Part two of the sports highlights of the year
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel became Formula One's youngest triple world champion at the age of 25 in the final race of the season - a wet and chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix rollercoaster which finished behind the safety car.The German, needing a fourth place to join the greats as the first driver to win his first three titles consecutively, finished sixth after fighting back with a damaged car from last on the opening lap.
It proved enough after his sole rival Fernando Alonso, needing victory, crossed the line in his Ferrari in second place behind Jenson Button.
Vettel ended the season with 281 points to 278 for Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen, on 207, was third overall for Lotus in his comeback year.
Vettel had won five races in a season that started with the opening seven rounds being won by seven different drivers.
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher took seventh place in his last race in Formula One, moving over to allow his friend and compatriot Vettel to take sixth.
In September, it was announced that 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton would be leaving McLaren to replace Schumacher at Mercedes. The German is expected to remain with the Mercedes team in an advisory capacity.
Sebastien Loeb won the World Rally Championship title for a remarkable ninth time in a row.
His Citroen team said Loeb would not be defending his title in 2013 but would take part in a partial racing programme, starting with the season-opener Rally Monte Carlo.
Loeb, who combines an aggressive style with a scientific and efficient approach to driving, has been one of the most popular figures in French sport for years.
Regarded by the public as a simple, honest and hard-working man, Loeb was voted France's favourite sports personality three times in an annual poll conducted by L'Equipe.
Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo sealed his second MotoGP title by cruising to a runner-up finish at the Australian Grand Prix on October 28 after Dani Pedrosa, his only challenger for the title, crashed out of contention on the second lap.
Lorenzo narrowly avoided the flailing Pedrosa and that was the last of his troubles as he settled into a fuss-free run behind retiring local hero Casey Stoner.
The championship had been a two-horse race between Lorenzo and defending champion Stoner until the Australian injured ligaments in his right ankle at the U.S.Grand Prix, sidelining him for three rounds.
Stoner, at the age of 27, has decided to walk away from MotoGP this year because he could no longer get excited by racing in it.
The New York Giants battled back to beat the New England Patriots 21-17 and win the Super Bowl with a fourth quarter comeback capped by a six-yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw with 57 seconds left.
When Brady's last desperate heave into the end zone was batted away to the ground, Giants players leaped with joy and purple confetti fell on the delirious winners.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning completed 30-of-40 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown and was named Most Valuable Player. Sixty-five-year-0ld Tom Coughlin became the oldest coach to win the Super Bowl.
The Kings settled any nerves with three first period goals while Steve Bernier was serving a game-misconduct penalty.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Kings netminder Jonathan Quick, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs, tossed his gloves and stick into the air as his team mates poured onto the ice.
The 4-2 series win ignited a raucous celebration for the home crowd that spilled onto the streets surrounding the Staples Center.
LeBron James led an outstanding team effort with a brilliant all-round game, grabbing a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and a game-high 13 assists.
Miami pulled away in the third quarter when they ran off 16 points in a row to build a 25-point lead and send the raucous American Airlines Arena crowd into an early celebration.
It was Miami's second NBA title following a 2006 triumph and the first for James, who finally realized his dream of winning a championship ring in his third trip to the finals.
In baseball, the San Francisco Giants capped a wild post-season ride by beating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in 10 innings to complete a four-game sweep and be crowned World Series champions for the second time in three years.
Marco Scutaro, the most valuable player in the National League Championship Series, was again the hero for the Giants, cracking a sharply hit single into shallow center to bring in Ryan Theriot with the winning run.
Having survived six do-or-die elimination games in the National League Division and Championship Series, the Giants closed out the season in ruthless style reeling off seven consecutive wins.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was named the MVP (Most Valuable Player) after batting .500 in the four games of the World Series.
The Venezuelan added four runs batted in, including a three-homer game in the series opener, to help the Giants to the sweep.
Sri Lanka restricted West Indies to 137 for six wickets to boost their chances of winning their maiden World Twenty20 title but the dream did not materialise as they were shot out for 101 runs in 18.4 overs.
The 38-year-old Indian stroked a single off left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan to reach the landmark. He has scored 51 centuries in tests and 49 in one-day internationals.
The celebrations for his much-awaited target were muted and Tendulkar looked more relieved than elated after completing the 100th run.
It took the greatest accumulator of runs in international cricket just over a year to score his coveted hundred.
Another great batsman, Ricky Ponting, announced his retirement from international cricket at the end of the year.
In a glittering 17-year career the former Australia captain scored 13,378 runs in 168 tests. Only Tendulkar has scored more runs at this level.
Margaret Osborne duPont, who was world's top female tennis player in the late forties, died in October. She was 94.
The American won six grand slam singles titles between 1946 and 1950 and a total of 37 Grand Slam titles in all, placing her fourth on the all-time list.
Rose had been suffering from cancer and passed away in Sydney.
Born in Scotland, Rose made history when, aged 17, he became the youngest person to win three gold medals at an Olympics with victories in the 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay.
Around 1,200 people gathered in Oygarden in May for the funeral of Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, who had collapsed and died of a heart attack.
The 26-year-old died on April 30 while attending an altitude training camp in Flagstaff in northern Arizonawith the Norwegian national team.
Cuba bade farewell to heavyweight boxing great Teofilo Stevenson, who won three Olympic gold medals but turned down a lucrative chance to turn professional. Stevenson died of a heart attack at the age of 60.
After the 1976 games, U.S. boxing promoters offered the Cuban 5 million dollars to turn professional and fight Muhammad Ali, then heavyweight champion of the world.
A steadfast communist and supporter of Fidel Castor, Stevenson flatly declined, decrying what he saw as the corrupt, money-grubbing nature of professional boxing and famously asking, 'What is a million dollars compared to the love of my people?'
Two former professional world boxing champions died in 2012 as victims of shootings.
Sanders, 46, was shot in the arm and stomach when robbers raided a restaurant near Brits, in North West Province, where he and other family members were attending a birthday party for his nephew.
Relatives said Sanders used his body to shield his daughter when the robbers started shooting.
Southpaw Sanders, nicknamed 'The Sniper' because of his fierce and quick left, won the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) heavyweight title in 2003 with a surprise knockout of Ukraine's Vladimir Klitschko. He lost only four of his 46 professional fights.
Three-time world boxing champion Hector "Macho" Camacho died on November 24, four days after he was shot in the face in a drive-by shooting in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon. He was 50.
Camacho won titles in three weight classes - super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight - during a colourful professional career. He won his first world championship in 1985 and his last in 1991. His final match came in 2010.