As a pandemic-plagued 2021 draws to a close, Newshub's sporting experts reflect on the highs and lows of another dramatic year that featured (finally) the Tokyo Olympics, another All Blacks campaign and international honours for our Blackcaps cricketers.
Our top sporting moments this year were...
Grant Chapman, Newshub digital sports lead
Dame Valerie Adams
Yes, the First Lady of Shot Put ONLY won bronze at the Tokyo - but it felt like pure gold, after an eventful Olympic cycle that produced two offspring and not one, but two comebacks from pregnancy to world class.
And all that in the context of a COVID-19 pandemic that extended the wait just too long for other ageing superstars... yes you, Mahe Drysdale.
In Dame Val's case, the Olympic postponement was probably a blessing in disguise, providing an extra 12 months to return from the birth of son Kapaleli, who was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
While her 19.62m throw was well down on her personal best (21.24m), Adams, 37, achieved everything anyone could reasonably have expected from her - including (most importantly) herself.
How many others shed tears around New Zealand, as she expressed the emotional toll of extended separation from her family?
If she chooses, Dame Val can now retire as a beacon for other women who still have dreams to fulfill beyond childbirth.
Brad Lewis, Newshub sports digital producer
NZ Men's Rowing Eight
So many memorable moments, including the Blackcaps' World Test Championship win, which ends a very close second to the men's rowing eight.
For the first time since 1972, New Zealand won the pinnacle event at the Olympic Games, dominating an enthralling final.
A pure spectacle and one of the coolest things in sport watching those six crews power down the course, and the end result was exhilarating for all Kiwis, almost matched by the wonderful women's crew that picked up silver.
Lucy Thomson, Newshub sports reporter & producer
Emirates Team New Zealand win the America's Cup
As far as memorable sporting moments go in 2021, Team New Zealand's defence of the America's Cup on the Hauraki Gulf was top of my list.
Led by skipper Peter Burling, the crew were too much for Italians Luna Rossa, emerging clear winners and claiming the 'Auld Mug' for the fourth time in front of the thousands of Kiwis, who made their way to Auckland's Viaduct to join the party and witness the occasion.
Ollie Ritchie, Newshub sports reporter
Black Ferns Sevens win Olympic gold
Another case of the good guys finishing first, this team had conquered almost all there was in the world game before the Tokyo Olympics and finally got the one that had previously eluded them.
After the pain of Rio de Janeiro, this team had their eye on one thing only and that was Olympic gold.
They didn't have it all their own way, very nearly blowing the semi final against Fiji, but the composure and calmness they showed on the sport's biggest stage ensured they wouldn't miss out on gold again.
Honorable mention - men's rowing eight.
Alex Powell, Newshub sports digital producer
Blackcaps win World Test Championship
With one flick off his pads to the midwicket boundary, Ross Taylor erased all the heartache that Blackcaps fans had felt for the last six years.
Kane Williamson lifting the World Test Championship mace made up for getting destroyed by Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the 2015 World Cup final and the daylight robbery at Lord's in 2019.
Over six days at Southampton, the Blackcaps gave their long-suffering faithful the redemption they so desperately needed in the standing of New Zealand sporting history.
An eight-wicket victory over India gave New Zealand's men their first trophy since 2000 and confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that we are living in the era of the greatest Blackcaps side.
Stephen Foote, Newshub sports digital producer
Blackcaps win World Test Championship
The pain inflicted by that World Cup final 'loss' to England in 2019 ran so deep, it made you question your entire existence as a sports fan.
Is this all really worth it? Getting this wound up about a game of cricket?
Thankfully, victories like these at the other end of the spectrum ensure the answer will always be a resounding 'yes'.
The Blackcaps lined up against the widely favoured Indians with a point to prove, desperate to secure some silverware as reward for their No.1 test ranking and overall consistency in all formats of the game.
In the end, it wasn't much of a spectacle, as the Blackcaps bolted to an emphatic eight-wicket win to help exorcise the demons of past ICC final heartbreaks.
Devon Conway and Kyle Jamieson announced their class to the world, Neil Wagner steamed in relentlessly to take timely wickets, Tim Southee and Trent Boult trore through the Indian second innings.
As if written in a script, the stage was set for the old firm of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor to steer the side to their tricky final-innings total and lift 'The Mace'.
It was like 2015 and 2019 never even happened... kind of.