Be it Chris Hemsworth scaling a 100 ft rope climb or the Ukrainian Paralympic team winning 29 medals while their country is invaded by Russia, the worlds of entertainment and sport have thrown up no shortage of compelling fitness stories in 2022. We’re not just talking about people winning some nice shiny trophies, either, but long-time champions ending iconic careers, wins for democracy and fairness, reckonings with mortality and an impassioned case for just taking life that bit easier. So, forget the World Cup for now, and dive in to our celebration of the athletes, sportspeople and celebrities who have inspired us in 2022 and can help you set fitness goals for 2023.
Possibly the greatest athlete ever announced her retirement this year at 41. Over a 27-year pro career she won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the second-most of all time, holds the records for the most women’s singles matches won at majors (367!), is a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships in the singles division, is one of only two tennis players in history to win four Olympic gold medals (the other player is her sister, Venus) and is the only player, male or female, to accomplish a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles. Through it all she’s courted controversy and discrimination, and she’s appeared in a Beyonce video and The Simpsons. Game, set and match.
The lesson: Use your losses
“I don’t like to lose – at anything – yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks.”
The German motorsports giant also announced his retirement this year, at 35. In a decade and a half, Vettel had driven for the best teams in the game, including Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin, racking up 122 podiums from 299 starts. With 53 wins and four consecutive championships (2010-2013), Vettel proved himself a once-in-a-generation talent and earned him numerous comparisons to the F1 GOAT, Michael Schumacher. He’s a nice guy off the track too; when he isn’t helping Austrian children build hotels for bees (seriously, look it up), he’s picking up litter at the British Grand Prix. Hopefully his post-racing career is a bit more lively than litter picking but honestly, if that were his next move, we’d be into it.
The lesson: Remember what matters
“At the end of your life, it’s friendships, emotions and thoughts that you take with you, rather than what’s in your bank account.”