2014 has been an exceptional year for sporting venues and events. But, with the year only half way over, it’s not a stretch to say the best are yet to come.
1.The World Cup – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – June 12-July 13, 2014
Every four years the world’s elite soccer countries compete for so much more than a golden cup. National pride is on the line as the cream of the crop will gather in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil for what will be the most publicized world cup ever. This incredible event shuts down some nations for its duration and proves that no matter how much you like or dislike “the beautiful game,” it’s the world’s favorite sport. With Rio De Janeiro serving as the host city, this year’s World Cup is guaranteed to entertain all who venture down for “La Copa.”
2.The NCAA Playoff Championship- Arlington, Texas – January 12, 2015
Okay, so it’s not going to be played until January 2015, but it’s the climax of the 2014 season and will likely be epic. College football fans across the country are finally going to see the excitement and grit of March Madness come to the gridiron. No matter if you preferred the BCS or your team will likely never crack the playoff party, as a college football fan you have to be excited for this.
3. Belmont Stakes – Elmont, NY – June 7, 2014
The Belmont Stakes is the third jewel needed to complete horse racing’s elusive “Triple Crown.” If thoroughbred California Chrome pulls it off, he will be the first horse to have done it since Affirmed achieved the feat in 1978. Although the race is held in Elmont, it sits just a few miles from the glamor of downtown Manhattan.
4. Wimbledon – London, UK – June 23-July 6, 2014
The British love their tennis and even more so when the defending champion is one of their own. Andy Murray exalted himself to superstar status last year by beating Novak Djokovic in three grueling sets and looks to repeat this year. In addition to Wimbledon, London in August is breathtakingly beautiful and provides tourists with a window of sunshine to visit both the city and the surrounding countryside.
5. Michigan vs. Ohio State Football – Columbus, OH – November 29, 2014
The rivalry between Big Blue and the Buckeyes is as heated as ever and seems to be gaining steam as the two programs are both consistently hauling in the nation’s top recruits. While November in Ohio can be chilly, it also sets the perfect stage for two of America’s most decorated college football programs to slug it out on the turf of Ohio Stadium in front of over 100,000 die-hard fans.
6. Red Cross Big Five Marathon – Limpopo, South Africa – June 21, 2014
As far as settings go, the Big Five Marathon (named for the “big five” game animals of South Africa that inhabit the region) is perhaps the most unique marathon in the world. The challenging course winds through the Entabeni Game Reserve and provides participants with an amazing blend of safari and sport, which includes likely sightings of the big five game animals: lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards and rhinos.
7. U.S. Open – Pinehurst, NC – June 9-15, 2014
Often referred to as “the home of American golf,” the historic Pinehurst golf course has been home to numerous championships and U.S. Opens since its construction in the late 19th century. Its lush vegetation and flawless fairways make visitors feel like they’re walking through a modern day garden of Eden. The U.S. Open at Pinehurst presents visitors with an incredible opportunity to see the PGA’s best compete at their highest level in hopes of winning one of golf’s most prestigious championships.
8. Ironman World Championship – Kona, HI – October 11, 2014
Each year the world’s best triathletes gather in Kona, Hawaii to determine who among them is THE ultimate Ironman and woman. This awesome course utilizes a significant portion of Kona’s west coast and includes a 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. Whether you’re there to compete or watch, you’re in Hawaii in October which is never a bad thing.
9. Glasgow Commonwealth Games – Glasgow, Scotland – July 23-August 3, 2014
The Commonwealth Games bring the United Kingdom and its “commonwealth nations” together for an exclusive track and field competition. This summer’s games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland (Scotland’s largest city). Before you say, “Well, it’s not the Olympics.” Remember that Jamaica is a ‘commonwealth nation’ and, that’s right, Usain Bolt will be burning up the race track and delighting spectators with his usual post-race antics.
10. The World Series- USA (TBD)
Unlike previous seasons, there is no clear cut favorite to win the World Series this year. The defending champion Red Sox have been hammered by injuries and no team (at this point in the season) seems to be rising to the top of either league. No matter who’s there come October, the ‘fall classic’is always a good time with late game heroics and unlikely stars.