This is my pictoral review of the world of sports in 2008. It was an Olympic year that provided some monumental battles that will go down in history as individual and team defining moments.
Whether it was Tiger Woods @ Torrey Pines, Michael Phelps in the pool @ the Water Cube in Beijing, or Usain Bolt breaking records on the track with ease, it made for incredible sports memories.
Please read, view, and enjoy! If 2009 is anything like 2008 was, as sports fans we have nothing to complain about...unless of course, you cheer for a team that loses in the championship!
The New Year kicked off in glorious sports fashion, with the NHL Winter Classic, a regular season game played outside in Buffalo, NY between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins. An NHL record crowd of 71,217 people braved the elements at the Buffalo Bills' home, Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Penguins won the game in a shootout, 2-1, by a winning goal from none other than NHL all-star, and Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada native: Sidney Crosby.
The LSU Tigers (11-2) defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1), by a final score of 38-24, in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.
Tom Brady's demeanor says it all doesn't it? The New England Patriots had one of the best all around statistical seasons in NFL history...but weren't able to win it all when all the chips were down.
No one will forget who made the New England Patriots' 2007 season end with one loss, when all the marbles were on the table. Eli Manning, David Tyree, and Plaxico Burress' drive late in the fourth quarter, and the play of the Giants' Defensive Line throughout the game became classic sports moments.
The New York Giants started 2008 in a way no football fan will ever forget. The Giants got to enjoy a parade through the "Canyon of Heroes" in Manhattan to celebrate their Super Bowl XLII victory.
After an incredible regulation and overtime thriller, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers and captured the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball championship.
The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant won his first ever NBA Most Valuable Player award, the Maurice Podoloff trophy.
The Detroit Red Wings became Stanley Cup Champions after a Game Six win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Red Wings put together an incredible 2008 Stanley Cup Final and playoff run.
This Stanley Cup victory marked the Red Wings' 11th in their franchise history.
Alexander Ovechkin captured four of the most prized individual honours that the NHL awards at the end of each season. Ovechkin had a stellar season, as shown above, and listed below:
Lester B. Pearson Award (Most Outstanding Player): 2008
Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player): 2008
Art Ross Trophy: 2008 (112 points)
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy: 2008 (65 goals)
Alexander Ovechkin added one more title to his mantle this year...
Russia beat Canada in an overtime thriller, 5-4, to capture the 2008 IIHF World Championship.
The tournament was played in Quebec City, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia—as it was split between the two cities. It was the first time that this tournament had ever been played in Canada. 2008 also marked the 100th anniversary of the IIHF.
The Boston Celtics do a complete 180 in one season, by finishing at the bottom in 2006-2007 to having the NBA's best record in the regular season in 2007-2008.
By adding Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the off season and re-commiting to defense they were able to attain the ultimate goal in NBA basketball.
They defeated Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in dominating fashion in Game Six, 131-92, to win the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophy.
Red Auerbach was undoubtedly smiling from above as he enjoyed a victory cigar.
Rafael Nadal captured his fourth straight French Open Championship, and his third straight French Open finals win over rival Roger Federer.
This was the beginning of a magical season for the young Spaniard...
Simply incredible...Tiger Woods & Rocco Mediate put on an absolute golf classic showdown at Torrey Pines at the 2008 US Open. Because 72 holes just weren't enough, they had to go to an 18 hole playoff round the following day!
Playing on one good leg, as we found out after the tournament that he had a torn ACL and a stress fracture of his tibia, he captured his 14th major in drama filled-fashion that we have come to expect from Eldrick "Tiger" Woods.
I'd just like to mention that he's only 32 years old!
Spain captured the UEFA Euro 2008 crown with a 1-0 win over Germany in the final. After a month of exciting matches in this elite tournament that's heavy with talent, "Espana" came out on top.
Rafael Nadal captures his first Wimbledon championship, ending Roger Federer's streak of four straight at Wimbledon.
This match for the ages had to endure a rain delay, and the finish was almost postponed until the next day because of darkness!
Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, shown above after capturing his third gold medal (100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay) of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
He broke world records in the 100m and 200m while making the rest of the field look pedestrian, literally.
Michael Phelps managed the unimaginable with 8 Olympic Gold Medals in one single Olympic Games this summer in Beijing, China! Two of his eight were won in dramatic, "come from behind," seemingly made for TV moments.
There's no doubt that he is focusing on London 2012, and he has indicated that if Chicago wins the 2016 bid, if possible, he'd love to compete in those games, as they'd be on home soil.
Mark Spitz was extremely gracious towards Michael Phelps after he captured his eighth Gold Medal, breaking the record of seven gold medals that Spitz himself set at the 1972 Munich Summer Games—but Spitz was the very inspiration and reason for Phelps' drive and dream of attaining the unimaginable.
Dare to dream...
In three focused summers, including a third place finish in the 2006 FIBA World Championship, the USA Basketball's Senior Men's program climbed back to the top by reclaiming the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
After losing to Rafael Nadal in the finals at Wimbledon (the rain delayed epic match) and the French Open, AND losing his No. 1 world ranking to him as well, Roger Federer won a 2008 major, The US Open in Flushing, Queens, NY.
Tom Brady suffers a season ending injury (a torn ACL and MCL) in the first quarter, of the first game of the 2008 NFL season...a rough start for the New England Patriots after a near magical season the year before.
The Philadelphia Phillies win the 2008 World Series bringing a title to the City of Philadelphia for the first time in 25 years. The city's last champions were the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers, led by "Dr. J" Julius Erving.
The Calgary Stampeders proved the experts wrong and won the 96th Grey Cup over the Montreal Alouettes, 22-14.
In the days leading up to the Grey Cup game being played, it was announced that the Stampeders did not have even one player named to the CFL All-Star team. No doubt that provided plenty of motivation in preparing for the championship game.
Padraig Harrington was named "PGA Player of The Year" after winning two of the four majors this year—The Open Championship (also known as the British Open), and the PGA Championship.