It has been a year of high emotions for Canberra's sports stars.

It has been a year of high emotions for Canberra's sports stars.

Coaching drama, Olympic Games heartbreak, champion teams and near misses - before Canberra can celebrate the biggest sporting year in its history, you've got to revisit the rollercoaster of 2012.

In a lot of ways, the past 12 months has provided a curtain-raiser for a tantalising centenary.

The Australian cricket, rugby league, netball and - if the FFA gets its act together - soccer teams will play marquee matches as part of the 100th birthday party.

But year 99 shouldn't be forgotten.

I've been lucky enough to witness some of Canberra's greatest sporting moments this year.

I was in London for the Olympics, covered Canberra United's W-League triumph, watched as the ACT Brumbies launched a revival and jumped on board the Canberra Raiders NRL finals train.

So before I leave for a Christmas holiday, here's how I saw some of Canberra's top sporting performances of the past year.

THE PETER SENIOR AWARD FOR SURPRISE PACKETS: The Brumbies

If you weren't shocked by the Brumbies' on field resurgence, you're lying.

Even coach Jake White will admit falling agonisingly short of the Super Rugby finals exceeded his expectations for his first year in charge.

Just like Peter Senior at the Australian Open last week, no one gave the Brumbies a chance of being a contender.

Most wrote them off when Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rocky Elsom left at the end of 2011.

But unexpectedly, the unheralded squad rose to every challenge before failing to fire in the last round of the regular season.

Captain Ben Mowen put it best when he said ''we choked'' in a last-round meltdown.

But while they missed out on a finals spot, they reignited the Brumbies' passion which had been sorely lacking in recent seasons.

THE ISRAEL FOLAU PRIZE FOR TURNAROUND OF THE YEAR: The Raiders

Just when you think the Raiders have cement tied to their ankles and are sinking to the bottom, they muster some Green Machine pride and turn it all around.

After coaching rumours of Ricky Stuart returning, the booze brothers Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson getting in hot water and a Terry Campese injury, the Raiders looked anything but safe.

There was a better chance of Stephen Larkham making a comeback than the Raiders of making the finals.

They were anchored near the bottom of the ladder and the biggest question appeared to be whether David Furner would still have his job.

But then something clicked and they went from wooden-spoon contenders to the finals in a miraculous run of form. Imagine if they were injury free and the players were off the booze.

OLYMPIC HEARTBREAK: Caroline Buchanan

It's easy to remember the gold medals and inspirational stories from London, but Caroline Buchanan won't forget the pain she felt as she crossed the line in the BMX final.

I was trackside as one of Canberra's best gold medal hopes set herself up for a bid to finish at the top of the podium. But instead of smiles, the tears were already rolling down her cheeks as she finished.

Her dream had disappeared in less than two minutes and it was heartbreaking speaking to her just moments after.

For Buchanan, it felt like she'd been chewed up and spat out by the Olympics machine. The good news is she's only 22 and Rio in 2016 will be her shot at redemption.

THE ST GEORGE AWARD FOR TEAM DOMINANCE: Canberra United

United was unflappable on its mission to win the W-League and it did so in style in front of a packed home crowd in January.

Canberra United blitzed its opposition in the most dominant performance by one team in W-League history.

Canberra boasted some of the best players in the competition and new coach Jitka Klimkova gave the team the boost it needed to claim its first title.

The unbeaten run continued until last month and the wheels appeared to be wobbling as a heavy workload and injuries took their toll.

But a United win against Melbourne on Saturday will have them back on track as they chase back-to-back championships.

THE LANCE ARMSTRONG AWARD FOR BIGGEST FALL FROM GRACE: Stephen Hodge

When details emerged of Lance Armstrong's systematic cheating throughout his cycling career, no one knew it would hit Canberra and especially not Stephen Hodge.

For so long he had been one of the most respected members of Canberra's community, a leader for cyclists and an inspiration for a generation.

That's why it was so shocking when he revealed he was part of a drug culture during his Tour de France career.

He was stripped of his ACTSport Hall of Fame title. To Hodge's credit, he asked to be removed.

But his decision more than a decade ago has tainted the sport.