The sporting year might have been badly hamstrung by the Covid-19 pandemic, but 2020 wasn’t a total write-off. There was still plenty of action to grab the headlines. 2019 was a solid column-inch year for Taiwanese-American basketball star Jeremy Lin as he collected his NBA Championship ring with the Toronto Raptors, and China’s former golden boy Sun Yang, whose career was effectively ended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport when he was handed an eight-year ban for doping violations (before that ruling was successfully appealed this month). Both were back in the news in big ways this year, too. It was another eventful year for Lin, who enjoyed a brief stop in Beijing before returning to the US, but with a tell-all memoir on the US commander-in-chief’s cheating at golf and a Djokovic tantrum turned sour, he has healthy competition for most popular story. So what was SCMP Sport’s most popular story of 2020? Read on to find out. 10. Jeremy Lin on Linsanity to NBA reject: ‘from most popular person on the planet to ashamed to go out’ As expected, Jeremy Lin , 2019’s top SCMP sporting figure, made the biggest stories list in 2020. The only surprise was that in another busy year for the Taiwanese-American ball star, it was this interview with Taiwan’s GOOD TV where he discussed his heady rise and dramatic fall – and only this – that made our top 10 list. 9. Novak Djokovic disqualified from US Open after hitting lineswoman with ball Tennis great Novak Djokovic made our top 10 list, but for all the wrong reasons when a show of petulance at the 2020 US Open saw him smash an errant ball into the throat of a line judge and was thrown out of the competition. 8. Meet Khutulun, Mongolia’s undefeated wrestling princess, Genghis Khan’s great-great-granddaughter and Turandot inspiration Next is a stroll through history. Our profile piece on undefeated Mongolian wrestling princess Khutulun, a great-great-granddaughter of Genghis Khan, captured the imagination in September. 7. From golf to cycling Donald Trump’s history with sport is tale of cheating, failure and feuds In April, to mark the release of Commander In Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump , Rick Reilly’s scorching takedown of reality TV star Donald Trump’s alleged golfing prowess, we delved deeper into the US president’s sporting past. The findings were almost as bizarre as Trump’s time in office. Almost. 6. Sun Yang backlash: Chinese fans turn on their hero and apologise to ‘hated’ Aussie Mack Horton In years gone by, no annual collation of a most popular sports stories list would be complete without at least one about the achievements, or more often the misdeeds, of China’s swimming sensation Sun Yang. With the recent overturning of his eight-year CAS ban, it’s likely he’ll figure highly on this list come the end of 2021, too. For now, his first of two entries this year was in relation to the backlash against him from former supporters after his career-ending ban was announced. 5. Chinese sports couple Hao Haidong and Ye Zhaoying face being wiped from record books after political appeal A bizarre story next surrounding Chinese sporting power couple Hao Haidong and Ye Zhaoying. She, a former Olympian, and he, a retired international footballer, had their records as successful sportspeople expunged from the Chinese internet after they were filmed denouncing the Chinese government in a video released by the US-based Rule of Law Foundation. 4. Sun Yang’s doping ban ends swimming career defined by tears, taunts and tantrums The second of the Sun Yang-related stories to make our list looked back at his tumultuous career. From the incredible highs of world championships, world records and Olympic gold medals, to the terrible tantrums fame brought with it, the petulant displays towards rivals and ultimately, the run-in with drug-testers that might have been his downfall. 3. Sars-surviving ex-Hong Kong fencer Maria Chan says she’s no role model: ‘Don’t do what I did 17 years ago’ Now to the inspiring story of former Hong Kong fencer Maria Chan Siu-san, who was hospitalised in intensive care during the city’s 2003 Sars outbreak. The 46-year-old was a resident at the infamous Amoy Gardens estate in Kowloon where 42 people died from the deadly disease 17 years ago, and was hailed by fellow fencer Vivian Kong man-wai for her approach to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. 2. ‘I must be on the front line’ of coronavirus epidemic,’ China’s bodybuilding traditional Chinese medicine doctor says It was perhaps inevitable that the business end of 2020’s top stories list would be dominated by the pandemic, but here’s one with a twist. Social media in China exploded when the story was told of Dr Yuan Herong of Shandong province, who in addition to being on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus, is also a champion bodybuilder. 1. Singapore figure skater Jessica Shuran Yu speaks out about ‘systemic abuse’ by coaches in China It was another welcome year of reckoning on the subject of sexual abuse in sport. Our No 1 story focused on the case of Singapore figure skater Jessica Shuran Yu, who, after viewing the Netflix documentary Athlete A , which tackles the sexual abuse cases of US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, decided to speak out about the abuse she suffered while training as part of China’s national figure skating set-up. Which stories mattered most to you in 2020? Find out with our Year In Review 2020 retrospective.