport and to be recognised as a contributor to that is one thing and taking out the award is another."
7. Kooking lesson
It is a testament to the phenomenal success of both Eddie Ockenden and his Kookaburras teammates that their bronze medal at the World Cup in December may have been viewed as a disappointment.
The most experienced member of the squad in India, Ockenden had won both his previous World Cup tournaments and was responsible for the last-minute equaliser that took the semi-final to a penalty shootout.
The Dutch prevailed 4-3 before Ockenden led the Aussies to an 8-1 thrashing of England to add a bronze medal to the golds he helped them win earlier this season at the International Festival of Hockey, World League Final, Sultan Azlan Shah, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy.
8. Perth glory
Having just squeezed into the Big Bash League semi-finals despite an inferior net run rate to the fifth-placed Sydney Sixers, the Hobart Hurricanes were viewed as lambs to the slaughter when entering the furnace of the reigning champions and minor premiers.
But in front of 53,000 expectant spectators at the magnificent new Perth Stadium, the Scorchers were blown away in the match of the tournament.
Matthew Wade’s 71 ultimately proved the margin of victory as Dan Christian’s 4-17 ensured the home side never got near the formidable total of 4-210.
Sadly there was to be no fairytale ending for George Bailey’s men who, just three days later, went down to an Adelaide Strikers outfit that had squeezed into the final with a one-run defeat of Melbourne Renegades.
9. Distant feat
Since winning the 2017 Zatopek Classic, Stewart McSweyn had set personal best times over six different distances.
When he repeated the victory in December and slashed another 15 seconds off his PB, McSweyn firmly cemented his status as Australia’s best distance runner since Craig Mottram.
One of the few Tasmanian Commonwealth Games representatives not to land a medal, McSweyn has monopolised Tasmanian running records while proudly projecting his native King Island onto the Australian athletics map.
Furthermore, Nic Bideau, who coached both, is firmly of the belief that McSweyn will eventually surpass Mottram’s achievements.
10. Wurf the wait
Becoming an Olympic rower and WorldTour cyclist wasn’t enough for Cam Wurf.
Reversing the sporting career switch that saw Porte give up on triathlon to become a top cyclist, Wurf utilised his riding pedigree by branching out into ironman events.
For the second year running he set a cycling record while leading the world championship in Hawaii.
Never one to rest on his laurels, the 35-year-old Wurf set himself a simple goal for 2019: “I have to aim to win – it’s the obvious target.”