TimesofIndia.com brings you a list of the top six most searched athletes on Google in 2021:
1. Christian Eriksen (Danish Footballer)
Christian Eriksen, who is the only footballer on the top-10 list for 2021, was the most Googled sports person in the year gone by. The Denmark international, who plays as an attacking midfielder, collapsed on the field during a Euro 2020 match against Finland after suffering a cardiac arrest earlier in June in front of thousands of home fans at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium. And that is why he was extensively searched on Google. Eriksen, the backbone of Denmark’s midfield for over a decade, got immediate medical attention and the CPR given by the on-field doctors saved his life.
Christian Eriksen (AP Photo)
Earlier this month, Eriksen had started working out at the training ground of his youth club Odense Boldklub in Denmark following his rehabilitation. Eriksen‘s contract with Inter Milan was recently terminated. The Italian Serie A club said the Danish international was suspended from playing in Italy because of his cardiac device implant. According to the club, the Italian medical authority had suspended Eriksen from playing in Serie A, due to a rule prohibiting the use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device.
2. Tiger Woods (American golfer)
Golfing legend Woods is second on the list of the most searched athletes on Google for 2021. The winner of 15 major championships had a horrific car accident in February this year and was hospitalised in Los Angeles with multiple leg injuries when his car swerved off a road and rolled down a steep hillside in the suburbs.
Tiger Woods (Reuters Photo)
Woods had a miraculous escape, but it required rescue crews to pry him from the wreckage. Woods, 45, who has endured a series of back and knee injuries in recent years, is considered to be the greatest golfer of his generation. He is the only modern pro to win all four major golf titles in succession, taking the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000 and the Masters title in 2001, a feat that became known as the Tiger Slam.
Woods held the top spot in professional golf’s world rankings for a record total of 683 weeks, winning 14 major championship titles from 1997 to 2008. The ever-fighting Woods recently made a comeback at the PNC Championship with 12-year-old son Charlie ten months after shattering his right leg in a car crash. The father-son duo finished second in that tournament, behind the Dalys. The Tiger is wounded but ready to pounce with the Masters now just four months away.
3. Simone Biles (American gymnast)
American gymnast Biles, who was recently named Time magazine’s ‘Athlete of the Year’, is third on this list. One of the biggest taking points this year was Biles withdrawing from much of the competition at the Tokyo Olympics in which she was the favourite to win as many as five gold medals.
Simone Biles (AP Photo)
Biles pulled out of most of the events she was scheduled to take part in citing mental health concerns. The 24-year-old, who has seven Olympic medals (four gold, one silver, two bronze) revealed that she didn’t want to put her “health and well-being” in danger. However, she didn’t go back home empty handed from the Olympics this time, winning a bronze in the balance beam event, which was her 7th Olympic medal overall. Biles’s decision to give her mental health priority as she dealt with what gymnasts call ‘the twisties’ – when the mind and body fall out of sync – sparked a global conversation.
The American who is tied as the most decorated gymnast of all time said her team wanted her to go ahead and compete but she didn’t want to put a medal at risk. Weeks after talking about athletes’ mental health at the Tokyo Games, Olympic gymnast Biles appeared before the US Senate Judiciary Committee to condemn USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and FBI in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. She blamed Larry Nassar and the entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.
4. Emma Raducanu (British Tennis player)
Raducanu, who holds the No. 4 spot on this list, aced her championship point to complete a fairytale at the US Open. The 18-year-old became the first British woman to win a major since 1977. Raducanu stunned the sporting world in September when she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title after beating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the final at Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu was recently voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year, receiving British sport’s annual individual accolade as a reward for her remarkable US Open triumph. Britain’s Andy Murray was the last tennis player to win the award in 2016 after claiming the trophy also in 2015 and 2013.
Emma Raducanu (Reuters Photo)
Raducanu has enjoyed mixed fortunes since her Grand Slam triumph, losing early at Indian Wells in the United States and going out in the quarter-finals in Romania before being beaten in the first round of the Linz Open in Austria. She was also forced to pull out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi after testing positive for COVID-19.
5. Henry Ruggs III (American Football Player – NFL)
Henry, who is an American football player, takes the fifth spot on the list of the most searched athletes on Google in 2021. Ruggs was involved in a car crash that left a woman and her dog dead in November this year. The Las Vegas Raiders released Ruggs just hours after the crash.
Ruggs was Raiders’ first pick in the 2020 NFL draft, from Alabama, and he had been an emerging player for the team this season. Tina Tintor, 23, and her dog were burned to death in a pre-dawn crash caused by former Las Vegas Raiders wideout Henry.
Henry Ruggs III (Getty Images)
According to police, Ruggs’ car struck Tintor’s SUV with “such violent force ” that it immediately burst into flames, trapping her and her dog inside despite rescue efforts at the scene. Ruggs’s blood alcohol limit was measured at 0.161% – more than twice the legal limit in Nevada. He was charged with – driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving.
6. Neeraj Chopra (Indian javelin thrower)
Tokyo Olympics gold-medallist Neeraj Chopra comes in sixth on the list of most searched athletes on Google in 2021. Neeraj also topped the list of most searched personalities from India list in the year, alongside Aryan Khan and Shehnaaz Gill.
Neeraj scripted history by becoming the first-ever track and field athlete to win a gold medal for India at the Olympics. The 23-year-old-athlete brought glory to the nation with his mammoth throw of 87.58m at the Tokyo Games. His first throw was recorded at 87.03m. His second throw was at 87.58m which sealed the gold, and his third throw touched 76.79m. Neeraj also became only India’s second Olympic gold medallist in an individual event after Abhinav Bindra’s shooting gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Neeraj Chopra (TOI Photo)
Neeraj, who had already won gold medals at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, had also broken his own national record that was set in the 2018 Asian Games (88.06m) with a throw of 88.07m in his fifth attempt in March 2021 in the 3rd Indian Grand Prix in Patiala.
Neeraj shot to fame in the 2016 U-20 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The then 19-year-old Neeraj grabbed the gold medal with a throw of 86.48m which also helped him break the previous U-20 World Record of Latvian javelin thrower Zigsimunds Sirmais by almost two meters.