YEARENDER-TIMELINE-SPORTS-2012:Timeline - The 2012 sporting year
REUTERS - Here are the key moments from the world of sports in 2012.
January 28 - Victoria Azarenka becomes the first Belarusian to win a grand slam singles title in tennis by claiming the Australian Open.
January 29 - Novak Djokovic won his third Australian Open, beating Rafa Nadal 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5 in a five hour 53 minute slugfest, the longest tennis grand slam final played.
February 5 - The New York Giants win the greatest prize in North American sports for the second time in four years with a nail-biting 21-17 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in Indianapolis.
March 17 - Wales beat France 16-9 in Cardiff to complete the Grand Slam and win rugby's Six Nations title for the third time in eight seasons.
April 8 - American golfer Bubba Watson beats South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen on the second extra hole to win the Masters at Augusta National.
May 5 - I'll Have Another, ridden by Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez, wins the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs before a record crowd of more than 165,000.
May 19 - London soccer club Chelsea beat German team Bayern Munich on penalties to win the European Champions League for the first time.
May 27 - Scotland's Dario Franchitti wins the 96th Indianapolis 500 and joins an elite band of drivers to win America's most famous race at least three times.
June 9 - Russia's Maria Sharapova wins the French Open tennis championship to become just the 10th woman to complete her collection of grand slam trophies.
June 11 - Rafa Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win the French Open tennis championship for a record seventh time.
June 11 - The Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the team's 45-year history by defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in the best-of-seven National Hockey League championship.
June 17 - American golfer Webb Simpson clinches his first major title with a nerve-jangling one-shot victory at the U.S. Open in San Francisco.
June 21 - LeBron James captured his first National Basketball Association title by leading the Miami Heat to a 4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
July 1 - Spain thrashes Italy 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012 in Ukraine, the biggest victory margin in any World Cup or European championship decider.
July 7 - Serena Williams wins Wimbledon for the fifth time, her first grand slam success since she survived a life-threatening blood clot on her lungs.
July 8 - Switzerland's Roger Federer beats Andy Murray to win a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title.
July 22 - South African golfer Ernie Els wins the British Open at age 42 after Australia's Adam Scott bogeys the final four holes.
July 22 - Bradley Wiggins becomes the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.
July 27 - The London Olympics begin with a spectacular opening where seven teenagers light the cauldron.
August 4 - American swimmer Michael Phelps ends his incredible Olympic career on the perfect note, winning his fourth gold medal in London and his 18th overall, twice as many as any other athlete in any sport.
August 5 - Usain Bolt retains his Olympic 100 metres title at London. The Jamaican sprinter also wins gold medals in the 200 and 4x100 relay to replicate his treble from the 2008 Beijing Games.
August 13 - London bids farewell to the Olympic Games with the traditional closing ceremony, bringing the curtain down on more than two weeks of action where the United States topped the medals table with 46 gold.
August 13 - Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots.
August 24 - The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced that American cyclist Lance Armstrong is banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France title wins after refusing to contest charges he used performance enhancing drugs.
September 9 - Serena Williams survives a torrid battle with Victoria Azarenka to win the U.S. Open at age 30, 13 years after she won the first of her four titles at Flushing Meadows.
September 10 - Andy Murray becomes the first British man in 76 years to win a grand slam singles title by beating Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final.
September 29 - The New Zealand All Blacks sealed the southern hemisphere's inaugural rugby championship with a 54-15 win over Argentina in La Plata.
September 30 - Europe produced one of the greatest last-day comebacks seen on a golf course to beat the United States to retain the Ryder Cup.
October 7 - West Indies won the Twenty20 World Cup when they beat hosts Sri Lanka by 36 runs in the final.
October 20 - British racehorse Frankel is retired after winning the Champions Stakes at Ascot, finishing his flawless career with 14 wins from 14 starts.
October 28 - Spain's Jorge Lorenzo sealed his second MotoGP title by cruising to second place in the Australian Grand Prix.
October 28 - The San Francisco Giants completed a 4-0 sweep of the Detroit Tigers to win Major League Baseball's World Series for the second time in three years.
November 25 - Germany's Sebastian Vettel finished sixth in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix to become the youngest triple champion in Formula One history.
(Compiled by Julian Linden)
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