Not even a global pandemic could hinder Tasmanian sporting achievement in 2020.
The second half of my top 10 stories of the year (the first five were in last week's column, get with the game) sees more of our champions keeping Tasmania on the global sporting map.
Drum roll now, complaints later.
5. A cut above
- WHAT: David Foster becomes first woodchopper inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame
- WHERE: via Zoom from the Foster residence, Devonport
- WHEN: December 4
It is a mark of the man that David Foster was as pleased for his sport as he was for himself upon becoming the first woodchopper inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
"Our sport is 150 years old and I'm the first woodchopper to be recognised but we've had some of the best in the world from Australia, and especially Tasmania, so to get the sport recognised is important to me," said the jovial 64-year-old father-of-four and grandfather-of-nine from Devonport.
The scale of the 186-time world champion's achievement could be judged by the quality of those joining him as Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, basketball superstar Lauren Jackson and Olympic diving champion Matthew Mitcham were also inducted into the exclusive club.
"For a kid who left school at 15 and copped all the fat jokes, to win 186 world titles is not too bad," added the modest man mountain.
4. Jump on board
- WHAT: The Tasmanian JackJumpers join the NBL
- WHERE: NBL headquarters, Queens Road, Melbourne, Victoria
- WHEN: February 28
Five words atop an email signalled the end of years of Tasmanian sporting neglect.
Aside from cricket and hockey - which both opted for the moniker Tigers - Tasmanian teams in national sporting competitions are about as commonplace as thylacines.
But that email headline "TASMANIA SECURES 10TH NBL TEAM" (justifiably underlined in bold capitals) saw basketball take the leap that Australia's football codes had chosen not to.
Announcements about the team's name, board and home stadium - with the coach also soon to be locked in - would all follow what that email accurately termed "a landmark agreement between the Tasmanian Government and the NBL".
However the JackJumpers fair from season 2021-22 onwards, NBL owner Larry Kestelman is to be lauded for going where the likes of Gillon McLachlan couldn't be bothered.
3. Paine relief
- WHAT: Tim Paine leads Australia to rampant victories
- WHERE: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA
- WHEN: December 19
Much like the national team he leads, Tim Paine's calendar year began and ended with achievements momentous enough to ignore the dearth of action between them.
Thanks to old mate COVID-19, the Australian men's Test team did not play between January 6 and December 17.
However, the first of those dates witnessed a second straight innings defeat of Pakistan following a 3-0 defeat of New Zealand by margins of 296, 247 and 279 runs to wrap up a perfect summer.
That team's captain would then become its man of the match in a sensational first Test victory over Virat Kohli's India.
On a batting deck where only one other teammate made it beyond 15, the 35-year-old Tasmanian scored a speedy unbeaten 73 and also claimed seven catches to outshine bowlers with figures as good as Josh Hazlewood's 5-8.
2. Cap that
- WHAT: Eddie Ockenden becomes Australia's most-capped international hockey player
- WHERE: Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth, WA
- WHEN: March 7
Five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer paid the ultimate tribute as long-time teammate Eddie Ockenden equalled his record of Australian international hockey appearances.
"If there was anyone to pass the record, I'd want Eddie to pass it," Dwyer said as the talismanic Tasmanian played his 365th match for the Kookaburras.
The 32-year-old father-of-two eclipsed the benchmark a day later in the second of two FIH Pro League matches against Argentina in Perth.
The Kookaburras, and their inspirational Tasmanian two-time World Cup-winning co-captain, would have to wait more than a year to play again with the next Pro League fixture scheduled in April 2021.
There's still plenty of copies of https://t.co/8AKGz5AuXa available ($29.95) and just look how happy it made Hadspen sporting legends @Corey_Martin91 and @richie_porte.— Rob Shaw (@TheShawThing) September 8, 2020
You too could be that happy. Order at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook.
Happy to post ($42.20) or deliver. pic.twitter.com/ay6YrZpkPQ
1. Tour de force
- WHAT: Richie Porte podiums at the Tour de France
- WHERE: Champs Elysees, Paris, France
- WHEN: September 20
It may have taken 13 years to arrive, but 2020 will almost certainly go down as the defining season of Richie Porte's cycling career.
Elusive success in the world's biggest annual sporting event had long over-shadowed the Hadspen prodigy's numerous victories, but a second Tour Down Under crown in January and couple of other podium placings boded well heading into his 10th Tour de France.
Predictably, it was not without its usual dramas, but Porte conquered crosswinds and punctures to snatch third place in the penultimate-stage time trial.
The sacrifice of missing the birth of his second child was rewarded with the photo the 35-year-old wants to remember his cycling career by - appropriately framed by the Arc de Triomphe.