But there were also plenty of unsung heroes in 2012, people who graced our news pages but were soon forgotten.
Well not by us. TNT has decided to put together the its top 12 unsung heroes of 2012.
Some have made he list for acts of bravery, some for acts of aged greatness, others for moonwalking.
Unsung heroes of 2012, TNT salutes you.
Click each hero for their full story.
‘A traffic warden has made your top heroes of 2012 TNT what the friggles have you been smoking!’ you’re no doubt spluttering. Firstly, friggles? Really? And secondly, yes, and I’m not ashamed.
Vietnamese traffic warden Lieutenant Nguyen Manh Pha risked his life to issue speeding ticket in April by holding onto a moving bus for nearly a mile.
Have you ever shown that much commitment in your line of work? No, that’s right, you haven’t.
The world’s oldest marathon runner, Londoner Fauja Singh, who, at 101, ran his last marathon this year.
Fauja only took up running at 89 and turned up for his first training session in a three piece suit.
He said: “The first 20 miles of a marathon are easy, for the last six I turn to god.”
Sorry, I’m going to have to stop writing about Fauja, it just makes me want to weep.
French swimmer Phillipe Crozion who lost all his limbs in an electrocution accident in 1994 swam between all five continents this year.
Using special flippers he completed his final swim in August crossing the Bering Strait.
His message: Global unity. Whaddaguy.
Deb Perry, or Spoons as she’s known to her friends (of which I’m willing to guess she has many), shot to international stardom this year after video of her playing The Black Keys on her spoons.
Previous appearances on Australia’s Got Talent helped her find a certain level of stardom, but her cover of Lonely Boy has been seen by over a million people of Youtube.
What we love about Deb’s is her willingness to accept her unconventional talent. You can’t be scared of what you’re good at. Unless it’s like, something immoral like fly tipping or xenophobic costume design.
We’ve exactly no idea who this hero is. All we know is that he’s a man, a man with a tiny, tiny, bicycle.
When, in the clip that sent this unknown genius to viral stardom, he produces his tiny cycle from his backpack, your mind simply won’t let you believe he’ll be able to ride it.
Logic, science, rationalism, all the things that anyone with any sense should hold dear, all dictate explicitly that a fully grown man should not be able to ride a bicycle that small, and yet, and yet, he does.
Miracles do happen. Thanks for showing us that tiny bike man.
It’s fair to say that we live in a world stultified by people all too willing to blame health and safety for their own laziness and rampant ineptitude. ‘Can I get these in in a size 10?’ ‘No’ ‘Why?’ ‘Cuz I’m just back form lunch and I stepped in a puddle and I might fall over on the stairs,’ ‘Are you serious?’ ‘Fraid so guv, elf n’ safety init,’ ‘Is it? Or is it the fact that you’re a lazy bastard?’ We’ve all had that conversation.
This next hero, instead of thinking ‘hey my airport cart warning beeper thingy isn’t working, guess I’ll just bunk off,’ he was like, ‘Don’t worry, I know what to do’. And. He. Made. The. Sound. Himself.
In 2012 that’s what we need. People who, when the warning beeper on their buggy fails, are prepared to make the noise for their goddamn selves. That’s definitely a metaphor for something. Sir, TNT salutes you.
When Gord Edwards booked a room at Winnipeg’s Fairmont Hotel and noticed the booking form had a spot for special instructions he immediately sensed an opportunity for creative mischief making.
“I wrote down, ‘Pre-made pillow fort, and a vanilla coke,” Edwards told the Winnipeg Sun newspaper.
And when he got into his room, sure enough staff had left him a DIY pillow fort kit.
You might just think: “Well that’s just like, quite nice,” but it’s more than nice. It’s exactly the kind of beautiful indulgence, that the entire world needs more of.
When divers Podmore and Richards went spear fishing off the coast of Western Australia they soon found themselves leading a great white shark in a deadly game of ring-around-a-rosie-this-enormous-sea-predator-is-going-to-eat-you-to-death.
The pair kept calm throughout the confrontation, and managed to scare of the four metre beast with a poke on the snozz from their spears.
Two words: Double hard.
We all know the old addage: you’re never too old to learn something new. Well, happily, it seems the same goes for leading the police on a high speed car chase.
Ailsa, an 81-year-old grandmother faced the courts at the Southport Magistrate Court in April after allegedly striking an officer with her car after a high-speed chase.
When the officer finally caught up with her, she allegedly verbally abused him, calling him “dangerous” and telling him to change jobs.
Sure, stories of the go-getting elderly are enriching, but there’s nothing quite as reassuring as old people being badasses.
It would be easy to get all, they see me rollin’ about the man who was filmed in Berlin doing the mega moonwalk.
But actually, I think mega moonwalker was actually making a broader statement about society.
We might think we’re making great leaps forward, and hell, we could even look like we are, but actually, we’re going backwards fast.
Ninetyseven-year-old great grandfather Allan Stewart from Port Stephens notched his fourth degree in May.
Stewart, a retired dentists has got degrees in Dentistry, Law, Clinical Science and Complimentary medicine.
He went back to school in the Eighties to keep his mind active and managed to scoop a law degree in five years, a year faster than the standard six.
We were going to make a joke about Allan and Freshers Week and promiscuous sex, but actually there’s not really anything funny to say. Allan is just a shining star of a human. He embodies what is noblest in mankind, the search for knowledge, the nobility of not being afraid to understand the scope of your ignorance.
You’d think that by the time you’re 104, you’d spend most of your day reminding yourself to breath, pleading with your fast depleting cells to stop flipping dying.
But not Peggy McApline, this Scottish gran, burning with the desire to reclaim the title of world’s eldest tandem paraglider took to the skies in 2012.
Peggy has seen five monarchs and 26 prime minister come and go in her life, and even knew a survivor of the Titanic.
“I enjoyed every minute of it. It was better than the last time. I would certainly like to do it again – especially if anyone takes my record,” she told The Express.
And here’s me, scared of getting on the bus after 11pm.