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Which Athletes Gained Popularity in 2022?

Athletes are celebrities in their own rights. Even though they make their name on athletic prowess over creative talent, they’re just as significant to the general public—and perhaps even more so when the World Cup and Olympic Games come around.

However, for an athlete to become a superstar, they need to be at the top of their game. Realistically, a superstar player has the ability to change their team’s odds—sometimes literally. As sports betting becomes more popular around the world, sites like OddsChecker connect fans to sportsbooks. And these sportsbooks offer lines on teams and individual players; the better that player is, the more prop bets they’re doing to see, covering things like goals and assists.

That’s because a star player should be breaking records or, at least, pushing the envelope to propel their team to greatness. How they do this can take many forms. Along with incredible feats, their public persona gives can also add to their mythos. 

Just look at Lionel Messi. Though he’s undeniably one of the greatest football players to ever live and certainly the top name of his generation, Messi is also known for carrying the spirit of Argentina. In other words, he’s not just a footballer, but an icon for his nation and for the sport. Lifting the World Cup trophy has solidified his place in history.

Looking back at this year in sports, have any other athletes managed similar feats? Let’s go over some of this year’s top athletic stories and the superstars who made them. 

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Eliud Kipchoge, Ethiopia

This year, the 48th Berlin Marathon was held in Germany—and it was one for the books. In late September, long-distance runners from around the world flew to Berlin to compete. Ethiopia’s Eliud Kipchoge was one of the older contestants at age 38, but that didn’t slow him down. In fact, Kipchoge beat the world record for the marathon—which he had set himself back in 2018. 

This time, Kipchoge ran the entire marathon in just two hours, one minute, and nine seconds—a full thirty seconds faster than his final time in 2018.

Erling Haaland, Norway

Undeniably one of the biggest topics in the Premier League this year, Norwegian striker Erling Haaland has put up an unforgettable season with Manchester City. At the moment, his conversion rates for shots in the Premier League is 58. So far, he has started 17 matches in his 2022-23 season… and scored a total of 18 goals during those games.

Sitting in the 99th percentile in the Premier League for stats like xG and non-penalty goals, Haaland is one of the biggest names to watch in football—not just in 2022, but also in 2023. Going forward, the football world will glom onto this young star, especially as he seeks to lead Man City to another Premier League title.

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Karim Benzema, France

It’s been a big year for striker Karim Benzema—and not just in positive terms. He began the year off with another dominative finish in La Liga with Real Madrid, helping bring home their 35th La Liga title. From there, he took home his very first Pichichi Trophy and became Real Madrid’s highest all-time scorer. Benzema even went on to nab a Ballon d’Or nomination in August.

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After Benzema took home the award in October, all eyes were on the striker to guide France to a World Cup win. However, Benzema suffered a right quad injury that saw him barred from the tournament. This left the French striker to finish out what had been one of his best years to date with a terrible loss.

Max Verstappen, Netherlands

Anyone who watches Formula One Racing knows that there’s one name that can’t be topped: Lewis Hamilton. For over a decade, the English driver struck fear into the hearts of his opponents. With the constructor Mercedes, Hamilton led season after season in terms of the driver’s championship. That came to a screeching halt last December when Verstappen clinched the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

His win in Abu Dhabi saw Verstappen become the 2021 Formula One champion with constructor Red Bull. Since then, he’s flipped that first win into another dominative season. This year, in 2022, Verstappen took the title home again—and earned himself a contract with Red Bull until 2028.