There will be only one word that comes to mind when people reflect on 2020 in the future. COVID-19. It started being reported in January, and in December the virus was still spreading as rapidly as ever, with no sign of it slowing down in 2021 with vaccines only starting to be produced. Although 2020 wasn’t easy for anyone, some people struggled significantly more than others. The pandemic threatened people’s mental health, resulted in the loss of jobs and subsequent income and left millions feeling lost and confused. Even though it will likely go down as a year to forget, there were still other important moments of 2020 throughout the chaos of lockdown that will shape our world for years to come. So, here is my Top 10 Moments of 2020.

10. The Sporting Moment of the Year

You may have already seen my post where I rank my Top 10 Sporting Moments of 2020 (https://thelevinelowdown.com/2021/01/02/top-10-sporting-moments-of-2020/), so there may be a little spoiler coming up, but it was another big year in sport. Sporting leagues were forced to adapt to new restrictions and attempt to continue their season while ensuring the safety of all people involved. However, my favourite sporting moment of the year occurred before the pandemic was announced on February 22nd, 2020, where two heavyweight champions, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought for the World Heavyweight Championship. From the incredible walks to the ring, to an extraordinary battle in the ring, it was the fight that everyone wanted to see and one of the last sporting events that allowed a full crowd.

9. Music saves 2020?

Many artists planned to travel and perform their music around the world in 2020. However, this dream was quickly shut down, and artists were forced to consider different ways to advertise their music, create music videos and share their work with their fans. We witnessed music videos filmed in one house, many more songs from musicians such as Taylor Swift and iconic records used on platforms like Tik Tok such as Cardi B’s WAP. For our music writer at The Levine Lowdown, his favourite albums of the year (which will be released in more depth in the coming days) included; Set Fire to My Heart Immediately by Perfume Genius, Miles by Blue and Exile and Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple.

8. Hashtag Cancel Culture

Most people, especially youth, spent the year on social media. Tik Tok rose to meteoric status in the social media world, and other platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube also had immense success as young people spent hours on their phones at home. However, with everyone’s lives projected online, cancel culture began to rise as content creators started to lose followers and receive hate messages for socially unacceptable acts or mere rumours. Rowan Atkinson, the creator of Mr Bean, recently referred to cancel culture as like a “medieval mob looking for someone to burn”. I agree with Mr Atkinson and think it’s been a sad reality of 2020 and hope to see less ‘cancelling’ in 2020 as it fails to make any meaningful impact.

7. The Explosion of Online Learning

As schools, colleges, and universities closed in April this year, educations institutions were forced to quickly adapt to online learning platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Google Teams. As someone who has done online learning throughout the year, the success of different education places varied significantly. Some teachers were clearly familiar with Zoom and knew how to engage students, while others struggled at this task. This meant that it was an exceedingly difficult year for students who battled to find motivation in the absence of structure. However, just as online learning illustrates, the year enabled us to use technology for many new reasons, and I’ll expand on that in my 6th best moment of 2020.

6. Incredible New Uses of Technology

2020 made us use technology more than ever, which enabled us to find new ways to connect with others. The prominent example of this is families utilising video technology such as zoom to communicate with family and friends worldwide. Other technology such as QR codes have been beneficial and allowed businesses and restaurants to continue to operate while ensuring that all patrons are accounted for if there is an outbreak that needs to be investigated. Without technology, this process could take weeks, if not months, highlighting another new piece of technology improving our lives this year.

5. The Loss of Influential Icons of our World

As we close 2020, I think it’s important to reflect on some of the people we lost in 2020 and their immense role in transforming our world. On the sporting field, Kobe Bryant tragically lost his life in a helicopter accident with his daughter. One of the greatest basketball players of all time who will be missed and remembered for years to come. Chadwick Boseman also lost his battle with cancer this year after keeping his illness private since he was diagnosed. Boseman starred as the Black Panther character in the Marvel Universe and was an inspiration to millions as he persisted with his dream of acting success throughout many challenges. In the legal profession, the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was felt by many. A champion of equality, she was a chief architect in the campaign against sex-role stereotyping in the law, abolishing many laws that favoured gender inequality and establishing principles of equal treatment in the law for women. Although I only mention three, there were many other lives tragically lost in 2020, and we think of all those people and their families who will be deeply missed in 2021.

4. The Health and Emergency Workers who Sacrificed Everything to Help Others

While others retreated to their homes in 2020, others went out into the public and worked 10+ hour days to keep others safe. Health workers stood at COVID-19 testing facilities for hours a day, taking throat swabs and risking their own health to protect others. Hospital staff and doctors cared for seriously ill patients in ICU and almost suffocated themselves with masks to try and save the lives of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Ambulance staff continued to rush to calls for help while police officers attempted to contain anti-mask rallies that put their own health and safety at risk. While most of us spent 2020 at home, an extraordinary group of workers spent most of their time out of their home helping others, and we are incredibly grateful for all of your work.

3. We’ve got to talk about Coronavirus

It wouldn’t be 2020 if we don’t mention Coronavirus. My first post on the virus was on January 30th and demonstrated no one knew anything about the virus when it was first reported. If you’d like to see how poorly I predicted the impact of Coronavirus would be on the world, you can find the article here (https://thelevinelowdown.com/2020/01/30/coronavirus-should-we-be-worried/). If our lives are a rollercoaster, than COVID-19 was like an emergency brake that made us instantly stop wherever we were. It forced us to pause, go home, and isolate. For some, it was a much-needed break, but for others, it was a time of extreme isolation. However, as the year continued and virus continued to spread worldwide, any nice break turned into a frustrating static period. And, we must not forget the lives that have been lost and continue to be lost each day from this virus and their friends and family. The virus targets our society’s most vulnerable members and has provided another important reminder to appreciate those we have in our lives because life is unpredictable.

2. Joe Biden wins the American Election

Election day arrived on November 3rd after a long socially distanced campaign. Although Trump continued to selfishly hold rallies in the weeks prior, it certainly wasn’t to the same extent as 2016 and Biden’s demonstrations only consisted of a couple hundred people. The significant issues debated leading up to election day was the nation’s response to COVID-19, the importance of the economy and restoring people’s jobs and environmental concerns. The enormous number of mail-in votes meant that it took over four days until it became clear that Biden would have enough electoral votes to win the Presidency. Still, 2 months after the election, Trump continues to find reasons why the election was rigged, but nothing substantial has been uncovered yet. Biden will officially take office on January 20th, and he won’t have any time to relax as his country continues to battle with the spread of COVID-19.

1.A Worldwide Movement of Unity

George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25th after applying sustained pressure to George’s neck while restraining him during a traffic stop. What followed George Floyd’s death was a combination of chaos, anarchy, pain and unity. Everyone chose how they wanted to respond to the event. Some chose violence and burnt local businesses and attacked police stations. Other’s chose peace and marched through the cities and stood in silence, pleading for change. However, once the initial outburst marginally subsided, we began to see a world united against racial discrimination and encouraging racial equality. Sporting codes, music artists, filmmakers, business owners and citizens protested and demonstrated their support for the cause in many different ways. 2020 was the year of talking about these issues and bringing them to the forefront of people’s mind. But, 2021 is the year where that talking must lead to action. Otherwise, the Black Lives Matter movement will continue to be a trend that rises and falls with each event. Change will take time, but we have to start, as there is hope.

There are my Top 10 Moments of 2020. A year defined by COVID-19 but that contained many other influential moments that will shape 2021 and years beyond. What were some of your favourite moments of 2020 and what are you looking forward to in 2021?

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