2008 Year in Review: Greatest Moments of the Past Year in Sports
2008 was a great year to be a sports fan. The Summer Olympics in Beijing, an undefeated NFL regular season, NBA Finals dream matchup, and a great NCAA basketball tournament are just a few of the highlights from this past year.
This slideshow will feature eight of the most memorable moments of 2008. The moments are in no particular order as it would be almost impossible to rank these highlights from 1-8.
David Tyree Uses His Head
The New York Giants' wide receiver David Tyree made one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history when he caught a 32-yard pass from Eli Manning while holding the ball against his helmet. The catch was the key play on the game-winning touchdown drive in the Giants' upset victory over the undefeated Patriots.
Michael Phelps Wins Eight Golds
Michael Phelps broke Mark Spitz's (pictured) record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics by earning eight this year in Beijing.
The way Phelps' swam at the Olympics has to be considered one of the greatest athletic performances of all time. He brought swimming to the forefront of the games, with his races always in the primetime slot and this year's Olympics being the most watched television event in history.
The record did not come easy for Phelps. In the 100-meter butterfly, he outtouched Serbia's Milorad Cavic by .01 of a second due to an incredible finish to capture the gold.
In the 400 meter relay, Phelps can thanks Jason Lezak for winning the relay for the Americans, catching the French team right at the wall from way behind.
Celtics Beat the Lakers in NBA Finals
The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers reignited their rivalry as two of the NBA's most historically successful franchises met again in the NBA Finals. The Celtics emerged victorious, with Kevin Garnett finally earning his first title.
The Celtics were one of the worst teams in the league the season before, but acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the offseason. Paul Pierce proved the doubters that he is one of the best players in the league as he shut down Kobe Bryant in the Finals.
Usain Bolt Captures Golds in Beijing
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the 100 meter dash at the Beijing Olympics with a world record time of 9.68, smashing his previous record.
However, the most incredible thing about the race was that Bolt seemed to be jogging the last 15 meters, beginning an early celebration. Bolt only started running the 100 a few months before the Olympics before breaking the world record at a meet prior to the Summer Games.
The 100 was not the only highlight for Bolt. The Jamaican sensation came back to win the 200 meters, breaking the legendary Michael Johnson's world record by running a 19.30. Johnson's record had stood for an astounding 12 years. Bolt also anchored Jamaica's 4x100 relay which also won the gold medal.
Bolt brought track and field onto the main stage in a big way. The 6'5" sprinter's post-race celebration was also something not to forget. Bolt ran around the stadium draped in a Jamaican flag.
Philadelphia Phillies Win World Series
The Philadelphia Phillies won the first titles for a Philadelphia sports team in 28 years when they won the World Series this season. Their road included defeating C.C. Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers, Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and in the World Series they beat the worst-to-first Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They were led by the great pitching of Cole Hamels throughout the playoffs, who won the World Series MVP.
Redeem Team Wins Olympic Gold
The U.S.A. Men's Olympic Basketball Team redeemed themselves from a forgettable few years by winning the Olympic gold in Beijing. They defeated Spain in the final 118-107. Led by Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant, this team was one of the best that the U.S. has ever fielded. Mike Krzyzewki coached the team to regain the top spot in international basketball that it had lost since 2000.
Kansas Jayhawks Win March Madness Tournament
After a very exciting 2008 March Madness tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks came out on top after defeating Memphis in overtime 75-68. Kansas was a No. 1 seed after winning the Big 12 tournament. Despite winning the title, Kansas may not have been the top story of the tourney. Guard Stephen Curry led 10 seed Davidson to the Elite Eight, scoring over 30 points in all of the games.
Nadal Wins French Open, Wimbledon, and Olympic Gold
Spain's Rafeal Nadal finally became a dominant force on courts that were not just made of clay. He won the French Open, Wimbledon, and the Olympic gold medal. Nadal took over Roger Federer's number one spot, ending Federer's 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1. Nadal beat Federer head to head at the French Open and at Wimbledon both in the finals. However, Federer still won his fifth consecutive U.S. Open title.