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COVID-19 impact: A sports year like none other

Throughout the past year, as the games and events have happened, photographers from The Associated Press were there, capturing the images that few could have imagined in the days before the pandemic began dominating the global conversation. Cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands, instead of actual people there to cheer. Competitors wearing masks. At events where ticketholders were allowed, people being spaced out to allow for social distancing.

March 12, 2021 / 02:41 PM IST
The games have changed. The rules are largely the same. Everything else is different. Many stadiums and arenas are empty, or at least largely empty. Sports at all levels, in basically every corner of the world, began stopping on March 11, 2020. Virtually every professional sports league halted play for several months. Most are back, though the feel, the sounds, and the look is still very different. (Image: AP)
The games have changed. The rules are largely the same. Everything else is different. Many stadiums and arenas are empty, or at least largely empty. Sports at all levels, in basically every corner of the world, began stopping on March 11, 2020. Virtually every professional sports league halted play for several months. Most are back, though the feel, the sounds, and the look is still very different. (Image: AP)
Throughout the past year, as the games and events have happened, photographers from The Associated Press were there, capturing the images that few could have imagined in the days before the pandemic began dominating the global conversation. Cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands, instead of actual people there to cheer. Competitors wearing masks. At events where ticketholders were allowed, people being spaced out to allow for social distancing. (Image: AP)
Throughout the past year, as the games and events have happened, photographers from The Associated Press were there, capturing the images that few could have imagined in the days before the pandemic began dominating the global conversation. Cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands, instead of actual people there to cheer. Competitors wearing masks. At events where ticketholders were allowed, people being spaced out to allow for social distancing. (Image: AP)
The world has changed. The sports world has changed with it. These are the images of the last year in sports. (Image: AP)
The world has changed. The sports world has changed with it. These are the images of the last year in sports. (Image: AP)
Fans watch from a boxes painted on the grass to promote social distancing during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians on March 2, 2021, in Peoria, Ariz. (Image: AP)
Fans watch from a boxes painted on the grass to promote social distancing during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians on March 2, 2021, in Peoria, Ariz. (Image: AP)
UNLV cheerleaders in the stands against Fresno State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, February 24, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Image: AP)
UNLV cheerleaders in the stands against Fresno State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, February 24, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Image: AP)
Spectators watch Austria's Dominic Thiem and Croatia's Marin Cilic play their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament in center court Philippe Chatrier at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, September 28, 2020. (Image: AP)
Spectators watch Austria's Dominic Thiem and Croatia's Marin Cilic play their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament in center court Philippe Chatrier at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, September 28, 2020. (Image: AP)
Cutouts occupy some of the stadium seats before a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, July 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Image: AP)
Cutouts occupy some of the stadium seats before a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, July 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Image: AP)
Kashmiri kayaker Vilayat Hussain practices on a rugged wooden ergometer, or rowing machine, at his home on the outskirts of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, on April 24, 2020. Like many other athletes, Hussain was restricted to his home due to the coronavirus pandemic. He says he is still constructing the ergometer, which needs a cable and weights to work properly. "It helps me to maintain my workouts even though it is far from what it should look like." (Image: AP)
Kashmiri kayaker Vilayat Hussain practices on a rugged wooden ergometer, or rowing machine, at his home on the outskirts of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, on April 24, 2020. Like many other athletes, Hussain was restricted to his home due to the coronavirus pandemic. He says he is still constructing the ergometer, which needs a cable and weights to work properly. "It helps me to maintain my workouts even though it is far from what it should look like." (Image: AP)
Bugler Jay Cohen trumpets the first race at Santa Anita Park to empty stands, March 14, 2020, in Arcadia, Calif. (Image: AP)
Bugler Jay Cohen trumpets the first race at Santa Anita Park to empty stands, March 14, 2020, in Arcadia, Calif. (Image: AP)
Luis Rivera, left, sanitizes seats in Bridgestone Arena after the remaining NCAA college basketball games in the Southeastern Conference tournament were canceled, March 12, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The tournament was cancelled Thursday due to coronavirus concerns. (Image: AP)
Luis Rivera, left, sanitizes seats in Bridgestone Arena after the remaining NCAA college basketball games in the Southeastern Conference tournament were canceled, March 12, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The tournament was cancelled Thursday due to coronavirus concerns. (Image: AP)
Players with the University of Missouri baseball team wait in the baggage claim area of Chicago's Midway Airport, March 12, 2020, only to arrive in Chicago and then get notified that the team's SEC Conference opener with Alabama on March 13, had been canceled. (Image: AP)
Players with the University of Missouri baseball team wait in the baggage claim area of Chicago's Midway Airport, March 12, 2020, only to arrive in Chicago and then get notified that the team's SEC Conference opener with Alabama on March 13, had been canceled. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Mar 12, 2021 02:41 pm

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