Latest posts by Alex Mitchell (see all)
- Melodifestivalen 2019 - 9 March, 2019
- The year that was 2018 – Part 6: Oceanian politics - 2 January, 2019
- The year that was 2018 – Part 5: European politics - 1 January, 2019
In April, for a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, 1976 Decathlon Olympic gold medallist Jenner came out as a trans woman to 20.7 million viewers, saying, ‘For all intents and purposes I’m a woman.’
Caitlyn’s transition contributed to the breakdown of her 23-year long marriage to Kris Kardashian, which ended this year.
Caitlyn also appeared on the front cover of Vanity Fair. The website alone saw 11.6 million visitors to the site, making her the most famous transgender woman in the world. She gained one million twitter followers in four hours and three minutes, setting a new Guinness World Record, beating President Obama.
Caitlyn was shortlisted for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Award.
England Rugby World Cup
England played host to the 8th Rugby Union World Cup in September. New Zealand was defending the title won on home ground in 2011. Undoubtedly the biggest shock came in the first round match between Japan and South Africa, where in the final minutes Japan opted not to take a penalty kick to draw against South Africa but to go for a try. They won in the added minutes with a score of 34-32.
This was the first world cup where no team from the Northern Hemisphere got beyond the quarter finals. It was also a blow for England, the first host to be knocked out at the first stage of their own contest.
The final took place at Twickenham between New Zealand and Australia which New Zealand won comfortably 34-17 becoming the first nation to win back to back world cups and the first to win three world cups.
Eurovision at 60
The Eurovision Song Contest marked its 60th anniversary this year and was hosted in Austria, following Conchita Wurst’s victory last year. For the first time, Australia was allowed to enter.
Going into the final, Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw was the hot favourite with his song ‘Heroes’. As the night went on the competition was tense between Sweden, Russia (represented by Polina Gagarina and her song ‘A Million Voices’) and Italy (represented by Il Volo and their song ‘Grande Amore’). Sweden edged ahead of Russia with 365 points to 303 with Italy third on 292. The contest returns to Sweden in May.
FIFA in crisis
2015 was not a good year for the governing body of world football, with questions around the legitimacy of the votes on the bids for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Three days prior to the congressional election of the FIFA presidency, 14 officials – including nine current or former FIFA executives and FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb – were arrested by Swiss officials.
All 14 officials faced extradition to America on charges of ‘criminal mismanagement’ and money laundering. FIFA President Sepp Blatter refused to postpone the presidential election in which he was standing for a fifth term.
In the first round of voting Blatter beat rival Prince Ali bin Hussein but fell short of the two thirds majority he needed. Before the second round of voting, however, Prince Ali withdrew his candidacy.
Four days later, Blatter called a press conference where he tendered his resignation amid the ongoing corruption scandal which now implicated himself. He had said he would remain in office until a successor had been elected by a special congress.
In October Blatter, alongside UEFA president Michael Platini, were suspended pending an investigation of corruption charges. FIFA’s ethics committee handed down an eight year ban for both Blatter and Platini.
Need we say more…?
Tim Peake in space
Tim Peake became the first British ESA astronaut and the sixth British-born person to visit the International Space Station. He was launched on 15 December from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
As per tradition, each cosmonaut is allowed to have three songs played as they ascend. Peake chose Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ and Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’. It took less than 10 minutes for Peake to exit Earth’s atmosphere and around six hours to dock with the International Space Station.
A royal year
2 May saw the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate’s second child who arrived late, having been due mid to late April.
The Guardian’s 10-year legal battle to view secret letters written by Prince Charles to government departments also came to fruition. These revealed that the Prince had tackled then Prime Minister Tony Blair over the lack of resources in the armed forces and had lobbied other ministers over badgers, herbal medicine and illegal fishing.
9 September saw Queen Elizabeth II pass the record of 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes on the throne, a record previously held by Queen Victoria. She admitted that the milestone was ‘Not one to which I have ever aspired.’
Adele released her third studio album 25 in November.
The album’s lyrical content features themes of Adele ‘yearning for her old self, her nostalgia’, and ‘melancholia about the passage of time’, according to an interview with Adele by Rolling Stone. It debuted at number 1 in 25 countries, breaking first week sales records in the UK and America, where it sold 3.38 million copies.
Off the back of this success, Adele announced a new tour in 2016.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The long awaited seventh instalment of the Star Wars saga hit cinema screens in time for Christmas. This is the first film in the franchise since Disney bought the rights and is directed by J.J Abrams.
In America it made $119.1m in its first day. After five days it had made a record-breaking worldwide revenue of $529m in over 74 countries. This is the second film to have such a reception after Jurassic World.
No spoilers here.
Time Magazine’s Person of the Year
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was honoured with Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Award for leading Europe through the debt crisis and standing firm in her support of aid for the refugees, becoming only the fourth woman to win the title since the magazine opened up the title to women in 1936. This year marked her 10th year as Chancellor, in what Time called a ‘resolutely dull’ style of governance.