As the village bells struck noon, the moment at which the Mayans had supposedly predicted the world would end, Sylvain Durif was calmly playing the panpipes for a vast crowd of jostling camera crews. “I am Oriana, I embody the energy of cosmic Christ,” he said. “When I was five I was abducted by a flying saucer belonging to the Virgin Mary. I’m here to get my message to the world, that there will be a regeneration.”
It was the year of the Olympics, the omnishambles, the Higgs boson and the Facebook flotation. In American and Russian elections voters stuck with the faces they knew, while France and China ushered in a new slate of leaders. The eurozone teetered on another brink, while the southern hemisphere powered ahead. But who were the people that shaped 2012? Guardian editors and staff nominate their pick for Person of the Year 2012.
Top left to right: Serena Williams, Mario Draghi, Danny Boyle, Malala Yousafzai, Fabiola Gianotti Bottom: Fabiola Gianotti, Bill McKibben, Clare Balding, Bradley Wiggins
Obama celebrated his election victory this week by immediately tweeting an emotional photograph of him and his wife, Michelle, embracing, and it has become the most re-tweeted picture in history. That’s partly because it captures his humanity and the sincerity of his love for his family, his wife and daughters, to whom he paid lavish tribute in his eloquent victor’s speech.